Until the 1950’s, Millers Creekshed was largely a forested and agricultural area to the northeast of Ann Arbor. After that time, the University of Michigan bought 800 acres to establish the North Campus, and by the 1960’s, large companies like Parke Davis moved into the area and several residential neighborhoods were built. In 1964, the City of Ann Arbor straightened part of Millers Creek and placed portions of the creek underground when it constructed Huron Parkway. Hotels, commercial centers, office buildings, and more residential areas were added in the 1990’s when this area was the fastest growing part of Ann Arbor. The U-M now owns about 1/3 of the creekshed. All of it falls within the City of Ann Arbor.
The creekshed is one of the smallest in the Huron River system, draining only 2.4 square miles. However, it is the steepest tributary by far, with a gradient of 52 feet per mile compared to other tributaries which usually range between 10-15 feet per mile. In the half-mile from Hubbard Road to Glazier Way, the creek is extremely steep– dropping more than 70 feet!
Thurston Pond, the creekshed’s most prominent water feature, was once a marsh. It was converted to a 7 acre lake in the early 1960’s during the development of the Bromley and Orchard Hills subdivisions. The three small ponds further down the creek were created during the construction of the Geddes Lake Apartment complex.