I’ve lived in this quirky, unique community for over 25 years now, and I find it fits like a glove. Inspired by Buddy Moorehouse’s post “10 Things I love about Fowlerville, and 5 things I don’t”, here, in no particular order, are some of the things I love about Howell, as well as some of what I don’t love so much, and some of what I miss.
10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT HOWELL:
1. The trees and the sunflowers
Howell’s trees are plentiful, varied and beautiful. Fall is always lovely, and I especially love the Bradford Pear trees blooming in the spring. I also love the fields of sunflowers along I-96 and D-19 that brighten up the landscape every year.
2. The cool neighborhoods
There isn’t a single community in Livingston County to rival Howell’s great neighborhoods and amazing housing stock, from old Victorian homes to modern ranches and everything in between, all linked with sidewalks. Howell is blessed indeed.
3. Uptown Coffeehouse
This jewel is my home away from home. I always spend extra time there because I run into people I know. And I’ve not had an extra-hot latte anywhere in the world that’s as delicious as what Uptown’s wonderful baristas make.
4. Howell Opera House
Howell is one of the luckiest communities in Michigan to still have an opera house. Howell is lucky, too, that the Livingston Arts Council bought the Opera House and has worked tirelessly to renovate it. These days, the Opera House is a dynamic facility, hosting entertainment events, art exhibitions, meetings, the Howell Winter Market, parties, and a host of other activities.
5. Michigan Challenge Balloonfest
What’s not to love? Beautiful balloons. Fireworks. Carnival rides. Arts and crafts. Carnival food. People watching. There’s literally something for everyone, and the annual event has become a regional favorite.
6. The parking lots along Sibley Street
Sure, they’re parking lots, but what great-looking parking lots, complete with lovely landscaping and works of art.
7. Howell City Park
Residents are blessed with the Howell City Park, one of the finest small-town parks I’ve ever seen. From its popular beach area with concession stand to its open areas to its pavilions, the park welcomes one and all to enjoy it all year long.
8. Historic Howell Theater
I’ve seen some great movies at the Howell Theater, but it wasn’t until I had a kid that I truly appreciated the value of living within walking distance of a theater.
9. Cobb-Hall’s courtyard
The courtyard at Cobb-Hall Insurance in downtown Howell is a beautiful, welcoming place anytime of the year, but my favorite is at Christmas. Somebody ought to make a Christmas Card out of it. Thanks, Cobb-Hall!
10. Howell Carnegie District Library
Howell is blessed with this amazing library that has undergone sensitive expansions and renovations to keep it current and comfortable, while retaining its historic grace and beauty.
FIVE THINGS I DON’T LOVE ABOUT HOWELL:
1. No downtown market
For years, Sefa’s was the go-to market for great meats, Guernsey dairy products, and quick in-and-outs. It was also a great community gathering spot – I don’t recall a single time I shopped there that I didn’t run into someone I knew. Now, it’s just one of the many dollar stores in the area.
2. Fireworks in the neighborhoods (especially mine)
Living in a city carries with it some built-in responsibilities: Cut your grass, shovel your snow, watch out for your neighbors, etc. And yet there are some people in the city of Howell who forget that they live on small lots with neighbors close by, and instead of respecting others, they instead choose to celebrate holidays by disturbing the peace and quiet for hours on end with high-powered fireworks. Definitely not cool.
3. No street millage in the past
It’s a tale of two cities: Long, long ago, the City of Brighton approved a multi-year millage that reconstructed all its streets; in Howell, a similar measure was defeated. Since then, Howell’s done the best it can, fixing up the streets little by little, as the budget and grants allow. The result is today’s mishmash of curbs, semi-curbs, no curbs, swales, and swerve-abouts. Some streets aren’t wide enough to park on, while others have both on- and off-street parking, so it looks like there’s double parking allowed. All of it is a direct result of that failed street millage. If only Howell could get a do-over.
4. The Kroger parking lot
While I love the Kroger on M-59 and Michigan Avenue (and the gas station), I dread its parking lot. I don’t know why exactly, but the lot — for this driver, at least — is difficult to navigate. Maybe the parking spaces are smaller; maybe the angles of the lanes are off by a bit. Whatever the reason, it’s always nerve-wracking getting into and out of parking spaces.
5. Dogs at Howell’s many public events
Come on, people, leave your pooches at home.
FIVE THINGS I MISS ABOUT HOWELL
1. Sefa’s Market (see “No downtown market” above).
2. Holkins Lumber
I loved Holkins and am thankful it was in operation during the years when we did a lot of work on our house. The service was great and the advice invaluable.
3. The Honeydew Restaurant
If you ever ate at the Honeydew, you understand why I miss it. It was a cool, unusual restaurant.
4. Gill Roy’s Complete Hardware
We couldn’t have the Howell Opera House (one of my favorite things) if this downtown hardware store were still operating in its old location, but I miss its service, knowledgeable staff and quirky merchandise. And they actually repaired things.
5. Crazy neighborhood Halloweens
Back in the late 1990s/early 2000s, Halloween was a good-natured competitive sport in southwest Howell neighborhoods, especially on Washington Street. Residents constructed some pretty amazing Halloween scenes — fire-breathing dragons, spaceships, graveyards, spooky lights, scary music — and trick or treaters would come from near and far.
So, what do YOU love and not love about Howell?
NOTE: This was originally posted on Jan. 7, 2016.