The History of Brooklands

The "Brooklands" have a Long History with Big Changes Coming The Brooklands area in southeastern Rochester Hills is undergoing a makeover project this summer. The Auburn Corridor Plan seeks to attract new investment in Brooklands by improving traffic flow, parking, pedestrian and bicycle paths, landscaping, neighborhood amenities and curb appeal of commercial structures. While much discussion time has recently been devoted to the future of Brooklands, far less attention has been given to its … [Read more...]

Leader Dogs for the Blind Marks Eight Decades of Service

On April 4, Leader Dogs for the Blind Celebrated 80 Years, Here's How it All Began If you’ve lived in the Rochester area for a while, they’re a familiar sight - Leader Dogs in harness, walking the streets of downtown, visiting businesses, assisting the blind. Perhaps you remember, as a child, proudly depositing your spare change in the little can labeled “Whither Thou Goest” that nearly every Rochester business displayed near its cash register. Leader Dogs for the Blind has been part of the … [Read more...]

The History of MeadowBrook Village Mall

From Fox Farm to 1800s Themed Mall to The Village Today, the northeast corner of Adams Road and Walton Boulevard is the home of the Village of Rochester Hills, an outdoor shopping destination. Longtime residents of the area will recall that the predecessor of the Village of Rochester Hills was MeadowBrook Village Mall, an enclosed shopping center that occupied the location for about a quarter century.  Detroit Silver Fox Farms However, long before either of the shopping centers was built, … [Read more...]

How Drace, Griggs and Albertson Streets Were Named

On the eve of the twentieth century, the village of Rochester was in a bit of a crisis. The year was 1899, and what had been a quiet farming community was changing rapidly. An interurban line (later to be known as the D.U.R.) had just laid tracks through the heart of town along Main Street. The Detroit Sugar Company was building a huge processing plant on Paint Creek, and business was booming in anticipation of all the new economic activity that these ventures would bring.  There was one … [Read more...]

Water-Powered Mills of the Rochester Area

Mill Town Heritage of Rochester and Avon Township The real estate professional’s mantra that “location is everything” was as true in Rochester’s pioneer days as it is today. Long before the James Graham party led white settlers to today’s Oakland County, its hospitable lakes and streams and the excellent fishing they offered drew native people to the area. Water also attracted the Grahams and those who followed them. It was an essential element to sustain life, and it would power the new … [Read more...]

Healthcare in Rochester with Doctor Siffring Before Crittenton Hospital

Dr. Loren Siffring Remembers Small-Town Medicine Later this summer marks the 50th anniversary of the day that Crittenton Hospital opened its doors to its very first patient. Today, area residents have a wide array of state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and practitioners available nearby. The situation was very different, however, when Dr. Loren W. Siffring first came to town. A friendship forged in the Air Force brought Dr. Siffring to Rochester. He was a native of Colorado, where he … [Read more...]

Whims Insurance Celebrates a Century in Rochester

By Deborah J. Larsen When Tom Klix and his sister, Connie Klix Mercer, head to their offices at Whims Insurance each morning, they take a literal walk down memory lane. The company’s offices are on the second floor of the Mitzelfeld building at 322 S. Main Street. The municipal parking lot behind the building sits on property that was once the home of Klix and Mercer’s grandparents, Leslie and Lyla Whims. The two siblings now run the insurance agency their grandfather founded. They … [Read more...]

Byers Wrecker Service has Hooked-up the Rochester Area for Decades

Byers Wrecker Service Has Been Assisting Rochester Motorists for Decades By Deborah J. Larsen When Rochester area residents need a vehicle towed, they don’t say, “Call a wrecker.” They say, “Call Byers.” For 66 years, the familiar red tow trucks have responded to local residents needing assistance. Harry E. “Gene” Byers started out in auto transport work after serving in the army. But in 1951, he decided to start his own towing business. At first, his “office” was in the restroom of a … [Read more...]

Historical society offers gifts of history

The Rochester-Avon Historical Society has three new items for sale, just in time for the holidays. The society’s first annual calendar has historic photos taken from postcards of the Rochester area. In addition, Deborah Larsen has authored a second book in the Remembering Rochester series entitled Vanished Rochester. The 44-page book highlights some of the area’s lost historic sites. The third item is a computer mouse pad with the image of the old Detroit United Railway trestle, including … [Read more...]

Trace the history of your house

Ever wonder about the history of your home, when it was built, who else has lived there? Local historian and librarian Deborah Larsen will present a two-hour workshop on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rochester Hills Public Library to guide local residents on how to discover more about the history of their home. Sponsored by the Rochester Historical Commission, the session is free but does require reservation. “Rochester area has a rich history and many of the homes are equally as … [Read more...]