A Conversation with Bob Lytle

A Voice and Pillar of the Community Bob Lytle has worn many hats during his more than four decades in the Rochester area: community pharmacist, author of adventure novels for youth, city council member, folk singer/songwriter, poet, storyteller, and ballist (yes, that’s the term) with the Rochester Grangers vintage base ball club. Lytle grew up in Saginaw, where his father was a schoolteacher, but his fondest childhood memories were made at a small cabin in the Les Cheneaux islands. The … [Read more...]

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...]

The Story of Homer Wing

Last November, the nation observed the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, or November 11, 1918 - the date when hostilities ceased on the battlefields of World War I. The armistice was welcome news for American families whose sons, fathers, brothers and husbands in uniform were serving in harm’s way. At railroad stations in towns across the country, people gathered to embrace the returning vets.  In Rochester, Michigan, it was a different story, at least for one family. Private First … [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...]

Remembering the Case’s Hardware Fire

It has been fifty years since a disastrous fire destroyed Case’s Hardware, one of downtown Rochester’s most beloved and iconic businesses. The store burned on December 12, 1968, in what long-time residents still remember as one of the most difficult and dangerous fires ever to hit Main Street. Case’s Hardware stood on the west side of Main, just south of the bank building on the corner of Fourth Street. The business started around 1872 as Reimer & Thompson, and passed through a … [Read more...]

Rochester’s Holiday Traditions

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, and that means downtown Rochester’s annual Big, Bright Light Show now illuminates Main Street every evening. Currently in its 13th year, the light show is a local holiday tradition that draws crowds from across the metro area. The light show, however, is only the latest version of Rochester’s holiday décor. Our Main Street Christmas makeover began in 1935, when according to local newspaper accounts that the downtown business district was … [Read more...]

Milo Prentice Newberry House Listed on National Register

Rochester House is Listed on National Register of Historic Places Michigan’s newest listing in the prestigious National Register of Historic Places is the Milo Prentice Newberry House in Rochester. The 1863 Italianate-Victorian farmhouse on Bloomer Road was listed in the National Register on October 9, after a yearlong process of application and review by state and federal officials.  Milo Prentice Newberry was part of one of the Rochester area’s pioneer families. He was born in New York … [Read more...]

The Day the Bridge Broke

During this time of year, motorists look forward to the end of the road construction projects that have plagued them all summer long. On October 20, 1990, the Rochester community celebrated the conclusion of a project that profoundly affected the downtown business district and the flow of traffic through town. The event was called the “Bridge Bash,” and it celebrated the re-opening of the South Hill Bridge after a yearlong closure and complete overhaul of the structure. State and local … [Read more...]