Rochester’s Pest House Was an Early Answer to Outbreaks of Disease

As we cope with the various levels of disruption in our daily routines made necessary by the response to the COVID-19 virus, it is interesting to look back at the way contagious disease was handled in our community in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In small communities like Rochester, there were no hospitals at the time. A village might be fortunate enough to have a physician or two in residence, but there were no cures and few effective therapies available for the primary … [Read more...]

St. John Lutheran Church Celebrates a Century

The History of St. John Lutheran Church & School in Rochester In early 1920, a small band of first- and second-generation German immigrants living in Rochester decided it was time to stop riding the interurban car to Royal Oak to attend church services. They asked their pastor, the Rev. Otto H. Frincke of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Royal Oak, to help them form a congregation in their own town. Their first exploratory meetings were held in the home of Charles and Anna Kitchenmaster on Drace … [Read more...]

Paint Creek Tavern’s Past, Present and Future

The Paint Creek Tavern Has Been Known by Many Names and Has Ties to Interurban and Railroad Days of Downtown Rochester Paint Creek Tavern—known fondly by locals as the “Paint Creek Yacht Club” or “PCYC”— has been a fixture on the banks of its namesake waterway for decades. But despite its tongue-in-cheek nickname, the business got its start not because of its proximity to water, but because of its location near the interurban and railroad lines.  During the heyday of the Detroit United … [Read more...]

Bloomer Park is Steeped in History

Bloomer Park, located at the north end of John R Road in Rochester Hills, is the city’s oldest park. The centennial of its founding will occur in 2022. Long before anyone thought of dedicating the land for recreational purposes, the location was part of a pioneer-era transportation project called the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal. The Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal was begun under Michigan’s first governor, Stevens T. Mason, who broke ground for the waterway near Mount Clemens in 1838. State leaders … [Read more...]

Rochester Cider Mill is Oakland Township’s Oldest Cider Location

In 1938, Frederick Sargeant and his son, George, planted an orchard on a 73-acre parcel along North Rochester Road in Oakland Township. Sargeant’s Fruit Farm sold apples, peaches, and cherries, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and flowers from a farm stand on the property. In 1948-49, they made an addition to the building to accommodate a cider mill and an additional sales room. At first, the Sargeants took their apples to Yates Cider Mill to have them pressed into cider, but then Frederick and … [Read more...]

Paint Creek Cider Mill Stands on Historical Mill Site

Paint Creek Cider Mill in Goodison is a popular stop for outdoor enthusiasts who use the Paint Creek Trail, as well as for those passersby who crave a good, cold glass of cider and a doughnut during the fall season. Although the present structure was built over the course of a decade beginning in 1958, its location has been the site of a mill for 184 years—since Michigan was a territory.  Col. Needham Hemingway built the first mill on the property in 1835, and his sons, Freeman and Henry, … [Read more...]

Goodison Cider Mill is Now in Its Sixth Decade of Cider Making

The Goodison Cider Mill has been a fixture in the small community that shares its name for over half a century. Lloyd Blankenburg, a local fruit grower, and his wife, Marion, opened the mill in 1965. At the time, the Blankenburgs were already operating a fruit stand on the property, so they expanded the building and added a cider press. The fruit stand had stood at the location since the 1920s, and one section of the current building dates from that time. When Lloyd Blankenburg decided to … [Read more...]

Yates is the “Granddaddy” of Rochester Area Cider Mills

The nation was in the throes of the Civil War when William Henry Yates and his wife, Caroline, bought 80 acres of land on the Clinton River in southeastern Avon Township. It was April 1863, and the Yateses, with their nine-year-old son, Frank, made the trip to their new home in Michigan from Madison County, New York. Settling on land at what we know today as the intersection of Avon and Dequindre roads, William Yates used an existing dam on the Clinton River to power a lumber and … [Read more...]

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...]