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...]

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...]