Frank Rewold & Son Has Been Building Rochester Since 1918

Jason Rewold began working in his family’s business as soon as he was old enough to swing a hammer. He followed a tradition that goes back four generations in the Frank Rewold & Son construction company. 

The firm traces its history back to 1918, when Frank M. Rewold worked for auto magnate John Dodge and his wife, Matilda, at their Meadow Brook Farm on Adams Road. The senior Rewold was a jack-of-all-trades handyman for the Dodges. He built and maintained many of the barns and farm buildings on their property. Over time, he branched out to contract for other construction work in the Rochester area. 

Roy, Jason and Frank Rewold - Photo Courtesy of Frank Rewold & Son

Roy, Jason and Frank Rewold – Photo Courtesy of Frank Rewold & Son

Frank’s son, Roy, who was born in 1929, joined his father in the construction business as a youth, learning the work from the ground up. The company was small and local in those days, and the office was run from the family home, but Frank Rewold & Son was destined for success. 

Civic participation was important to the Rewold family, and Frank Rewold served as president of the village of Rochester in 1953, setting an example for his son to follow. In 1959, Roy Rewold won a seat on the village council and held it for 11 years. He served as the last president of the village of Rochester and became the town’s first mayor following city incorporation in 1967.  

Roy Rewold

Roy Rewold

Under Roy Rewold’s leadership, the family’s construction company took on larger and more diverse commercial projects, becoming well known and respected throughout southeastern Michigan. Over the years, Frank Rewold & Son has built retail and office buildings, schools, churches, country clubs, senior living facilities, libraries, and even a baseball stadium. 

As an actively engaged community leader, Roy Rewold’s vision for Rochester included development of the award-winning Royal Park Hotel. Roy’s son, Frank – namesake of the company’s founder – now owns and operates the hotel. The Royal Park is just the type of economic spark plug that his grandfather envisioned, according to Roy’s grandson, Jason Rewold. He told Rochester Media that the hotel brings 50,000 people to Rochester annually, generating an estimated one million dollars per year in revenue for downtown restaurants and retailers. 

Now a regional enterprise, the Rewold construction company still has close ties to the place where Frank Rewold got his start nearly a century ago. His former employer, Matilda Dodge Wilson, donated her farm property on Adams Road to establish Oakland University in 1957. Rewold built Wilson’s retirement home, Sunset Terrace, and has worked on most of the university’s buildings in the decades since. The company is currently building the new, large dormitory on Pioneer Drive. “I think it is safe to say that we’ve touched every building on that campus at one time or another,” Jason Rewold told Rochester Media. “We got our start there on the old Dodge farm almost a hundred years ago and we’re still working out there today.” 

Roy Rewold with Grandsons

Roy Rewold with Grandsons

Roy Rewold’s son, the second Frank Rewold, entered the family business in the 1980s and serves as the company CEO today. His sons, Jason and Sean, represent the fourth generation to join the business. Although the younger Rewolds earned college degrees in construction management, they each started in the company as laborers and worked their way up through the ranks. Jason Rewold values this ethic, which taught him respect for the hard work that goes on at the job site, but admits that he “wasn’t always crazy about it” as a youngster when he had to roll out of bed early in the morning to be at a project. 

Frank Rewold and Son Construction Company

Frank Rewold and Son Construction Company

Recent Rewold projects in the area include Jimmy John’s Field in Utica and the current bond issue construction for Rochester Community Schools. One of the company’s most complex projects was the renovation and expansion of the Leader Dogs for the Blind campus in Rochester Hills, completed in late 2016. Phasing the work to allow for continued operations while renovation and new construction was underway meant accommodating the needs of blind students, staff, and dogs. It was a huge challenge, but one the company met without any safety issues, Jason Rewold is proud to say. 

Today, Frank Rewold & Son is planning to build a new headquarters facility at 400 Water Street, next to the Rochester Mills Beer Company. If all goes according to schedule, the company will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year with the grand opening of its new building – a fitting tribute to its founder and his legacy.

About Deborah J. Larsen

Deborah J. Larsen recently retired after 34 years as local history librarian at Mount Clemens Public Library. She currently serves as the research chairperson for the Rochester-Avon Historical Society, and writes on a wide range of local history topics.

Comments

  1. Darlene Janulis says:

    Great article but you forgot to interview staff! There is much longevity at this firm because the Rewold’s are wonderful people to work for. I certainly enjoy working there and glad to have the opportunity to be a part of the team.
    Darlene Janulis

  2. Don Runnells says:

    Reading this from Dunedin Florida. I am Donald Runnells and Frank Rewold was my Uncle. I remember going to his house near the Park in Rochester as a small child. They would have parties there and the men and children would go down in the basement. My Grandma Ella Furman was Frank’s sister, and lived nearby. I am now 84 but still remember the good times the family had. I hope to return to see Rochester one more time this Summer as it has been a long time. I still tell my wife of the great times I had in Rochester and hope to take her there this Summer. My Father Ira Runnells worked for Detroit Edison and I would hear and meet the Rewolds. Thanks for the Great Family History.

    • Susan Brown Johnson says:

      Don, my Mother was Eva Rewold, Frank and Martha’s eldest daughter. My Mother worked for her Dad from the time she was in school, until she was in her mid sixties, when she and my Dad moved out of Rochester. My Dad also worked for grandpa for many years at Meadowbrook Farm. The reputation that Grandpa Rewold held in the community was that of respect and honesty, a tradition carried forward by Roy and Frank, his son. I remember her talking about Aunt Ella with my Mother and Aunt Emma too. May I ask, what was your mother’s name and are you related to the late Joe Runnells?

      • Don Runnells says:

        Susan ! this is a thank you for your comments. I remember Eva very well. My mothers name was Edna Runnells daughter of Ella Furman. I remember visiting many times with your family as a child. I lived on Linwood when I was very small and I remember a Garage house there. I spent lots of time with Aunt Emma and Aunt Lena. I am trying to put together a history of the family that I remember. I would like to pass it on to my Sons. I spent most of my childhood in Huntington woods and the Royal Oak Area. MY Father was Ira (Joe) Runnells and worked for The Detroit Edison. There was a family next door to my Grandma Ellas house but I can not remember who lived there. I thought it may of housed the original Rewolds?

  3. It appears to be a beautiful building rising in Rochester. Congratulations for choosing Rochester. Today, you enjoyed the publicity (or notoriety) of VP Pence’s visit. I hope you reimburse the city for taxpayer costs associated with that visit, to include: City, county, state, & Secret Service police, their cars, motorcycles, helicopter, plus civil workers -firemen, EMTs, their vehicles, pizza for employees in the locked down Knitting Mills building, etc.

    • Hi Bill, from our understanding the White House chose Rochester and Rewold – no one asked for them to visit. While it’s fair to ask how taxpayer money is spent, it’s not fair to blame the business or the town in this case. Plus, your comment was placed on older post and comes off as confusing to readers.

Speak Your Mind

*