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...]

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...]

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...]