"The shock was starting to subside, but the devastation and ruin were fresh," one Patch reader recalls.
A Patch Of History
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
The first in a year-long look at some of Rochester's most fascinating people.
Each month this year, “A Patch of History” will profile a fascinating local person who made a significant contribution to the history of our community or the preservation of our history. Twelve months. Twelve people. Their names may not be as familiar as Dodge, Van Hoosen or Woodward, but their stories and impact on local history is undeniable. This month's selection is a teacher and historian who wrote a major work detailing the history of Avon Township (now Rochester Hills) and Rochester – and who possessed my all-time favorite name in Rochester history – Eula Pray. Born in Mable, MI on Sept. 13, 1911, Pray was in her late teens when she moved downstate to attend a county normal school where she received her teaching certificate at age …
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The holidays are all about celebrating traditions — and remembering the past. So why not give gifts of history?
History and Christmas make a perfect pair. Holiday movies and books, cherished ornaments, carols, and favorite cookie recipes remind us of the best of Christmases past. The season abounds with nostalgia. What better way to commemorate all that holiday “auld lang syne” than with a gift of local history? Our community is fortunate to have many local history organizations that successfully maintain our ties to the past. A gift of local history – from the shops of a local museum, historical society or downtown merchant – helps to support historic preservation and programming in the community. With less than two weeks left to shop for Christmas and holiday gifts, “A Patch of History” reviews some of the best local history gifts for the history …
Friday, December 2, 2011
From Colorforms to a Shaun Cassidy record, kids have asked St. Nick for lots through the years.
From the days of Stoney Creek Christmases in the 1860s to the Big, Bright Lights of the digital age, Santa Claus has held a special place in the hearts and minds of local believers young and old. His appearance has changed little over the past 150 years – a look deemed “modern” when compared to a time when Santa was more commonly known as Father Christmas or St. Nicholas. For decades, newspapers like the Rochester Clarion and Rochester Era embraced and immortalized Santa Claus as a jolly, plump old man with a snowy white beard and dressed head to toe in a suit of red with white trim, a red cap, and a buckled belt and boots as black as soot. They printed illustrations from artists like Thomas Nast, who creatively captured the spirit of …
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Part two of two: "Walden" author Henry David Thoreau to Rochester correspondent Calvin H. Greene: "I like the name of your county — may it grow men as sturdy as its trees."
In 1856, Henry David Thoreau was delighted to learn that news of his book, Walden, had reached “far off Michigan” when a young man from Rochester wrote to the author seeking to purchase an earlier work. With that one letter, Calvin Harlow Greene began a four-year correspondence with Thoreau that evolved into personal visits with Thoreau’s family and the acquisition of a significant piece of Thoreauvian history. Walden by Henry David Thoreau is one of the world’s most recognized literary works. It was written during the two years Thoreau lived alone in the woods in the 1840s away from general society in a cabin near Walden Pond, not far from his home in Concord, Mass. Various published accounts about the book state that Thoreau intended …
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
New book chronicles findings of archaeological dig on grounds of Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm.
Years of work and countless hours clocked by local historians, history students and volunteers have culminated in the recent release of two major publications about local history. The first is a print publication detailing a 20-year archaeological excavation on the property of the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm. The second is a new website featuring an interactive map of local historic sites and resources. These two newly released publications are among the most significant contributions made to the preservation of local history, genealogy and anthropology in the past two decades. “Into the fertile valley of Stony Creek . . .:” An Archaeological Interpretation of the Van Hoosen Farm Site was written by Deborah J. Remer, a …
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
It is rumored to have treated Hollywood entertainers and eventually burned down on site of Grosse Pines sub.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on Patch on Oct. 11, 2011. The Haven Sanitarium, a mental facility rumored to have treated the rich and famous, including Hollywood movie stars, once stood along Walton Boulevard near Old Perch on land now occupied by the Grosse Pines subdivision. Once the opulent home of industrialist Fred M. Shinnick and his wife, Lillian Graham, The Haven became a working mental institution from 1933 to 1968. The structure stood for another five years before succumbing to deterioration and vandals and burning to the ground in 1973. Here's the story of the rise and fall of the Haven. Shinnick built the lavish estate in the 1920s. As Deborah J. Larsen notes In Hometown Rochester: A History of Avon …
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
A new exhibit features photographs and artifacts from Rochester's past.
If you’ve ever taken a history tour around Rochester, you know that some things are missing. Mills, schools, and buildings that were the source of many important historical events and places in Rochester have vanished over the past 194 years since James Graham and his family became the first white settlers of Oakland County and in what would become the Village of Rochester. Some of our town’s historic treasures were lost to disasters like fires and floods. Others were torn down to make way for a spreading suburban population and the residential and commercial demands that followed. Unfortunately, many who bike, shop and live in and around the greater Rochester community are not aware of what once stood on the sites where they buy a latte, …
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Louisa May Alcott series begins Sept. 18.
Lovers of history and literature alike are in for a treat this month when the Rochester Hills Public Library and the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm present “Louisa May Alcott: Through Her Eyes,” a program about the life and times of the beloved American writer, known for her most popular novel, Little Women. The family-friendly event will include a presentation about the history of Rochester and what life was like in the community during the 19th century when Alcott lived, as well as musical entertainment by banjo player Tim Twiss and a special guest who will present Alcott in character and dress. As noted in a press release issued by the library, the Sept. 18 program is the first in a series that will explore Alcott’s life. …
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
It's Woodward Dream Cruise week, so Rochester Patch takes a look at our own Woodward legacy.
As the 17th annual Woodward Dream Cruise approaches, let’s take a look at Rochester’s own Woodward Street and its namesake, one of Rochester’s most important historical figures. Rochester pioneer, politician, farmer and businessman Lysander Woodward was born in Connecticut and made his way to Rochester in 1838. Together with his wife, the former Peninah Axford Simpson, the Woodwards built a prosperous farm in Rochester, where they raised a family of five children: Robert, Hubert, Emma, Eva and Harriet. According to Hometown Rochester: A History of Avon Township, Rochester and Rochester Hills Michigan by Deborah J. Larsen, Woodward owned 420 acres of land in Rochester – most of it farmland. Woodward and his wife built a home on the land …