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Rochester's Historic Beginnings

Rochester’s Historic Beginnings

Looking back at Rochester’s historic beginnings start in 1817. That’s when the Rochester, Michigan area began to see its first settlers. They came from Southern Canada, New England, and Upstate New York in search of good land to farm. These pioneers were of sturdy stock and crossed through the land using old Native American trails. They discovered hills, rich and fertile ground, as well as rivers. It had all the makings for a new and self-sufficient lifestyle.

Water-powered mills began cropping up due to the 3 rivers in the area: Clinton River, Stony Creek, and Paint Creek. There were grain mills and lumber mills which provided not only the essentials to the area but went on to produce 444,000 board feet of lumber and 28,000 pounds of wool.

The area was known as Avon Township and consisted of Rochester and Rochester Hills. For 33 years the population grew to 1456 people with all land being privately owned. Back in 1850, farms were mostly self-sufficient producing their own food and clothing. In the future, the land would be expanded and the farms would grow large enough to produce crops that would be sold at markets.

In the 1900s, the farms would be reduced in size and people would travel to the larger cities in favor of factory jobs. There were 8 passenger and 25 freight trains which stopped in Rochester each day! During this time there was the emergence of subdivisions to the area as farmers began selling their land and moving to the cities. Estates were now becoming for the wealthy and scientific farming operations were appearing, as well.

Between 1910 and 1920 the population grew by a third as 35 subdivisions would be created for the city workers who wished to escape the urban environment for larger yards, homes and lower taxes. By 1930 the population in the area would double!

The depression hit the Avon Twp area as it did across the Country. It wasn’t until post-war that the area would recover enough to become a place people would settle to once again. The Community Schools would appear in 1952 as the population demanded better schools than the 1 room school houses could provide.

Today Rochester and Rochester Hills have become thriving communities where many people choose to call home. There are plenty of recreational opportunities as well as educational. Learn more about it by visiting our Community Section and if you’d like to call this area home, please contact me. I’d love to help you.

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