Saturday, October 27, 2012

At Home in Rochester: Cyrus and Laura Reimer House

Reimer/Fisher house ca.1957 (Swords Family Archive)
This grand house was built at 1690 S. Rochester Road (west side of the road, south of Avon) in 1922 for Cyrus Reimer and his second wife, Laura Clough Reimer. Cyrus Reimer, who was born in 1854 in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, had been a hardware merchant in Rochester, operating the store founded by his father, Joseph Reimer, which he later sold to Harvey J. Taylor. (Taylor, in turn, sold the store to Charles W. Case and it later became known as Case's Hardware). Cyrus Reimer became a traveling hardware salesmen for the Buhl company of Detroit, and also operated a hardware store in Owosso, Michigan, before settling in Cleveland, where he was sales manager for the American Fork and Hoe Company. 

In retirement, Cyrus decided to return to the Rochester area. The Pontiac Daily Press reported in March 1922:
The contract has been let for a fine residence for Cyrus Reimer, to be built on his farm, one and one half miles south of Rochester. Mr. Reimer was formerly a Rochester resident, but has made his home in Cleveland for the last 15 years.
Unfortunately, Cyrus Reimer died just over a year after this announcement was published, so he probably spent very little time enjoying his new house south of Rochester.  Two years later his widow sold the property, as revealed by this item from the Rochester Clarion of April 17, 1925:
William A. Fisher, president of the Fisher Body Works, of Detroit, has purchased the palatial farm home of Mrs. Laura Reimer, one and one-fourth miles south of Rochester on the Rochester pavement. Ward Carey has been engaged as overseer of the farm and will occupy the house, while George Stewart will occupy the tenant house vacated by George Ahrens.
Fisher's name is the one that is most associated with this house, as he owned it for a much longer span of time that the Reimers.  One of the famed brothers who founded the Fisher Body Company that later became a division of General Motors, William A. Fisher used his Avon Township home as a summer getaway and weekend retreat, while living the rest of the time at his primary residence in the Boston-Edison district of Detroit. His Avon Township property was a large parcel in section 22, and he employed local people to farm it for him.

The Fisher property was sold to the Mount Elliott Cemetery Association in 1951, but plans to develop a cemetery on the property never left the drawing board. Instead, the property was sold for development to the Winchester Association in 1969.  About that time, the Reimer/Fisher house was moved west across the fields to a lot on Crestline Street, in the Bogart's Place subdivision plat, which is where it stands today.

To learn more about the Cyrus Reimer house, visit the Oakland Regional Historic Sites record for this property.

Thanks to Melanie and Janet Swords for sharing this image from the Swords Family Archive.

1 comment:

  1. I have been looking for this house for 2 years. My great uncle, Ward Carey lived in it with his wife when he worked for Mr. Fisher. I was afraid that it was torn down. I heard it was moved but didn't know where and could hardly imagine it to be true.