Tuesday, September 1, 2015

This Month in Rochester History

September 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Rochester's Art & Apples Festival.  The very first Art  & Apples Festival (or Art 'N' Apples, as it was known then) was opened for a four-day run on September 16, 1965 with a parade down Main Street, led by Rochester's First and Finest, the Falcon Marching Band. The Rochester Arts Commission, under the general chairmanship of Dr. John Solverson,  developed the plan for Art 'N' Apples and brought the first event to fruition with the assistance of several civic organizations. The festival drew an estimated 20,000 visitors in its inaugural year; Paint Creek Center for the Arts, which now sponsors the festival, estimates that more than 200,000 art enthusiasts will visit during the 2015 event.

Artists participating in the 2015 festival will come from all over the United States and Canada, but the first festival in 1965 had a distinctly local flavor.  A large tent featured the classroom art of students from the Rochester Community Schools. Children eagerly pulled their parents by the hand to show them the projects they and their classmates had been working on.  Adult artists from the community were able to showcase their efforts in the "Sunday Painters" tent, where friends and neighbors could stop by to admire their work.

More information about the 50th anniversary Art & Apples Festival may be found here.


  1. Dear Rochester friends, I lived in Rochester as a young child and have fond memories. However, one tragedy of Rochester's history was an accident in the 1950's in which a Rochester father and his two sons were killed when the milk truck the father was driving was struck by a train. Does anyone have any recollections of this, the family's name, or know where I could get more information about this? Thank you so much.

    1. This accident occurred on December 24, 1951, and killed Ralph Ozbun and his 11-year-old son, Russell F. Ozbun. The newspaper account said in part:
      "Ralph Ozbun, 37, and his son, Russell F. Ozbun, 11, were killed almost instantly when an eastbound Grand Trunk train struck their milk truck as the two were returning home from delivering for the Reed Dairy.
      Donald Fuller, engineer of the train, said he blew his whistle repeatedly as he approached the angle crossing at Hamlin and Crooks roads, but the truck's occupants did not seem to hear or try to stop the vehicle.
      Deputy M. C. Fitzgerald of the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, first officer on the scene, stated that the small truck was completely demolished. The train apparently hit the rear end of the truck, spinning it around, then hitting it again.
      The boy, thrown from the vehicle, died instantly from a fractured skull but his father, pinned under part of the truck, was conscious a few second before he died. His death resulted from a fractured neck."

      Both Ralph and Russell Ozbun are buried in Mount Avon Cemetery in Rochester.

    2. Could there have been a similar accident sometime after May 6, 1955, involving another milk truck and a father and 2 sons, leaving behind at least 2 children and a wife?