Saturday, January 24, 2015

Parallel Lives: The Hamlins and the Woodwards

If you live in the greater Rochester area, you are invited to the next public meeting of the Rochester Avon Historical Society on Thursday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of the Rochester Hills Public Library.  Your blog author will present "Parallel Lives: the Hamlins and the Woodwards," an illustrated program that will examine the lives and legacies of two of the Rochester area's pioneer families.  The program is free and open to the public and anyone interested in the topic is welcome to attend.

Be sure to check out the RAHS Facebook page for announcements of other programs of interest, including Tuesday Brown-Bag lunch meetings and our Appraisal Day, coming on Sunday, March 1 at noon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bygone Business: Potere Super Service

In the summer of 1931, Leo Hartwig opened a Super Service station and tire service center in a brand-new building at 917 North Main, on the corner of Drace.  Hartwig operated the business for nine years, and in February 1940, leased it to William Potere.   This announcement in the Rochester Clarion advised local residents that Potere Super Service would continue to offer the Hi-Speed product line.  The station became Johnson's Super Service in the early 1950s.  About that time, William Potere went into a different line of business.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Subdivision Stories: Howarth and Hammond

One of the smallest subdivisions in the City of Rochester consists of only 13 lots. The Howarth & Hammond Addition lies on the south side of Albertson Street, and comprises the 13 lots east of the old railroad right-of-way (now the Paint Creek Trail).

This subdivision was platted in October 1913, and adjoined the larger Albertson Addition to the north, which had been laid out on the former Albertson farm in 1900.  The partners in this development were Elijah Bailey Howarth, Jr. and his wife Laura, and Laura M. George Hammond.  Elijah Howarth was a prominent Oakland County attorney and descendants of the Howarths who had settled in the Silverbell  and Lapeer roads area of Orion Township. The historic Howarth School is named after this family.

Elijah B. Howarth received his law degree in 1910 and began his private practice in Rochester. In 1913, the same year in which this subdivision was platted, he moved his practice to Royal Oak.  He later went on to serve as a state senator from Oakland County.  The Howarths' partner in their Rochester subdivision was Laura M. Hammond, the widow of  George A. Hammond, and a member of the George family of Rochester.  Laura's sister, Grace, was married to Carroll B. Chapman, the son of William C. Chapman, one of Rochester's biggest real estate developers in the early 20th century.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

This Month in Rochester History

1945 U.S. topographical map of downtown Rochester, before the flood
2011 U.S. topographical map of downtown Rochester

The year 1965 ushered in a number of changes to the landscape in the village of Rochester.  In January 1965, the village council took up the long-overdue development of the old mill pond, which had been destroyed by a storm and flood in June 1946.  The area had been essentially a wasteland ever since,  and finally a development plan for the 27-acre site lying east of Water Street was brought forth.  The proposal included the extension of East University Drive through the area from its terminus at Water Street all the way to Elizabeth Street with a new bridge across Paint Creek, and a 7-acre parcel for a brand-new clubhouse and banquet center for the Rochester Elks.  Developers also planned an all-electric apartment complex (known today as the Paint Creek Condominiums).