Wednesday, February 1, 2017

This Month in Rochester History

February 1967 was an important milestone in the history of Rochester.  Just a few weeks from the 150th anniversary of the settlement of Rochester by the Graham family in 1817, and 98 years after the community had incorporated itself as a village under Michigan law, Rochester officially became a city.

The voters had approved a city charter in January 1967 on a vote of 689 to 166, a culmination of years of attempts to transition from village to city government, or to consolidate with Avon Township. At 12:01 a.m. on Monday, February 13, 1967, the village faded into the pages of history and the City of Rochester was born.  On the evening of February 13, the new city council met and selected Roy Rewold to serve as the town's first mayor.

The new council's first order of business was to address the separation of city and township property, as Avon Township had several assets that found themselves lying within the municipal boundaries of the new city.  The City of Rochester assumed operation of Mount Avon Cemetery, formerly administered by the township. Eventually, the city also assumed operation of Avon Park, renaming it Rochester Municipal Park.

In 2017, Rochester celebrates both the 200th anniversary of its founding by the Grahams and the 50th anniversary of its incorporation as a city.