Fraser Michigan: Notable Families

The Steffens Family


Steffens Park

Steffens came to Fraser in 1875 and joined partners with Charles Knorr. Together they started a lumber mill called Knorr and Steffens Mill. The mill did well and by the mid 1880’s was the largest employer of the village. Knorr would eventually split up with steffens because of disputes of spending money. When Nalderett writes, “Mr. Knorr became upset with Mr. Steffens because he spent about $100 on belts for the mill.  Mr. Knorr felt that he was a “squanderer” of company funds and sold out to Mr. Steffens.” (Naldrett, pg. 3) he explains why the partnership did not last. Charles Steffens eventually ended up with the name Steffens Lumber Mill. In 1894 the village of Fraser was incorporated by the State Legislature. The two of the first officers came from the Steffens family. Charles Steffens was village president and George Steffens was the village clerk. After the fire the bank was erected, and George Steffens was an early president at the bank. George would go on to serve as village president with his son Walter C. Steffens presiding him after he stepped down. In 1928 Walter came up with the brilliant idea of Groesbeck highway. The highway became especially important for the growth of Fraser, giving it a quick route to Detroit. The Steffens Family left a lasting impression on Fraser. Their is even a park to this day named after this family.  GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Reindel Family


 Frederick Reindel moved from Eastpointe to Fraser. He bought a farm at the corner of Masonic and Utica, and he set up a cider mill. Frederick’s descendent Charles Reindel, Sr. set up the iconic Reindel hardware store. The hardware had a few different locations until it ended up at its current location on Utica. The iconic picture above shows Charlie Reindel’s grandpa riding downtown in his 1910 International Harvester. The car is still used in local parades today by Charlie.

Harvester-full Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 9.11.16 PM

Furthermore, Charlie’s brother William George Reindel became a distinguished artist, “whose works are in many art museums, including the Detroit Institute of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the White House, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”(Nalderett, pg. 4)  One of his better known works is winters calm.

winters calm

Williams niece also went onto became a famous artist known for her paintings of Martha’s Vineyard, and picture illustrations.

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