Even before the Village of Rochester was established in 1869, much of the historical landscape of city had been already been established. The evidence of Rochester’s development from a tiny riverside settlement into the metropolitan city of today can still be seen in some of Rochester’s well preserved early buildings.
The Rollin Sprague Building
Downtown Rochester’s Oldest Business: Still in Business
Built in 1849, on 300 S.Main Street, the Rollin Sprague Building is the oldest commercial building in Rochester. Named after it’s first owner Dr. Rollin Sprague, the building first served as a grocery and general store until Dr. Spragues death in 1872. For the next 58 years building, would have a variety of different owners and purposes; even serving as a Hudson-Essex car dealership for a brief period in 1929. However, in 1930 the building was turned into an Oakland Dairy, bakery which later changed its name to The Home Bakery in 1953. To this day the Rollin Sprague building, and the Home Bakery remain at 300 S. Main Street, right in heart of Downtown Rochester.
Rochester (Griggs Brothers’) Grain Elevator
A testament to the economic impact of the railroad in Rochester, the Rochester Grain Elevator, was built in 1880 by two brothers from New York, Charles K. and Albert G. Griggs. Charles, who moved to Avon Township in 1865 was drawn to grain elevator business after working in Metamora, Michigan. In 1880 With the financial support of his younger brother Albert, Charles built the Rochester Grain Elevator on the Michigan Central railroad line, allowing him to charge farmers a fee to load their crop onto the train’s grain cars. After Charles Griggs’ death in 1917 the elevator was sold from owner to owner until it was closed in 1962 and eventually abandoned in 1976. In 2009, the Rochester Grain Elevator was converted into a garden supplies shop; in 2013 it was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.
Mount Avon Cemetery
The Mount Avon Cemetery is the first cemetery in Rochester, platted in 1826, Mount Avon is also the oldest cemetery in in Oakland County. apart from several burials in 1817 prior to the platting, the first official burial in Mount Avon cemetery was, Elsie Shoemaker Horton, the wife of Revolutionary War veteran George Horton. The cemetery has interred in it some Rochester’s earliest pioneers, as well as U.S. veterans from every war (Including the “infamous” Toledo War). When Mount Avon was first platted in 1826, it was only one acre of land, since then it received several additions and today the cemetery spans 22 acres. In 1979 Mount Avon became recognized as registered a historical site by the state of Michigan.