Rochester: Historic Sites

Being the first area in Oakland County that was settled, Rochester has a handful of historic sites that are still preserved and important to the city today. Many houses of the original settlers are still around, as well as many of the first buildings built in Rochester, which are therefore also the first buildings built in Oakland County.

 

Mount Avon Cemetery

The Mount Avon Cemetery, also known as the Rochester Cemetery, is the first cemetery in Oakland County, built in 1826. It was originally only one acre of land, set aside in Lot 13. The first person buried in the cemetery was buried in 1827; Mrs. Elsie Shoemaker Horton, the wife of a soldier of the American Revolution, George Horton. The first settlers of Avon Township, James Graham and his son Alexander Graham, are buried in the cemetery as well. Veterans from each U.S. war – including the Toledo War – are buried in Mount Avon Cemetery, and today the size has grown from one acre to twenty-two acres.

Rollin Sprague Building

The Rolling Sprague Building, built in 1849, is the oldest commercial building in Rochester. It is named after Dr. Rollin Sprague of New York, who ran the store as a general and grocery store until his death in 1872. The building was later bought by William H. Barnes and Samuel C. Goodison, who continued running it as a grocery store. The building has since been many things, a cafe, dairy store, auto dealership, etc. depending on the owner. The Home Bakery opened in the Rollin Sprague Building in 1930, and remains there today, offering a variety of cakes and desserts.

(Left) Rollin Sprague Building in 1878, when owned by Barnes and Goodison, and then the building recently (Right) as The Home Bakery
(Left) Rollin Sprague Building in 1878, when owned by Barnes and Goodison, and then the building recently (Right) as The Home Bakery

 

Rochester Opera House

The Rochester Opera House is located in present day Downtown Rochester, at the southeast corner of Main and Fourth Street. The building was built in 1890, and the Opera House Block opened with the First National Bank on its ground floor, along with Norton Pharmacy. Ironically enough, there wasn’t a single opera that took place in the Rochester Opera House until 1933–up until that point, it had been filled with plays, movies, dances, etc. The building was restored in 1987, and it still in use today.

Rochester Opera House
Rochester Opera House
Rochester Opera House Upcoming Events

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