The village/city of Rochester and Rochester Hills has been around for almost two hundred years, and continues to be, at least economically, one of Michigan’s strongest locations to date. The village of Rochester got its start in the year 1817, when James Graham and his family moved from Detroit to a small hut that they built on the bank of the Paint Creek River. Despite a surveyor general’s claim that moving to the area of the future Oakland County would be completely pointless, Graham’s settlement grew, and by the year 1818 the small village of Rochester had been established. The village would continue to grow in the coming years. This was due to several factors, including the forced evacuation of Native Americans, the demand for land by incoming pioneers, and the Erie Canal project, which was designed to end in Rochester. With all this attention, Rochester quickly grew into a township that went by the name Avon. By 1850, Avon Township had grown to contain several churches, two public schools, and a population of over 1,400.