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ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Hamlin Family Legacy

AUGUST 21, 2018 BY  3 COMMENTS

The Story of the Hamlin Name in the Rochester Area

Hamlin Road, Hamlin School, Hamlin Place Farms Subdivision – even Hamlin Pub – all owe their names to a pioneer settler of Avon Township (now Rochester Hills) named John Fairchild Hamlin.

John F. Hamlin

The immigrant ancestor of John F. Hamlin settled in the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1640. Some branches of the family moved on to New York State, where John Fairchild Hamlin was born in the Finger Lakes region in 1799. Hamlin family footprints are evident all over New York, especially in the Buffalo region, where a cousin of John’s, named Cicero Hamlin, was a prominent business leader. A descendant of Cicero Hamlin is actor Harry Hamlin of L.A. Law fame.

John Hamlin was not destined to stay in his native state. As a young man, he followed his urge to move westward along with one of his brothers, a sister, and her husband. The small band of travelers first headed to St. Charles, Missouri, but after staying there a year, decided to move on. While Hamlin’s brother headed for Illinois, he, with his brother-in-law and sister, William and Olive Burbank, decided to go north to Detroit.

From Detroit, John Hamlin and William Burbank scouted for land to homestead, and found what they were looking for on the outskirts of Oakland County’s first settlement, at Rochester. Avon Township had not yet been formally organized in 1825 when John F. Hamlin first purchased land in the area. Rochester was a tiny and isolated village and only a few families were sprinkled through the area that would come to be known as Avon Township.

Six years after buying property here, Hamlin married Laura Andrus of Washington Township and brought her to his homestead south of Rochester (The new Mrs. Hamlin was the sister of Loren Andrus, who later built as his personal residence the iconic Octagon House that still stands today on Van Dyke Road).

Hamlin Road

The Hamlins developed a large farm on the corner that we know today as Hamlin and Rochester roads, but agriculture was not John Hamlin’s only business venture. During Michigan’s internal improvements era, he was keen to bring transportation routes into the township. Hamlin was one of the contractors on the ill-fated Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal – a project that was begun at Mount Clemens with the goal of building an engineered waterway across the Lower Peninsula to Lake Michigan. The construction job was much more difficult and costly that originally forecast, and the canal was bankrupt by the time it reached Rochester. John Hamlin spent nearly a decade afterward petitioning the state government to pay him for his labor and expenses on the project.

In 1844, Hamlin and several other local landowners were authorized by the state legislature to organize the Troy and Rochester Railroad Company and to raise money, by subscription, to fund its construction. The small line was supposed to run south from Rochester until it intersected the Detroit and Pontiac railroad, but the project never got off the drawing board.

Instead, Hamlin tried again in 1848 to improve access to Rochester and Avon Township by organizing a plank road company. The Rochester and Royal Oak Plank Road ran roughly along the route that we know today as Rochester Road. The tollhouse for the Rochester terminus of this road was located on the Hamlin farm.

John Hamlin House, ca. 1957 – Courtesy of Swords Family Archive

Meanwhile, John and Laura Hamlin operated their farm in Avon Township and reared a family of six children. Sometime around 1840, the Hamlins built a large farm house facing Rochester Road – the Hamlin house still stands today at 1812 South Rochester Road, across from Bordine’s.

According to federal agricultural census records, the cash value of the Hamlin farm was $12,000 in 1850. Some historical currency converters suggest that the equivalent value of his holdings today would be approximately five million dollars, making John F. Hamlin one of the wealthiest landowners in the region in his time.

Hamlin died in 1863, but his widow, Laura, continued to live at the Hamlin farm for another 20 years. The Hamlins’ youngest daughter, Belle Hamlin Burch, inherited the family property after the deaths of her mother and sister. Belle was the wife of a federal judge and lived most of the year in Washington, D.C., but still visited the old homestead in Avon Township during the summers. After Marsden Burch retired from the bench, the couple returned home to the Hamlin farm, but subdivided much of the farm acreage to create the Hamlin Place Farms subdivision. The remaining property, including the house, passed from Hamlin family ownership in 1936, after the death of Belle Hamlin Burch.

Article by Debra J. Larsen

 

 

 

Who Was Red Knapp?

JUNE 16, 2016 BY  13 COMMENTS

Red Knapp is something of a household name in the Rochester area. After all, local residents have been enjoying hamburgers at Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar on Main Street for the past 66 years. But who exactly was the man whose name blazes in neon over the front door of Rochester’s iconic burger spot?

Long-time restaurateur Lyle “Red” Knapp was born on a Sanilac County farm in 1910. He came to Rochester to find work in 1926 and landed a job pouring concrete for the foundations of Meadow Brook Hall, then under construction. Knapp had dropped out of school but was determined to earn a diploma, so he enrolled at Rochester High School while working in a local garage to pay his way.

Lyle “Red” Knapp, his wife, Cecelia (far right) and the staff of Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar pose behind the counter with Claire Elias, the reigning “Mrs. Michigan” of 1953, during her goodwill tour of local businesses – Photo Courtesy of Roger Knapp

Lyle "Red"Knapp, his wife, Cecelia (far right) and the staff of Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar pose behind the counter with Claire Elias, the reigning “Mrs. Michigan” of 1953, during her goodwill tour of local businesses – Photo Courtesy of Roger Knapp

During his senior year at Rochester High, Red Knapp was expelled from school after intervening in a fistfight between Principal David Millard and another student. Controversy erupted, but after his attempt to defend the other student became known, more than three hundred local residents signed a petition demanding that the school board reinstate Red Knapp. The board reversed its earlier decision and Knapp returned to class.

After high school and a brief sojourn to California, Red Knapp went into business operating a gas station on Main Street near the South Hill Bridge. He slept at the station and operated it around the clock, seven days a week, mostly by himself. He wanted to open a roadhouse in connection with the service station, but state regulation at the time forced him to choose one business or the other. He decided to go into the restaurant trade in 1936 and bought a building on the west side of Main Street, where Kruse & Muer is today.

In the same year he opened his bar and restaurant, Red Knapp also joined the volunteer fire department. As a firefighter, he met his fellow citizens at some of the lowest points of their lives; and he was deeply affected by the need he saw around him. He maintained a regular clothing drive to aid fire victims and distributed food baskets to those whose family budgets wouldn’t stretch to cover holiday meals. Eventually, the Inter-Church Women, who established The Clothes Closet to aid low-income families, adopted Red Knapp’s work. Today, the Clothes Closet is part of the Rochester Area Neighborhood House, but it all started with one firefighter who wanted to make a difference in his community.

Although his restaurant and bar business was successful, Red Knapp was never comfortable selling liquor. “He was a lifelong non-smoker and non-drinker,” his son, Roger Knapp, told Rochester Media. “He said that the people he was selling liquor to in the bar were the same ones he was delivering food baskets to during the holidays.” So Knapp decided to make a change; he sold the restaurant and bar to his brother, then he and his wife, Cecelia, built Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar at 304 S. Main. The new restaurant opened in July 1950, and its signature hamburger has been a local favorite ever since.

Red Knapp died in 1992, but his name is still prominent on Rochester’s Main Street. His grandchildren run the dairy bar now, which looks much as it did when it opened six and a half decades ago. The faces have changed and the upholstery on the stools has been replaced a few times, but the important things remain the same. Locals don’t need to consult a menu to know exactly what they’ll get when they order “one deluxe with cheese and seasoned fries.” It’s Red Knapp’s, after all.

And yes – in case you were wondering – his hair was red.

Article by Debra J. Larsen

 

 

Remember this one? By Ronnie Milsap...... One of the BEST Songs of our times....

Songs of the 50's

Listen to Our Music!

Click on above link,  a pop-out music player will open in a new window.  To adjust the volume, use your computer controls.

To listen to music as you browse through our site, leave the music player window open. 

Close the window ("x" out) to stop the music.

 Posted 10-21-2012


 

Classmate Visits to our Website = 38,192 hits to date!

Help Us Find The Missing...

Check the list of Missing Classmates from the link at left and help us locate these twenty-seven fellow Falcons! Search your memories and tell us what you know about these individuals since you graduated in 1958. Places they might have lived, married names for women, companies they may have worked for, etc. Use the Contact Us  link and share what you know so we can locate and invite them to future Class Reunions.

If you have an email address, enter it in the -Missing Classmates- box in the column to the right of this announcement. Our website will automatically send them an invitation to join without revealing your name. 

Posted 08/11/2012


 

Hi Everyone!!!

And, Welcome to the Rochester High Class of 1958 web site!  

We are so excited to offer this wonderful website to our class members.  Be assured this is FREE to join, and it is private to us and us alone.  We thank the Classes of 1961, 1962, and 1963 for bringing this to our attention.  The Class of 1961 was the original class to employ this means of reconnecting.  They are enjoying each other so much that, and to quote Bill Potere, "this has brought us as a class so much more together, we are now planning events in between our reunions..."  

We hope you will also enjoy this, utilize it, and spread the word.  Should you know another class that would benefit from having their own website like this, please contact me via email, or call me 248-561-9978, Carole Bird (Chekaluk-Christopher), I can forward a referral link.  And, for each referral that activates a website, we earn a $50 referral fee.  That would aid in subsidizing this website for the future.   

Live everyday to the fullest, we never know when it might be our last; dance like nobody is watching.  Enjoy our website, visit it often, stay in touch!!!

Always,

Carole


 

 

Welcome!

This is the OFFICIAL, PRIVATE website for the Rochester High School Class of 1958. You're only seeing some of our website.

Most content is intended for only the members of the Rochester High Class of 1958. Once you join us, you'll have full access. Those links in the left column which are followed by an asterisk * can only be viewed by registered members who are logged in.

This website is owned by our class and the content was created by our class. This website is absolutely free to the members of the RHS Class of 1958. Your information on this website, including your email address, is not made available to anyone. We do not carry advertising.

NOTE: Our Reunions will be an inclusive celebration for those who attended Rochester High with the Class of 1958. Many graduated, some did not — for various reasons. If you'd like to be included, just use the Contact Us form and we'll set you up to be kept informed about our reunion plans.

If you are already REGISTERED HERE: enter your email address and password in the gray box at right. Click on the "Remember Me" box to avoid having to do that each time you visit. If you've forgotten your password, click on the "Forgot Password" and we'll email it to you.

If this is your FIRST TIME HERE: for the privacy of our class members, only registered members who are logged in have access to most of the contents of this website. 

  1. When you register, you'll create a profile by answering a series of questions. Most questions are optional. The ones you answer will be displayed in your profile; the ones you don't answer will not. Once you've completed your registration, you can view the profiles of other registered classmates. You can change your profile at any time; you can also upload photos and videos to your profile. You can resize and adjust your images.
     
  2. Take a look at a sample profile of a classmate we all remember before you complete your own. CLICK HERE Then click on the picture of RHS in the upper right corner of any page to return to this home page.
     
  3. To start your registration, click on Classmate Profiles link (top left)
     
  4. Find your name in the list of classmates -- arranged alphabetically by last (maiden) name. Click your name and follow the instructions. You create your own password. If you forget your password, complete your email address and click on "Forgot Password" and your password will be emailed to you within minutes. If you've been added as a 'guest', you'll find your name at the bottom of the list.

Check back weekly!
We have a class reunion here every day!

You can join other members of the Class of 1958 at our Facebook Group. CLICK HERE  

 


 

MISSING CLASSMATES


Know the email address of a missing Classmate? Click here to contact them!

JOINED CLASSMATES


Percentage of Joined Classmates: 53.4%


A:   70   Joined
B:   61   Not Joined

PROFILE UPDATES


•   Myron (Bud) McIntyre  9/24
•   Claudia Cross (Grund)  9/17
•   Sue Aemisseger (Savino)  8/26
•   Susan Ebbert (Bailey)  8/20
•   Deanna Crase (Hoisington)  8/16
•   William Sanderson  8/1
•   JoAnne Stevens (Hoag)  7/5
•   Mary Palmer (Wyett)  6/20
•   Carole Bird (Christopher)  6/7
•   Barbara Watson (Tyrell)  3/16
Show More

UPCOMING BIRTHDAYS



•   Carole Bird (Christopher)  1/5

WHERE ARE THEY NOW


WHERE WE LIVE


Who lives where - click links below to find out.

3 live in Arizona
2 live in California
5 live in Colorado
12 live in Florida
3 live in Georgia
1 lives in Idaho
2 live in Illinois
1 lives in Iowa
1 lives in Kentucky
68 live in Michigan
1 lives in Minnesota
1 lives in Montana
2 live in Nevada
1 lives in New Jersey
1 lives in Ohio
1 lives in South Carolina
3 live in Tennessee
1 lives in Virginia
1 lives in Washington
1 lives in West Virginia
1 lives in Wisconsin
1 lives in Wyoming
1 lives in Costa Rica
17 location unknown
60 are deceased