Find romantic history at Cranberry Lake

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published January 30, 2018

 Oakland Township Historic Preservation Planner Barb Barber and Historic District Commissioner John Sanderson examine recent improvements Jan. 16 at the district’s historic farmhouse.

Oakland Township Historic Preservation Planner Barb Barber and Historic District Commissioner John Sanderson examine recent improvements Jan. 16 at the district’s historic farmhouse.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The Cranberry Lake Farm Historic District will present the history of courtship and a pastry demonstration at an upcoming event celebrating Valentine’s Day.

“We’ll show the history of romantic traditions through the ages, starting in the 1700s to the current day,” said Barb Barber, Oakland Township historic preservation planner.   

“We did this last year, and it was really successful. Everyone enjoyed it,” Barber said. “Last year we made cream puffs. This year it will be crepes.”

Local chef Pam Gustairs will lead the cooking class, and guests will create vintage-style Valentine’s Day cards.

The event is one in a series designed to introduce residents to the 16-acre historic district — which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places — located in the 213-acre Cranberry Lake Park, on Predmore Road.

The district includes the restored Axford-Coffin farmhouse and several outbuildings. The Greek Revival-style Axford-Coffin house was built in 1840, and it was occupied by the Axford, Taylor and Kline families, who farmed the land until 1908.

The family of oil company executive Howard Aldridge Coffin used the farmhouse as a summer home between 1939 and 1951, according to township officials. Coffin also served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Wayne County.

“We have 10 buildings here,” Oakland Township Historic District Commissioner John Sanderson said. “We are trying to restore a community. We want to make the most of it.”

Recent improvements include apple orchard restoration and a newly painted henhouse.

“We do a little something every year,” Barber said.

Upcoming historic district events include beekeeping classes starting in May, a build-your-own birdhouse day in April and summer outdoor painting classes. The district also hosts square dancing in June.

The Axford-Coffin farmhouse currently holds a collection of local archives, which are available for viewing by appointment on Wednesday afternoons. To schedule a viewing, send an email to othsmember@comcast.net.

Romance Through the Ages will be held during two sessions Feb. 15: 5-6:45 p.m. and 7-8:45 p.m. Tickets cost $17, with discounts available for Oakland Township residents. Reservations are required by calling (248) 608-6807 or by emailing Barber at bbarber@oaklandtownship.org before Feb. 9.

A full schedule of Oakland Township park events is available at www.oaklandtownship.org.