Historical park improvements continue

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published May 15, 2019

 A collection of historical farm implements and machinery is located at Cranberry Lake Farm on Predmore Road.

A collection of historical farm implements and machinery is located at Cranberry Lake Farm on Predmore Road.

Photo by Linda Shepard

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — As part of ongoing efforts to restore a historical farm, broken concrete will be replaced at Cranberry Lake Farm’s former dairy barn for a display of farm implements.

In addition, a picnic area is under development near a stone barbecue built in the 1930s.

“We have a big agricultural history,” Oakland Township Historic Preservation Planner Barb Barber said. “We want to tell our story. We want to get our residents out there and enjoy it.”  

The 16-acre Cranberry Lake Farm historical district — which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places — is located in the 213-acre Cranberry Lake Park, off of Predmore Road, east of Rochester Road.

Within the past several years, township officials have worked to restore the district’s farmhouse, orchard, barn, landscaping and more — while adding parking, restrooms and trails.

The new concrete pad will be used to exhibit historical cultivators, hand plows and more currently owned by the Oakland Township Historical Society. Some of the implements are original to the farm, which includes the restored Axford-Coffin farmhouse and several restored outbuildings.

The Greek Revival-style farmhouse 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.

Arts and Crafts-style additions were added to the house in the early part of the 20th century. The renovated home features three staircases and a dramatic fieldstone fireplace. Renovation was completed on the house in 2011.

The property also includes the Flumerfelt barn, a spring house, a carriage barn, a greenhouse, a caretaker house, a henhouse, a hatchling house and a wild game brooder.  

The former dairy barn may be restored, or a covered pavilion may be constructed over the implement exhibit, Barber said. Historical signage detailing the farm implements is also planned, she said.

By a unanimous vote April 23, the Oakland Township Board of Trustees approved removing the existing 20-by-20-foot concrete pad and replacing it for a cost of $8,480, paid for with budgeted funds. The project is slated to be completed this spring by C & G Cement Contractors.

“That concrete definitely needs to be replaced,” Oakland Township Supervisor Michael Bailey said.

Bailey said a new picnic area should be completed this month or next on the east side of the farmhouse, near the restored ornamental reflecting pond. In addition to a picnic table, the area will be landscaped with bee-friendly and deer-resistant native plants.

“It will be very quiet and beautiful,” Barber said.

Although the old stone barbecue is not currently functional, a barbecue is available for use near the parking area, she said.

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