Looking back: Albertson addition

Rochester Post | Published January 26, 2022

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ROCHESTER — This row of houses on North Main Street provides a glimpse into the Rochester neighborhood known as the Albertson Addition back in the 1920s. 

An auction was held at the Rochester Opera House, currently Lytle Pharmacy, on June 30, 1900, to sell the 136 lots comprising the new addition. It spanned the section north of Paint Creek from Albertson Street to what is now Woodward Avenue. The Detroit Sugar Co., a beet sugar processing plant, neighbored the lots on the west side and Main Street on the east side. It proved a prime location with the Detroit United Railway running in front of the lots on north Main Street. 

Residents could step from their door “onto one of the finest electric cars in the country, running to Detroit, Romeo, Orion and Oxford” with 30 to 40 trains passing by daily. The railway tracks can be seen in the foreground of this photograph. 

The Albertson addition marked a “new epoch in the history of Rochester,” according to the local Rochester Era newspaper. A full page advertisement was published leading up to the auction. The advertisement detailed the lots’ appealing features, such as “a 16 foot alley in the rear, allowing one to drive to barn, or garden, without passing through front yard.” You can check out the advertisement on page two of the digitized June 22, 1900, Rochester Era newspaper uploaded to the Oakland County Historical Resources website here: https://bit.ly/3EP8TDW.

Rochester was also praised in the advertisement for its rapid growth in population and progress in the years prior to the turn of the century. Rochester was depicted as “one of the most delightful places in the state” because of its accessibility, churches, schools and low taxes. Rochester’s waterworks, fed by springs northwest of Main Street, were another perk as they provided residents with “pure and healthful water.” 

Every lot was sold during the June 30, 1900, auction, with all, except one, going to a current Rochester resident. The first lot was sold to Abram L. Craft, the superintendent of the Rochester school district, for $200. By September, houses began to be built in the Albertson Addition. The homes pictured here can still be found on north Main Street housing various business offices. 

To discover more local history, visit the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm website at www.rochesterhills.org/museum and check out the online collection catalog at rochesterhills.pastperfectonline.com. 

— Samantha Lawrence, museum archivist at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

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