Looking Back: The Samuel Harris Fountain

Rochester Post | Published July 7, 2020


ROCHESTER — In the 1930s, Walnut Boulevard, just a block west of Rochester’s growing Main Street, was lined with tall, lush trees and enough churches to give it the nickname Church Street.

Islands of greenery divided the street in some areas, adding to the scenic views. For a time, the island at the intersection of Walnut and Fourth streets, shown in this photo, was home to the Samuel Harris Fountain. Commemorating the Fifth Michigan Cavalry, the 8-foot Greek Revival granite fountain was donated in 1917 by Samuel Harris, a local Civil War lieutenant. After its original placement in the intersection of Main and Fourth streets, the fountain was relocated several times because of increasing automobile traffic in downtown Rochester.

Today, the fountain is located near the Rochester police station and Municipal Park. First Baptist Church, shown on the left, is currently the Village Shoe Inn.

Read more about Sam Harris and his memories of Rochester in this 1909 newspaper: www.oaklandcountyhistory.org/awweb/pdfopener?md=1&did=205091.

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