About our communities...
The city of Fenton is conveniently located with access to the U.S. 23 expressway possible from three locations in the city, as well as Fenton Township to the north and Tyrone Township to the south. Major Michigan cities, including Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing and Detroit can be reached in under an hour.
In 1834, a New Yorker named Clark Dibble explored the wilderness along the Shiawassee River on his way to Grumlaw, which is now known as Grand Blanc. By mistake, he found himself on the White Lake Trail. He proceeded north and landed on a spot on the Shiawassee River that he found so beautiful that he decided to stay. By 1836, “Dibbleville” consisted of a handful of people, a saw mill and two small houses that were all built along the river. Dibbleville was at the center of five trails, and several families came to make their homes there. Dibble was among the thousands of people, mostly from the eastern states, who left their homes in search of new territories and land on which to build their future homes and lives. Other settlers, including William M. Fenton and Robert LeRoy, also natives of New York, followed soon after. Local legend has it that the city’s current name came from the winner of a card game in 1837, between Fenton, a lawyer and land speculator, and LeRoy, a land speculator. Fenton won the game, and the town was named “Fentonville,” and LeRoy earned the consolation prize, which was the opportunity to name the town’s main road after himself. Further play resulted in the names of other streets after family members, including Ann, Caroline, Adelaide, Elizabeth and more. Over the years, Fentonville prospered and in 1863 was incorporated as the village of Fenton. In 1909, the village of Fenton was incorporated and became the city of Fenton.
Today, the city of Fenton is a true destination for visitors from nearby communities, around the state of Michigan and the Midwest.
Residents enjoy a beautiful community with a rapidly growing economy thanks to all the support restaurants, retailers and merchants have placed in the city by locating their businesses in all corners of the community.
And the growth has not yet stopped. In 2018, ground will be broken on a new development in the downtown area. A second Cornerstone building, featuring multiple uses will be built on S. LeRoy Street, just south of the existing Cornerstone building. It will feature first floor retail and restaurant space, second-floor office space and third- and fourth-floor condominiums.
At the northwest corner of Silver Lake Road and S. LeRoy Street, the “Horizon” building is currently under construction and will be completed by summer of 2018. It is a three-story structure that will feature first-floor retail and restaurant space, and second- and third-floor offices.
The year 2017 brought some other exciting new businesses to the downtown, making it even more inviting to stroll the sidewalks and do some shopping. The multi-million dollar CRUST expansion is complete and business at this bakery and restaurant has been booming. Residents are looking forward to the opening of a new Italian restaurant downtown, Ciao Italian Bistro.
With the completion of the Streetscape project in the spring of 2016, more and more downtown visitors are taking advantage of the chance to ditch their vehicles and walk wherever they go. The Streetscape project has won numerous awards since completion. The 2017 Christmas holiday season brought more people to the downtown than ever before.
While the focus in 2016 and 2017 was mainly on the downtown area, other areas of the city are showing progress as well.
A brand new office building has been completed off Silver Lake Road, north of Family Farm & Home.
Although residents and visitors were saddened to see the closure of the Ruby Tuesday and Bob Evans restaurants and Kmart in Silver Lake Village, and a few others around town, it is hopeful these facilities are once again see life through new owners.
The community also was disappointed to see the demise of the Big Boy Restaurant on Owen Road and the Pizza Hut just down the way. The Pizza Hut will be back though in one of the units coming to the strip mall being built where the two restaurants once stood. A Starbucks is also promised for that development.
The city of Fenton’s good neighbors, Fenton Township and Tyrone Township, are in the process of managing their growth in the most feasible way possible. Fenton Township is looking toward the Thompson Road corridor and the possibility of adding municipal water, while Tyrone Township officials work toward attracting commercial development along the U.S. 23 and White Lake Road corridor.
Great place to
live, work and play
Despite the tremendous growth that has taken place in the city of Fenton and the surrounding communities, the tri-county area remains a wonderful place to live, work and play. Residents and visitors alike enjoy simple pleasures, such as a stroll along the river or a picnic at one of the area’s many parks. Local events that attract thousands to the city include the summer concerts at the Fenton Millpond, the Fourth of July Freedom Festival, Art at the Center, Farmers Market, Back to the Bricks, Taste of Fenton, St. John Applefest, and Jinglefest at Christmastime. Featuring dozens of lakes and streams, Fenton and the surrounding communities boast a hub of outdoor recreational activities.
2014 = 11,463
Projected 2035 = 15,254
2015 = estimated 15,271
Projected 2035 = 19,896
2015 = estimated 10,219
Projected 2035 = 13,546
The village of Holly is located approximately five miles east of the city of Fenton. The community can be accessed from U. S. 23 to Silver Lake Road, east to Grange Hall Road, and from I-75 exits at East Holly Road and Grange Hall Road.
The village of Holly has a rich history. For many years, settlers referred to the area as Busseyburg, Algerville and Holly Mills. In the early 1830s, William “Big Bill” and Sarah Gage visited often, and built the first known cabin in the area. Gage was elected to the Michigan legislature in 1842, and contributed to the area’s growth by building plank roads between communities. The first man to settle permanently in the area was Ira C. Alger, a native of New York who arrived in 1836. The following year, the population doubled as his wife, Mary Anne, moved to the area and joined him. Because of the saw and gristmills, Holly attracted the railroad industry. In 1855, the first train rolled into Holly, marking the true start of Holly’s economic growth. While the first set of railroad tracks were actually laid in 1834, it wasn’t until 1853 that the Detroit & Milwaukee Railroad reached the village. Afterward, Henry Howland Crapo later extended track from Holly northward to Flint, making it the first railroad intersection in Oakland County and among the oldest in the state. The railroad years in Holly brought several businesses into town, including 17 hotels and numerous saloons. In the 1870s, a section of Holly’s Martha Street became known as “Battle Alley” as it was often the backdrop for many a barroom brawl that often spilled out into the street. By 1907, word about Holly and its famous Battle Alley reached the ear of well-known prohibitionist Carry Nation of Kansas. Nation traveled to Holly where she continued her six-year campaign against the evils of alcohol, visiting many Battle Alley watering holes, and using her “all hell howl,” and famous axe to make her point. In 1838, Jonathon T. Allen founded Holly Township and became its first supervisor. During that time, Allen named the village Mt. Holly after his boyhood home in New Jersey.
The village of Holly continues to be a popular place in northern Oakland County. From shopping to restaurants and breweries to recreation, the village is bustling with activities and events throughout the year.
From its flourishing historical Main Street to new growth all over town, it is no wonder that Holly is known as one of the best small towns in Michigan to raise a family.
Throughout Holly, business is thriving. The historic downtown district has been at near full capacity for the past year with very little turnover.
Special annual events such as the Wednesday evening classic car cruises in the summer to the Dickens Festival on weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas keep people coming back to Holly. The two Ladies Night Out events in the village of Holly are the biggest in the tri-county area and draw in more than 1,000 participants.
The Downtown Development Authority has been focusing on renewal of the village’s Lake District to build a strong commercial corridor along Saginaw Street. Village leaders look forward to more future growth, as plans are already in the works for several of the community’s vacated or blighted commercial properties.
Economic development throughout Holly is a major goal among community leaders, especially along Saginaw Street.
The village’s ability to make progress could not happen without support from the community’s partners and friends. The safety and walkability of the community increased with the completion of the sidewalk along west Grange Hall Road and Saginaw Street is now a three-lane road with a bike lane making it easier for bicyclists to maneuver their way through town.
In 2014, the village relocated its administrative offices to the Karl Richter Campus. Not only are the municipal offices located there, the Campus serves as a community center featuring a variety of events, activities and helpful services for community members. It also houses Main Street Holly/DDA and the Chamber of Commerce.
Village of Holly residents and visitors continue to celebrate the village’s beginnings as a frontier settlement in the midst of the Civil War, its growth as a railroad and auto industry work center, and its future as the ultimate American small town — modern, historical and prosperous.
Today, residents are proud of their home’s colorful history, and very optimistic about the future. Businesses continue to open by the dozen, keeping the Holly municipal offices and DDA busy with special activities to maximize and manage their community’s growth. Holly’s historic downtown is a booming shopper’s paradise, with stores and boutiques full of Michigan-made and hand-crafted products, specialty food items, clothing and antiques. Winglemire Furniture and Joseph’s Oak Shop are sesqui-centennial Michigan businesses. Most stores are open after 5 p.m. and have special hours and sales during community events. The North District of Holly provides the necessities of life in one convenient location, including groceries, sundries, dry cleaning, flowers, hardware, and auto supplies. Each year, downtown Holly welcomes visitors to a number of village events including Wednesday night car shows from May through October, Sights, Sounds and Tastes of Holly on the first Saturday of August, and the annual Dickens Festival, a popular Victorian holiday celebration that takes place in downtown Holly between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just outside the village limits, off Dixie Highway in Groveland Township, the Michigan Renaissance Festival brings in thousands of visitors every fall, luring them back in time to a fictional English village called “The Shire of Hollygrove,” during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the latter part of the 16th Century. A large number of patrons also regularly attend the festival in costume further fleshing out the streets with nobles, pirates, Vikings, wizards, rogues, wenches, and an assortment of fantasy characters. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Holly area boasts a large number of lakes and rivers, and two state parks, the Holly Recreation Area and Seven Lakes State Park. There, visitors can enjoy fishing, swimming, camping, hiking and all that nature affords. In winter, skiing and snowboarding await at the Mt. Holly Ski Area.
2014 = 6,195
2012 = 10,037
2015 = estimated 6,363
On the Web
All Holly area municipalities have informative websites, giving members of the communities the resources they need. Information on municipal services, elected leaders, administrative personnel, local ordinances, meeting agendas and minutes are just a few things you will be able to find. Visit them at:
The city of Linden is located approximately four miles west of the city of Fenton, and can be accessed via U.S. 23 to Silver Lake Road.
Linden is rich with stories about the hardy settlers who overcame many struggles to make their homes in this community along the Shiawassee River. In 1835, brothers Richard and Perry Lamb built a log home and settled what is now Linden. The following year, many new people arrived to the area, including Richard Newton and Joseph Irving. Two other settlers, Jonathon Shepard and Benaiah Sanborn helped Herman Harris and Consider Warner build what is now the longest-standing building in the city, the Warner Mill, a dual saw and grist mill. Warner and Harris then began drawing how the village would be settled, but just after their plans got off the ground, tragedy struck twice. In the early 1840s, just after the mill construction was completed, an epidemic broke out and infected more than 60 percent of the settlers, half of whom left their belongings and moved away. Less than a decade later, the mills caught fire and burned to the ground, only to be rebuilt again. The 138-year-old mill, a well-constructed building, has become the city’s civic center. Today, the historic mill is the meeting place for the Linden City Council and its various committees and commissions, and serves the community as a museum and public library.
Putting Linden on the map
As the years passed, several industries put Linden on the map, including a buggy manufacturer, until another Michigander, Henry Ford, changed the course of history. With the invention of the automobile, Lindenites turned their gaze from the land to water. High quantities of marl were found in area marshlands and another industry, cement manufacturing, would take hold of the tri-county area for the next 30 years. In 1885, the “union block,” which stretched from Bridge Street to Main Street was constructed and used bricks made locally by culling the clay from the earth at the corner of Hyatt Lane and Silver Lake Road. Tragedy struck on May 18, 2007, when residents and other onlookers watched as the union block burned to the ground, destroying forever this part of Linden’s rich history. City officials are currently working with individuals to rebuild on the site of the former union block. The Linden Hotel remains one of the area’s oldest businesses, having served the community for more than 120 years. Down the road, west on Silver Lake Road, in Argentine Township, another historic mill, the Wolcott Mill, was also thriving. Almost 166 years after its construction, the mill has new owners who have made significant inroads into preserving its history. One of the area’s most prominent citizens was former Argentine Township Supervisor Dr. Isaac Wixom, who according to some historical accounts, was the first to invent a prosthetic leg. It was Wixom who first laid out the plans for what is now the main strip in the township before moving on to the Michigan State House of Representatives.
Linden has grown throughout the years, with more than 3,600 residents and 1,500 households within its 2.4 square miles. City officials work with the Downtown Development Authority to create a prosperous atmosphere for the downtown shopping district.
New businesses continue to open in Linden, including the new Taco Bell on W. Broad Street, attracting shoppers and investors.
Linden residents elected a new mayor in November 2016, Danielle Cusson, who previously served as councilor and mayor pro tem. She replaced former Mayor David Lossing, who was mayor for 12 years.
The Historic District Commission, Linden City Council and the Planning Commission work diligently to protect and preserve the historic integrity of the community. The Linden City Council is working on renovating the historic Linden Mill Building, one of the oldest buildings in Genesee County.
Orthodontist Dr. Nicole Wax of Linden owns the property now and is planning a new development at the site.
Linden hosts annual events, such as the Linden Mills Day, the growing Holiday Happening festival in December, and the city’s Memorial Day event. The city also hosts Music by the Mill, adding more charm to the small-town feel.
2014 = 3,860
Projected 2035 = 3,803
2015 = 6,641
Projected 2035 = 8,132