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.
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 and other smaller streets after his family members, including Ann, Caroline, Adelaide, and Elizabeth.
Over the years, Fentonville prospered and in 1863 was incorporated as the village of Fenton. In 1964, the village of Fenton was incorporated and became the city of Fenton. Harry Lemen, who served Fenton for 41 years, became the city’s first mayor. Paul Bottecelli served as mayor after Lemen, from 1965 to 1968. Bottecelli was followed by Jack Winegarden, who served as mayor from 1969 to 1972.
Today, the popularity of the city of Fenton as a place to live, do business, enjoy an wonderful meal and just have a lot of fun is evidenced by the booming growth that has taken place in just a few short years. As planned by an active city administration and Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the city has become a popular destination for visitors from throughout the state of Michigan and the Midwest. And the growth just keeps on coming. The Horizon Building in downtown Fenton was completed in 2018. It features second- and third-floor offices, and Andiamo, a popular Italian restaurant that features several eateries in and around the Detroit area. Also downtown is the new Ciao Italian Bistro and Wine Bar, another popular Italian Restaurant. The owner of The Barn, a sports bar and restaurant at T orrey and North roads, has invested more of his resources into the downtown by opening The Fenton Pub, right next to Ciao. Construction on the Cornerstone II building, called 111 Leroy Place, is now underway and expected to be completed in December, 2020. ReJuv Ave. now operates from a brand new, state-of-the-art building at the corner of Adelaide and Mill streets.
Art continues to be a major focal point Sculptures of all description continue to dot the landscape in various downtown locations. A new and unique butterfly garden was started in 2018 and is now complete. The garden is expected to feature some beautiful winged creatures in the spring. The excitement continues on the west side of the city as well. The Kmart building has been completely renovated and houses T.J. MAXX, Five Below and Skechers, which are now open for business. Michael’s will be moving to that location in the near future and a fifth tenant has not yet been revealed. The former Bob Evans Restaurant at Owen Road and Silver Parkway, is now home to The Meeting Place, a great new dining experience. Where Pizza Hut and Big Boy once stood is a brand new strip mall featuring Starbucks, which is anchoring the east end of the building and Verizon right next to it. New businesses there also include Sports Clips, Jersey Mike’s, Thai Bistro and the Nail Bar is coming.
The Fenton Area Public Schools district sold 3.3 acres of its land on Owen Road which is expected to be the future home of an unidentified grocer and a couple of other retailers.
The north end of town also is growing with new businesses and eateries locating in existing retail spaces.
While the rapid growth continues to take place in the city of Fenton has been a boon for the local economy, the additional traffic generated by a growing population and visitors continues to take a toll on crumbling roadways. After two failed millage elections, city leaders will be busy researching ways to fund much-needed road improvements throughout the city.
Great place to
live, work and play
Despite the tremendous growth that has taken place in the city of Fenton and the surrounding communities, t he tr i-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, Fenton Artwalk, Farmers Market, Back to the Bricks, Taste of Fenton, St. John Applefest, and Jinglefest at Christmastime, and the newest big event in late September called Bottles, Brews & News, brought to the city by The View Newspapers and Tri-County Times. Featuring dozens of lakes and streams, Fenton and the surrounding communities boast a hub of outdoor recreational activities.
2017 = estimated 11,286
Projected 2035 = 15,254
2017 = estimated 15,377
Projected 2035 = 19,896
2017 = estimated 10,447
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 Holly area includes the village of Holly, and Holly, Rose and Groveland townships.
Today, Holly Village and Holly Area Schools administration is located under one roof at the Karl Richer Community Center. Holly Township administration remains in downtown Holly.
The area continues to be an entertainment, dining and recreation destination that is continually growing and developing, while maintaining the rustic, small-town feel.
This was a great year for the village of Holly as progress was made on several projects. These include keeping up on maintenance and repairs, adding an outdoor sound system and WiFi in the downtown, and new public art.
Visitors enjoyed several successful events and the village was recognized nationally for landing in sixth place and earning a $150,000 grant to put toward the Holly Union Depot project.
In November, the village hired Jerry Narsh as its new police chief and is excited about him furthering the relationship with Holly Area Schools.
Blighted buildings were rehabbed and the fire department moved to midtown, which allows the department to provide better service to residents.
The Holly Dickens Festival continues to be a success, drawing thousands over the three-weekend schedule.
Holly Township made strides in projects like the Holly Heritage Farmstead restoration and renovation. Mistakes were made with the new foundation of the 119-year-old building in 2018, but those mistakes were rectified without taxpayer funds or litigation in 2019. The project is ongoing, with the goal of becoming an educational destination.
Another project in development is the Holly Oaks ORV Park currently being constructed from a gravel mine in Groveland Township. This park has been in the works for several years. It made major strides in 2019, propelled by dedicated enthusiasts. There have been a few private events at the park, but it is expected to be open to the public the summer of 2020.
Rose Township continued municipal improvements like the Milford Road culvert project this fall, which was completed in November. DTE Energy also conducted infrastructure improvement work in the township to lessen power outages in the township.
Today, residents are proud of their home’s colorful history, and are 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 sesquicentennial 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, Blues, Brews and Barbecue, 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.
2017 = 6,158
2017 = 11,562
2017 = estimated 6,411
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.
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, performed the first successful war time hip joint amputation. 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.
In 2019, Linden City saw dramatic changes in the downtown area. Construction started on the new two-story building owned by Dr. Nicole Wax of Dr. Wax Orthodontics at the northeast corner of Bridge and Broad streets. When it’s completed in 2020, it will be home to three businesses and Dr. Wax Orthodontics. Included in the plans are about two dozen new parking spaces.
Right across the street from the new building could be the new Beacon & Bridge gas station and market. Owners Quick-Sav Food Stores are working on plans to rebuild with the market at the intersection. The property currently has four pump stations on the north end of the property and a 2,240-square-foot convenience store on the south portion.
The owners wish to expand to eight pump stations and a 2,592-square-foot convenience store, with the gas station located south of the building. The plans involve tearing down the current gas station and the vacant building at 111 S. Bridge St.
Another significant change in 2019 were the efforts to monitor and clean up the underground gasoline leak discovered in 2014 with the installation of 22 monitoring wells. The wells connect to an underground piping system that will remove contaminated groundwater and soil gas as corrective action.
The restroom at Eagles Wooden Park was finished in 2019.
The Linden City Council hired Ellen Glass as city manager after Police Chief Scott Sutter took over as interim. The city also hired a new clerk, Tessa Wightman, following the departure of former clerk Erica Armstrong.
In May, voters shot down a millage that would have collected funds for a non-motorized pathway through Linden, Fenton and Fenton Township. In April, a motorist struck the side of Linden City Hall, damaging the side of the building. The damage has not yet been fixed.
When it comes to events, Linden saw thousands of participants. In November, while the city was adorned with Christmas decorations along the streets, volunteers held a tree lighting ceremony for the first time called Cocoa and Carols.
In December, the 2019 Linden Holiday Happening attracted more than 5,000 to the Frosty Parade, fireworks, and a chance to meet Santa.
In June, the annual Gus Maker basketball tournament was a huge hit with thousands of participants.
2017 = 3,896
Projected 2035 = 3,803
2017 = 6,652
Projected 2035 = 8,132