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    Learn About the History of Fenton

    4 months ago · ·Comments Off on Learn About the History of Fenton

    Learn About the History of Fenton

    Fenton is a city seemingly tucked away from it all. That being said, once there, you will notice this hidden gem has a lot to offer. If you have recently relocated here or are in the process of moving, getting a better feel for the area can be beneficial.

    Often the best way to become more familiar with a place is to learn about its past or history. You can start small and learn more about your manufactured/mobile home community, which is highly recommended in general, or you can dive right in.

    With that being said, to help guide you in your journey through Fenton’s past, here is a brief timeline of important events that shaped this city and made it into what it is today.

    1830s to 1860s

    The city of Fenton was discovered by mistake. In 1834, a man by the name of Clark Dibble went out on an expedition, you could say. In his attempt to make his way to Grand Blanc, which was called Grumlaw at that time, Dibble accidentally happened upon a serene, virtually untouched, northern area by the Shiawassee River. Dibble stayed for almost two years before returning to Grand Blanc, where he then persuaded a number of families to relocate. By 1836 this area was named Dibbleville and had less than 20 people living by the river in a total of 2 houses. There was also a single sawmill.

    It was not until 1837 that Dibbleville was officially renamed. Thanks to a card game between William M. Fenton and Robert LeRoy, one night in August, 1837, this city was subsequently named after the winner. The winner, William M. Fenton, was a lawyer and a land speculator, but the fun did not stop there. Robert LeRoy’s winnings gave rise to LeRoy Street. The pair then proceeded to name many of the streets in the city—street names which are still used today. However, it’s worth mentioning that Fenton was not recognized as an official city until 1964, so in the meantime it  was known as the Village of Fenton.

    1870s to 1910s

    Of course, it was not all fun and games for Fenton and LeRoy. They founded this city in hopes of making Fenton a shipping center when, and if, the railroad line made its way to the area.  Well, as luck would have it, that’s precisely what happened in the 1850s; the railroad depot they built was fully operational for almost 30 years before burning to the ground in 1880. Though the fire did set things back for a time, by 1882, a brick depot was constructed in its place, and operations continued for decades to come.

    1920s to 1950s

    The rail line was, in many ways, the lifeblood of the city. In fact, for more than 100 years, the railroad only went as far as Fenton. Thus, this city’s residents and anyone in Flint, Saginaw, and the far northern parts of Michigan relied on this commercial and transport center. By the 1920s, the new brick depot had stood the test of time, until a 1923 fire. However, the fire only damaged the roof of the railroad depot. Subsequently, the roof was repaired, and the structure is still standing to this day (though now used for various offices).

    1960s to 1990s

    Up until 1974, in fact, the Fenton railroad depot was still a vital part of the community. However, this city’s economy eventually shifted, and most individuals began working in manufacturing positions, self-employment jobs, retail trade, healthcare, and city offices. Consequently, as briefly mentioned, the railroad depot is now a historical site with offices. Likewise, a good portion of the downtown district in this city has stayed true to its roots and retained much of the aesthetics of the past.

    2000s to Present

    Present-day Fenton continues to honor its rich past while still reinventing itself. Now, in addition to a lovely downtown district, Fenton has ample shopping at the Silver Lake Shopping Center. This city’s population has also risen from a few families to 11,000+ people. Manufacturing, healthcare, and retail trade occupations still rank high here as well. Suburban areas, mobile home communities, and other affordable housing are in abundance, and let’s not forget the wealth of outdoor recreation everywhere you turn.

    Everyday Life In Fenton

    Moving to Fenton will not be easy, as moving rarely is, but once you get settled into your new manufactured/mobile home—make time to take it all in. This lovely city has so much to offer and continues to be a great place to live and work. Of course, you do not have to take our word for it. Take a break from all your unpacking and explore your new community. You will not be disappointed here. Nevertheless, maybe start slow and take a relaxing walk alongside the Shiawassee River—the river actually flows right through the center of town in a lush park.

    Exploring Your Community

    If you prefer to dive right in to your new community, on the other hand, then there are a variety of things to see and do here. For starters, now that you have brushed up on this city’s history, bring the past to life by checking out the many historical sites and wonders in Fenton. After you have had your fill of the past, head on down to one of the 58 lakes and enjoy yourself. While you are out and about, remember to try the local funfair and grab a bite to eat—you definitely have some tasty options here.

    Historical Sites

    Your first stop on your history tour should be the railroad depot. This building will give you a real sense of where it all started; plus, show you how much has changed since the 1830s. Next, stop by the A.J. Phillips Fenton Museum and Historical Society. Here, you will find extensive genealogy records, vintage clothing, tools, equipment, military items, and more. Better still, the building itself has its own fascinating story, dating back to the 1900s. This is also the place to learn how things turn out for William M. Fenton and Robert LeRoy.

    Outdoor Recreation

    After the history comes the lake party, maybe? Whether you prefer fishing, swimming, water sports, or boating, you have ample lakes to visit and several options for outdoor recreation. Moreover, it will surely take some time to explore all 58 lakes that are within a 10-mile radius of this city. So, in the meantime, make sure you have all your lake essentials.

    When you are ready, we recommend starting with the largest lake of them all, Lake Fenton. You can easily spend a whole weekend just enjoying all the sights and sounds at this amazing lake. Finally, for those who prefer nature trails, parks, biking paths, golfing, cornhole tournaments, and winter sports like ice climbing, never fear—Fenton has you more than covered on that front as well.

    Restaurants

    As you can see, Fenton residents definitely know how to work up an appetite. So, it’s no wonder that there are over 60 restaurants, local eateries, and bars just around the corner from your new manufactured/mobile home community. With almost every kind of cuisine available, it might be hard deciding on your favorite spot just yet, but that’s alright. Try these notable places, that you can only get a taste of here—the Fenton Fire Hall Kitchen &Taproom, the Laundry, Lucky’s Steak House, Fenton Winery & Brewery, Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, and Beale Street Smokehouse BBQ. Ultimately, these are just a few more reasons why you will be happy you moved.

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    Must-See Places in Fenton, Michigan

    5 months ago · ·Comments Off on Must-See Places in Fenton, Michigan

    Must-See Places in Fenton, Michigan

    Fenton is a historical town in southeast Michigan. It became a city in 1964. The close-knit community works to preserve historical architecture and other features of the town. There are plenty of natural resources, like lakes, forests and the Shiawassee River, that offer recreational outlets for residents. Many residents of Fenton enjoy living in senior housing, historic homes, kid-friendly subdivisions and mobile home communities. Fenton is also located near US-23 for access to bigger cities, like Flint, Detroit or Ann Arbor.

    There is no shortage of things to do in Fenton, Michigan. Visit AJ Phillips Fenton Museum to learn about the rich history of the town. Find all of the outdoor sculptures that decorate Fenton’s streets. Throughout the Summer, shop at the Fenton Farmers Market or see a concert at Millpond Park. You can also enjoy a picnic or feed the ducks at one of Fenton’s nine city parks.

    AJ Phillips Fenton Museum

    AJ Phillips was a prominent Fenton citizen, who was one of the leading manufacturers in Michigan. Originally built in 1900, the AJ Phillips Fenton Museum was donated by Phillips’ heirs to the city in 1906. The building was used as the Fenton Library before the library was relocated. The museum is divided into themed sections. Displays include vintage clothing, tools and other materials. There is a replica of AJ Phillips’ personal office with some original furniture. One section displays military and war items related to Fenton. Notably, there are pieces from the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, both World Wars and Vietnam. The museum also houses a collection of Fenton newspapers from 1869 to now. Visit the AJ Phillips Fenton Museum on Sundays from 1pm to 4pm to dive into local history.

    Outdoor Sculpture Gallery

    Download the map online and head out on a self guided walking tour of more than a dozen sculptures around Fenton. Many of the sculptures are inspired by nature, such as the Steel Butterfly or Cattails. See if you can take a photo with all of them.

    Fenton Farmers Market

    Support your local community at the Fenton Farmers Market when you shop for fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and artisan creations throughout the Summer. The farmers market is open on Thursdays between 5pm and 8pm on the front lawn of the Fenton Community Center.

    City of Fenton Parks

    Fenton has a variety of parks in the city for recreation. Residents can enjoy playing sports and having picnics. Nature is never far away with nine parks in the city. Gazebos at the parks offer beautiful locations for wedding ceremonies. Several parks are located on Shiawassee River, which runs through the city.

    Bush Park: At five and a half acres, Bush Park is one of Fenton’s largest parks. The Shiawassee River runs through the park. There are volleyball courts, playground equipment, restrooms, a gazebo, and a pavilion with electricity and picnic areas for visitors to enjoy. The pavilion and gazebo are available to rent for a fee. The park is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset with no entry fee. There are two entrances.

     Conklin Park: Stop for a quick picnic at this small park just off Silver Lake Road. Amenities include a swing set and picnic area with grills. The park is open all year round with no entry fee.

     Franklin D. Adams Park: This small park was named after a member of the Fenton City Council. Located at the corner of South Long Lake Road and Appletree Lane, this small park is convenient for residents in the neighborhood.

     Freedom Park: Fenton’s first park is just .35 acres. It was where Civil War Colonel William Matthew Fenton had soldiers practice their drills. The Fenton City Band used to practice in the park on a wooden bandstand. Enjoy the rich history of Freedom Park when you visit the war memorial. The park also includes a picnic area, benches and a gazebo. The gazebo can be rented for a fee. The park is always open with no entry fee.

    Millpond Park: Next to Fenton City Hall is a 4 acre park. Amenities include picnic areas, playground equipment, benches and a gazebo. Fenton hosts a Concert in the Park series on Thursday nights during the summer. Because the park is located on the Shiawassee River, it also features fishing on the river and a dam. This gazebo can be rented for a fee, but the park is always open at no cost to visitors.

    O’Donnell Park: This one and a half acre park is located just across the street from Strom Park. There is a picnic area to enjoy. The large wooden deck is a highlight as visitors can feed the ducks or go fishing. Shiawassee Riverwalk begins at this park and continues through Millpond Park and Rackham Park.

    Rackham Park: This three acre park is located on the Shiawassee River behind the Fenton Community Center. The park features two tennis courts, a walking path, a patio with picnic tables, a fountain and a large grassy area for visitors to enjoy. There are plenty of trees to provide shade on a hot Summer day.

    Silver Lake Park: This is the largest park in Fenton at 35.4 acres. Amenities include ball fields, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, badminton courts, nature trails and playground equipment. There is something for everyone to enjoy. There are also two pavilions and picnic areas with grills to be utilized. Finally, there is 300 feet of beach area with lifeguards available for residents to swim at Silver Lake from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The rest of the park is open year round. Silver Lake Park does have a fee to enter and you can purchase season passes. This is the only city park that does not permit dogs within the park.

    Strom Park: Enjoy this small park’s gazebo and picnic area year round. There is also a small boat launch. Visitors can fish at Strom Park as well. There are no entry fees to this park.

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