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This two-story, brick residence was built for Rochester saloon keeper and cigar merchant Burton "Bert" McCafferty in 1906. Local oral tradition holds that the brick used in the construction of the house was salvaged from the demolition of the Detroit Sugar Company mill on Paint Creek. The sugar beet mill was razed during the spring and summer of 1906, and several Rochester-area buildings are said to have been constructed from the mill's bricks. The McCafferty house later became the residence of prominent Rochester businessman Lewis Cass Crissman.


  • Burton McCafferty House, south elevation, 2020
  • Burton McCafferty House, south and east elevations, 1907
  • Burton McCafferty, 1907

Burt McCafferty purchased this property on West Fourth Street in December 1905. In the summer of 1906, the Pontiac Press Gazette reported that Burton "Bert" McCafferty, Rochester saloon and cigar store proprietor, was building a new house in Rochester. On October 23, 1906, the Press Gazette said, "Bert McCafferty and family are moving into their fine new residence on West Fourth Street." Although it was not mentioned in the newspaper account, local tradition says that like the C.G. Griffey house, the McCafferty house is one of several buildings in the area constructed with brick reclaimed from the demolition of the Detroit Sugar Company mill, which happened during 1906.

The Detroit Sugar Company had built a large beet processing mill on the banks of Paint Creek, along today's Woodward Street in Rochester, in 1899. The mill was not the hoped-for economic boon to the community and shut down after about four campaign seasons, due to poor-quality beet crops in the area, the lifting of tariffs on Cuban sugar, and other factors. After it was deemed unprofitable for the long term, the mill was demolished and the bricks were re-used for other construction projects. Several local houses, including the Burton McCafferty house, are all that physically remain of the Detroit Sugar Company mill today.

McCafferty was born in Armada Township in 1867 and grew up on a farm north of Romeo. In 1893 he married Minnie Mason, of Davis, and the couple had three children. The McCafferty family stayed only a few years in their new house on West Fourth. In 1913, Bert McCafferty had moved his business interests to Highland Park in Wayne County, and in 1916, Gus Dobat purchased the house from McCafferty. By 1930, it was the residence of local businessman and owner of the Rochester Elevator, Lewis Cass Crissman.

Edward Bromley and Mary Bromley his wife to Burt McCafferty, December 5, 1905, consideration $400, land in Out Lot 4 of the Village of Rochester commencing at the southeast corner of lands of Bromley, thence running east along the north line of Fourth Street 65 feet, thence north parallel with lands of Mary Hawkins 150 feet, thence west parallel with lands of Baker 60 feet thence south parallel with lands of Bromley to place of beginning, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 216, page 498.

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MLRV-J7R : 29 October 2015), Bert Mccafferty, Avon, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 117, sheet 7B, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,374,681.

"United States Census, 1930", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XQ1V-L46 : 8 December 2015), Lewis C Crissman, Rochester, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district ED 4, sheet 18A; NARA microfilm publication T626.

"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K4GB-C8Y : 17 May 2014), Lew C Crissman, Rochester, Avon Township, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 63-4, sheet 61A, family 311, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 1798.

"United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4SL-VQ3 : 8 April 2016), Lewis Cass Crissman, 1942; citing NARA microfilm publication M1936, M1937, M1939, M1951, M1962, M1964, M1986, M2090, and M2097 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Pontiac Press Gazette, October 23, 1906.

"Gus Dobat has bought Bert McCafferty's fine brick residence...," Rochester Era, May 19, 1916, p.8.

"Former Resident Passes Away Sunday: Bert McCafferty Was Well and Favorably Known in and About Rochester, Was A Member of City Council," Rochester Clarion, April 22, 1927, p.1.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Deborah Larsen

Rochester: A Sketch of One of the Best Towns on the Map, 1907 [public domain]

Rochester: A Sketch of One of the Best Towns on the Map, 1907 [public domain]