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This building was built in 1909 for the Rochester Light & Power Company, later acquired by Detroit Edison (now DTE Energy). Rochester Light & Power was the first company to provide reliable electrical power to the residents of the village of Rochester. Detroit Edison used the building as a local office until approximately 1990, at which time it was leased as retail and professional office space.

  • Rochester Light & Power Building, west elevation, 2020
  • Rochester Light &  Power Building, west elevation, ca. 1920
  • Rochester Light & Power Building, interior view showing clerks at work, September 1923
  • Newspaper ad for Eastern Michigan Edison in Rochester, 1912

The first electric power provided to Rochester came with the streetcar lines in October 1899, but only a few weeks after, the Rochester Electric Light & Power Company was incorporated. A decade later, on May 14, 1909, the Rochester Era announced that "the Edison people are in full possession and control of the Rochester Light & Power Co." and that they had purchased a lot at the corner of Third and Main on which a power station would immediately be built. Two weeks later, the newspaper reported that ground had been broken for the promised substation. The building plan was described as having three parts: a high tension room, a machine and switchboard room, and a front office. The $12,000 stucco-over-concrete block building went into service in October 1909.

The power company was known for a time as Eastern Michigan Edison, a wholly owned subsidiary of Detroit Edison.

An addition was made to the building in 1922. The Rochester Era reported on the conclusion of the work on December 22, 1922: "The Detroit Edison company has moved from its temporary offices in the DeBaene Building to the newly completed addition to the Edison Building at Third and Main sts."

A report in the Rochester Clarion of May 6, 1927 described improvements to the building as follows:

"Scaffolding has been erected around the Detroit Edison building, corner Main and Third streets, preparatory to removing the old stucco work which has cracked and partially peeled off. As soon as this work is finished the building will again be stuccoed, and when completed, will present a much improved appearance. The building will also undergo other minor improvements which will greatly add to the beauty of the same."

Detroit Edison used this building as its local office until about 1990, at which time it was repurposed as a retail and professional office location.

"Seek Rochester Contract," Detroit Free Press, April 25, 1909, p.9.

"The Edison people are in full possession...," Rochester Era, May 14, 1909, p.1.

"Electric Power For Rochester," Detroit Free Press, May 26, 1909, p.6.

"Power House Of the Rochester L. & P. Co. Will Give the Best Service," Rochester Era, May 28, 1909, p.1.

"The new sub-station of the Edison people operating the Rochester Light & Power Co...," Rochester Era, September 17, 1909.

"Light at Last: Rochester's New Lights Shine With Radiance," Rochester Era, October 8, 1909, p.1.

"The Rochester Light & Power Co. will hereafter be known as the Eastern Michigan Edison Co.," Rochester Era, May 6, 1910.

"The Detroit Edison company has moved from its temporary offices...," Rochester Era, December 22, 1922, p.5.

"Edison Building Being Restuccoed and Improved," Rochester Clarion, May 6, 1927, p.1.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Deborah Larsen

Deborah Larsen

Rochester Era, May 10, 1912