COVID-19 news and cider mill history
Posted on 10/15/2020
Mayor Brian Turnbull Northvillians,

Fall is here with the trees turning spectacular colors, football games being played, and the aroma of fires and sweet smell of cider in the air. In this week’s letter, I’ll share information about our historic cider mills.

But first let me bring you up to speed on Northville news:

• Vitural Town Hall – On Oct. 15, at 7 p.m., I’ll be updating Northvillians on the State of the Community via a Town Hall meeting and inviting School Board candidates to introduce themselves. See link below and plan to tune in via Zoom:
Thurs, Oct 15, 7 p.m.: https://smart.newrow.com/#/room/fga-386

• Halloween – I want to alert all citizens about the (CDC) guidelines for observing this year’s Halloween holiday event. The CDC has labeled Trick or Treating as a high-risk activity.

• Reminder, in the last City Council Meeting on Oct. 5 the following activities were discussed:

• Mayoral Task Forces – Three task forces were approved:
– The future of Ford Field as a Central Park
– The Northville Middle Rouge River Restoration Task Force (or more simply, the River Walk Group)
– The Farmer’s Market Task Force – creating a fun and flourishing Farmers’ Market for our next generation.

More information will be on City website. if you have a passion for any of these, contact me directly.

• Halloween actions were agreed upon:
– With the anticipated reduction in trick-or-treaters, streets will not be shut down this year.
– The Fire Department will not be giving out treats or having their Halloween open house.
– Residents are encouraged to make their own decision on whether to leave their lights on for youngsters to come to the door or lights off this year.
– Many local subdivisions are planning alternative socially distanced, masked neighborhood events for their youth. Please remember, the typical Halloween mask can’t stop the spread of COVID-19.

Downtown skeletons – Last weekend’s weather couldn’t have been better for those enjoying the socially distanced “Skeletons Come Alive” display in the downtown business district. Some retailers had their best weekends ever! Thank you all for supporting our businesses and taking part in the exciting downtown environment, with its music-enriched atmosphere.

• The Big Ten will begin a nine-week football conference schedule Oct. 24. The NHS team (2-2) is playing a six-game prep football schedule and is readying for the State playoffs.

• Update on the fatal hit-and-run of Dominic Duhn in Northville Township – Efforts by detectives in Western Wayne County, the State Police, the FBI, along with the Duhn Family, community volunteers and Crime Stoppers have paid off with the arrest of a 19-year-old boy who has been taken into custody. 

At the State level:
• Please note that the indoor public space “mask requirement” remains in effect under a State Department of Health and Human Services recommendation from June. (All policies are being reviewed.)

• News from Governor Whitmer’s office:
– The governor signed a bill to help the State ensure every vote is counted in the upcoming election. Clerks in certain cities or townships can begin processing absentee ballots prior to election day. Voters will be notified if their ballot was invalid, so they can revise it.
– Gov. Whitmer said she will work with the legislatures in a bipartisan fashion to revise COVID-19 policies and procedures going forward, as our State continues to face pandemic challenges.
– Gov. Whitmer was the subject of a shocking plot to kidnap and possibly murder her, making major national news. In years past, our Governor Soapy Williams (1949-61) who eventually joined the Kennedy cabinet, was taken hostage at knife point.

COVID-19 confirmed cases: Northville has had 63 cases /7 fatalities, the Township: 399 cases /26 fatalities; Michigan: 150,000 cases /7,300 fatalities; the Nation: 7.8 million cases /218,000 fatalities; and Global: 37 million cases /1.1 million fatalities.

Now let’s return to the history of cider mills here in Northville.

1873 – Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill was established in 1873 by a couple of Civil War vets and has been going strong ever since. It’s the oldest cider mill in the area, and its press was originally powered by a team of horses.

1898 – At the Northville train station, 12 railroad cars were filled with barrels of local apples paying from 75¢ - $1.50 per barrel. Some local orchards had 500 barrels each. It was also noted that some orchards began to spray for the first time to destroy insects, “producing good results.”

1909 – The apple crop in and around Northville proved to be one of the best. Hiram Holmes sold his crop for $1,375, Ed Starkweather earned $1,200 and Robert Thompson pulled in $1,000.

1918 – The 2nd annual Wayne County Fair featured a canned fruit contest. The festivities brought people from all over Southeast Michigan to Northville to taste the preserves from our orchards. Other area papers noted that some of the most delicious local apples could be purchased at the Fair, with demonstrations of canning, pickling and preserving.

1919 – Northville’s Orchard Heights was the last of the original four historic areas in town to be developed. The other three were the Historic District, Cabbage Town and Beal Town (Globe Furniture Co. area). Orchard Heights ran from Rogers to Clement, and 7 Mile to Main, which was originally the old Eaton Orchards. Advertisements for the subdivision noted its thousands of apple, peach, plum and cherry trees. Every lot – costing $300 and up – gave a “grand view of the surrounding country, nothing more picturesque could be desired.” By 1920, a dozen new homes were built there – in the Orchard Heights we know today.

1931 – There was a fire at Parmenter Cider Mill on Baseline Rd, which threatened to destroy 30,000 gallons of cider. The Northville Fire Department was on the scene within minutes to fight the fire – a rapid response similar to today’s stats!

1986 - A Northville Record article invited folks to enjoy the arrival of fall by visiting Parmenter’s Cider Mill (established in 1873) and Foreman’s Orchards on 7 Mile (dating back to 1932).

1998 – A piece of Northville history was being repurposed. Foreman’s Orchards, with its apple trees and cider mill, in the 7 Mile/Ridge area was being developed into the Maybury Crossing subdivision.

Enjoy this fall season by stopping at Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill to get cider and doughnuts. Then drive out on Baseline to Griswold to Northville Road and continue south down Hines Drive to see some spectacular fall colors. Upon your return, come see the skeletons on display in downtown Northville. Fall is upon us – experience its beauty in the Ville.

Keep that Northville Fall Faith!

Stay #NorthvilleStrong!
Brian Turnbull
Mayor – Northville
BTurnbull@ci.northville.mi.us / 248.505.6849
Historic Cider Mills
This photo montage is from the Northville District Library (Archives).