Orchard Lake in Oakland County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Emmendorfer House / Francis A. Emmendorfer
William Gilmour began building this house in the 1830s. With two hidden chambers and a strategic location on an Underground Railroad route between Farmington and Pontiac, it is believed to have provided shelter for runaway slaves. In the 1830s and 1840s Gilmour occasionally hosted township meetings here. It was owned by Seneca Randall in 1847 and Nathaniel Hearding from 1849 to 1863. Francis A. Emmendorfer and family owned this property from 1864 to the 1950s.
Francis A. Emmendorfer
Francis A. Emmendorfer came to America from Germany in 1852. In 1857 he moved to West Bloomfield Township where he worked for Judge Joseph Copeland. In 1864 he bought ninety acres on Orchard Lake where he specialized in growing fruits and grain. In 1893 he joined Edward M. Murphy and S. E. Beach in organizing the Pontiac Buggy Company, which was absorbed by the Oakland Motor Company in 1906. That firm, bought by General Motors, became Pontiac Motor Division in 1933.
Erected 1994 by Bureau of History, Michigan Department of State.
Topics and series. This historical Abolition & Underground RR • Agriculture • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Michigan Historical Commission series list.
Location. 42° 34.663′ N, 83° 21.906′ W. Marker is in Orchard Lake, Michigan, in Oakland County. Marker is at the intersection of Pontiac Trail and Orchard Lake Road on Pontiac Trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4121 Pontiac Trail, West Bloomfield MI 48323, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Remembering Historic Railways (approx. 0.2 miles away); Chief Pontiac (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Orchard Lake Museum (approx. half a mile away); Waiting for the Trolleys (approx. half a mile away); Apple Island (approx. 0.7 miles away); Gateway to Nature (approx. 0.8 miles away); Go in Peace (approx. one mile away); Tracks Over Tracks (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Orchard Lake.
More about this marker. The marker is not easy to get to. There is no place to pull over on Pontiac Trail, which is a busy street. There are several businesses at the intersection of Pontiac Trail and Orchard Lake Road where one can park. There is no sidewalk on Pontiac Trail and no shoulder, but you can walk on the grass next to the road.
Also see . . . Historic Homes Tour. YouTube video from 2014 that shows the house (Submitted on September 6, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 6, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 66 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 6, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.