Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some History

I've been eager to learn more about our house-- about the original owners, and about the many different renovations it has likely undergone.  With that in mind I stopped by the Senior Center to see if I could track down anyone in the Lake Orion Historical Society (my e-mail had gone unanswered, and something told me that the Society might not be terribly tech savvy....) Enter Mr. Mike Sweeney who stopped by my door one Friday morning with a short verbal history of the house.

From him, I discovered (or rather, confirmed) that the original occupants of the house were the founders of the local newspaper, the Lake Orion Review.  He also promised me two photos-- one of the original owner and his wife and one of the front of the house.  AND he assured me that the house was not built in 1895 as we originally thought.  It was almost certainly built between 1901-1905.

Then just yesterday he came by my door with the photos and a statement written by the Historical Society

 The Neal House

Journal Entries record the earliest date for the property on which this house sits as 1861.  In 1873 the three lots were sold by Oscar M. Delano to Ann M. Emmons for $150.  These lots passed through several hands during the next 28 years. 

In 1901, William E. French bought the lots from Harriet S. Tinker for $600.  There is evidence that he built this house sometime between 1901-1905 for an unspecified amount of cash and a mortgage of $1500.

John A. Neal, the founder of the local newspaper was living in the house just to the south and, having prospered in his business, took the opportunity to move his family across Jackson Street to occupy the new home.

John Neal continued as editor and publisher of the "Orion Review" and his son George H. Neal became associate editor and manager in 1913.  When John died in 1925 his son George took over the newspaper.  John's wife, Addie, continued to live in the home until her death in 1935.  George and his wife, Aurora, then moved into the house.  Aurora Neal took a very active role in publishing and editing the newspaper which by then was called "Lake Orion Review".

George Neal died of a heart attack in 1946.  Aurora, determined to carry on the newspaper tradition, continued to publish and edit the paper, and to live in this house.  She hired Hamiln W. Robinson from Kansas City, Missouri to assist her.  They were married in 1947.

Since the death of Aurora, the home has been fortunate to have caring owners.  The lovely porch was the site of a full military style wedding in the 1990's and has a reputation for its immaculate yard and gardens.  The current owners continue to care for this home, one of the most beloved in the village. 


  1. How awesome to have this kind of information!! And photographs, wow!

    - Megan

  2. Your house is gorgeous! The thing that really caught my eye was the tree. It was so tiny and almost unnoticeable in the first picture. Now it's this huge fixture! Love it :)