Francis A. Emmendorfer / Emmendorfer House
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 the Pontiac Motor Division in 1933.
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 1879 to 1863. Francis A. Emmendorfer and family owned this property from 1864 to the 1950s.