Preservation Month at Cranberry Lake Farm in Oakland Township

Celebrating May is Preservation month at Cranberry Lake Farm (CLF) Historic District and the Oakland Township Historic District Commission (HDC) has been working hard restoring the seventy-five year old apple orchard. Aerial photographs from the 1940s of the farm show the array patterns of a plotted apple orchard. Over the years, unfortunately, many of these trees have been lost. After receiving a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to acquire the services of landscape architect Brian Devlin, of Nagy Devlin Land Design, the HDC is following the conceptual landscape masterplan to begin the orchard restoration with tree planting, laneways, native grasses, and fencing.

Oakland Township Orchard

Oakland Township Orchard

Last fall 2016, over a hundred invasive Thorny Black Locust trees were cleared from the orchard, leaving the viable remaining historic trees uncovered. After much research, the HDC has selected a variety of heirloom apple trees including Courtland, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and Jonathan. Twenty-five apple trees were purchased from local plant nurseries Piechnik’s Greenhouse and Wojo’s Greenhouse and on May 1, the trees were planted into the landscape.

The apple orchard restoration brings us closer to interpreting the farms 1940s agricultural and Gentleman’s Farming history. HDC Commissioner Parkinson explained, “To farm requires income that supports the farmer, while a gentleman’s farm is supported by the gentleman.” Gentleman’s Farms became increasingly popular in the United States by the first half of the 20th century.

During this time, Howard A. Coffin, a United States Representative and Detroit businessperson, and his family used the farm as a scenic summer retreat where he cultivated crops and raised game for leisure and sport.

The orchards also help support the local honeybees that are an economical and reliable option for pollinating most crops and an important pollinator for apples in North America.

Beekeeping in Oakland Township

Beekeeping in Oakland Township

Enjoying the orchards is easy. Bring a picnic lunch out, come for a hike, and relax with the scenery of historic farm buildings. CLF hosts free beekeeping programs throughout the summer months beginning in May and the fall event, “Down on the Farm,” is scheduled for October 7, 2017 and offers hayrides and pumpkin painting. Please visit the HDC page at for more information.

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