The 5 things I miss the most about Brighton

Share this:
12632906_10154613677576808_367746656_o
Uber’s Drugs was beloved for many reasons, including the $2 bills it gave out as change.

The last few decades have brought some great things to Brighton (Stillwater Grill, the Imagination Station, FlexTech High School) and a few not-so-great things (roundabouts, traffic, the Ugly Naked Guy).

So, as we think about all the things we’ve gained in Brighton, let’s also reflect on some of the things we’ve lost – and we’ve lost a lot. Great restaurants, stores, golf courses…

Whether you’ve lived in Brighton or just spent a lot of time there, you no doubt have your own list, but here’s mine.

THE 5 THINGS I MISS THE MOST ABOUT BRIGHTON

1. The Mill Pond Theater
The rickety old building on the banks of the Mill Pond was home to the Livingston Players for years. It had a wonderful charm to it, and I saw some wonderful shows there through the years. What I remember most about the Mill Pond Theater, though, is that it’s where my wife and I had our very first date. It was torn down to make room for some bathrooms (seriously), and I wasn’t the only one who shed some tears when the bulldozers showed up.

2. Uber’s Drugs
Yes, before there was a car service called Uber, there was a drug store called Uber’s (pronounced “Yoo-bers”). It was at the corner of Main Street and Grand River Avenue, and owner/pharmacist Bob Herbst was always on duty. Among its claims to fame: giving out $2 bills as change.

3. The Canopy
Brighton has seen plenty of elegant restaurants pop up in recent years (Ciao Amicis, Stillwater Grill, etc.), but nothing could hold a candle to the Canopy. You had Earl Williams at the piano, linen tablecloths, and steak to die for. People would come from all over Michigan just to eat at the Canopy.

4. Woodland Golf Course
Out where the Woodland Health Center is now was once a charming little golf course. There wasn’t really enough land here for an 18-hole golf course, but they somehow jammed all the fairways in. And you always ran the risk when you were driving down Grand River that somebody would bounce a golf ball off your car.

5. Burroughs Farms
It seems like Oak Pointe has been there forever, but alas, it isn’t so. That huge development in Genoa Township was once Burroughs Farms, a summer retreat for employees of the Burroughs Corporation. It had charming little cottages, picnic areas, hiking trails and a golf course. When I first started working at the Livingston County Press and Brighton Argus in 1983, we held our company picnic out there every summer. It was a cool, relaxing place.

So, what do YOU miss the most about Brighton?

Share this:
About Buddy Moorehouse 78 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

81 Comments

  1. I haven’t been to Brighton recently. But I do remember all if the great places you wrote about. I did grow up in Brighton. I remember the dime store. Going to the concerts at the Mill Pond, oh, and the Brighton Mall, and Brighton Cinemas. It isn’t the same anymore. Very congested. That is why we moved to Grand Blanc. It reminds me of the old Brighton.

  2. I just have to add:

    Who remembers Ice House Jeans—-in, of course, the old Ice House across from the Mill Pond next to Leland’s? And who remembers the Head Shop, in that tiny two-story building on Grand River immediately behind the Donut Shop and adjacent to the Canopy? Always rife with the scents of patchouli oil, marijuana and incense—–smells so unique to that era. If I smell any one or a combination of those scents today (all three would be, of course, a trifecta), I am immediately taken back. Given the state of the times we live in, I’m more likely to win the Irish Sweepstakes.

    • I remember the Ice House and my friend Glen Veno used to run it. Only place to get bell bottoms!

      • Yes! Who will ever forget bell bottoms! But isn’t this thread about those things we MISS? Kidding!

        BTW: Would you be related to Keith Hutchins? He was always one of my very favorite people. Truly nice guy.

  3. I’m coming to this way too late, as it seems this article, and the comments that followed, date back to January 2016—-and here it is May! As for me, I’ll always (with much fondness) remember:

    a) The Canopy….and Shirley Temples and little chocolate cakes for children on their birthdays.
    b) J.B.’s Brighton House….out east of town on Grand River, overlooking U.S. 23 where it intersects with
    I-96. Again, more Shirley Temples.
    c) While we’re out on the east end—-Bert’s Party Store, and Lakeview Roller Rink next door. God Bless
    dear Bert, a very kind man who, regrettably, was often ridiculed by some younger (and not so young)
    customers.
    d) The Brass Lantern Restaurant (which became the Cap ‘n’ Cork—-scene of many a student’s first
    alcohol ‘purchase’ (although they may have ‘purchased’ through a….middleman. “Hey, Mister, I lost my
    I.D. in a flood…..”
    e) The Nugget (my first ‘paycheck’ job in the early 70’s.
    f) The Tasty Freeze (my second ‘paycheck’ job, in the mid-70’s.) God Bless owner Jim Smith, who treated
    us employees to a day at Cedar Point every August. And to his wife Betty, owner of E. Smith Book-
    keeping and Answering Service, who employed me as well….in my THIRD paycheck job.
    g) Li’l Chef. I know, the food was not Michelin rated, but the place had a great vibe at 3:00 a.m. on
    Saturday or Sunday mornings.
    h) Carnivals behind Leland’s and out at Brighton Mall, where middle-school friends Carl, Tom and I would
    go to help set up and tear down the rides every summer. Ten dollars for four hours work! We were r
    rich!
    i) Coming home from school on Wednesdays, kicking back on the family room sofa to read the weekly
    Brighton Argus, followed by a nap until dinnertime. Heaven.
    j) Too many more memories. For that—-like pretty much everyone else here—-we’d have to get together
    over coffee or write our respective books.

  4. I miss “The Livingston Community News” published by the Ann Arbor News.I worked in their office downtown for 5 years. Mill Pond Concerts – “George Bedard and the Kingpins”, D&C Dime
    Store, The Canopy, Sammie’s Sail In, Brighton Wesleyan Church, the old one on Forth St.

  5. Can we stop hating on roundabouts already? They are simple and efficient. It’s always a shorter wait than the traffic light that used to be there.

  6. The Brighton Mall: the little KMart diner, the video games wedged between the Kmart and the Mall, the transfer T-shirt shop, the barber shop…the Brighton Cinema that had only two theaters.

  7. 1970’s – Little Skippers Drive In where I had my first job as a car hop, the skating rink owned by the Farmer family, Bert’s Party store, Bishop Lake primitive campground, and hanging out in Farmer Jacks parking lot! Pinball Alley, The Brass Lantern, and Cardona’s Pizza. Parties on “the hill” and at Reicks’ farm. Water skiing at Woodland Lake and of course movies at The Lakes Drive In Theater! Brighton was definitely a great place to grow up!

  8. Left Brighton in 1967. It was a wonderful place to grow up. Kids today don’t have any idea what they’ve missed. Walked everywhere or rode our bikes. Just had to be home by dark. Our parents never worried about us because someone in town always knew where we were. Miss the Lakes Drive Inn theater and the roller rink and especially the A&W and Dairy Queen. Really miss the D&C (my first real job) and Mr. Schmidt. Always looked forward to summer. Such good memories.

  9. I wish so much my Grandkids could live in old Brighton, and have the life I had growing up there, It was great could not have asked for a better place to grow up.

  10. I have been away from the area for 15 years I was born and raised around the area, and i lived with my dad in a little apartment right next to rr tracks downtown by mill pond.I just recently moved back. I have not been to Brighton yet sense I have came back tho and reading all of these comments makes me said because I loved all of the places that everyone is saying are gone! I’m alittle scared to go and see how different everything is there now. Lol

  11. Mt. Brighton, camping, the old football field, parades, bert’s (one eye), the drive in, old freinds

  12. Every time I hear it, I can’t help but believe “Night Moves” was inspired by a warm and rainy Brighton summer night. I miss most of what is listed above and to add a couple more……… Chilton Market by bicycle back in the 70’s was like arriving at an oasis in the middle of nowhere. “School clothes shopping” at Jarvis Menswear on main street is a memory from what seems like a hundred years ago. And Tuesday may be Prince Spaghetti day, but Wednesday will always be Brighton Argus day in my heart.

    • William Rice. I worked at Pat’s Restaurant, at Fabrini’s pizza and also at the D&C dime store. Fabrini’s had the best pizza ever.

      • Wow! You are truly a Brighton vet, Joann! Fabrini’s – Best Pizza and music. Pat’s Cafe – Best place to get organized for the night and finish the night with bacon and eggs!

  13. Most of these memories came after I left about 1962. I remember the old Bus Station, where 10 year old kids could smoke cigarettes and play pinball. Everybody was cool with that.

  14. Who could forget cruising the Brighton Mall circuit, and trying to make a left out of Cap n Cork without getting caught by the police.

  15. Wow, what a great walk down memory lane! We moved to Brighton in 1970 and I have so many memories of that small town before it turned into just another Detroit suburb when I went off to college in the mid-80s. I miss Sefa’s, Uber’s Drugstore, The Donut Shop, The Canopy and the little beverage shop behind it that sold Charles Chips in the big tin cans and Black Jack gum. I miss Cardona’s pizza, the cider mill out on Dorr Rd. near Grand River and the restaurant at the golf course on the lake nearby that served THE best battered shrimp! I miss the old Brighton Mall, especially the Music Box (and the sound of flipping through albums), Stroh’s ice cream parlor (blue moon ice cream), and the the Coney Island next door (for some reason, I loved their tacos as a kid, which they made with Kraft Singles cheese!). Oh, and picking out candy, nail polish, and Lip Smackers at Perry Drugs. I miss hanging out at Bishop Lake and the drive-in movie theater in the summers and cruisin’ up and down the strip. I miss Mexican Jones restaurant (and their addictive salsa and chips) and the Towne Club pop store (green all the way!). I remember taking ballet classes in that sea foam green building down by the Mill Pond with Mrs. Loveland and Mrs. Shiposh. I miss coconut cream pie at The Nugget and fish and chips at Lil’ Chef. I remember the thrill of drive-in dining at A&W (back when they still used REAL ice cream in their root beer floats); and does anybody else remember how they used to serve their grilled cheese sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper with hamburger dill pickle chips? After school when the weather was nice we usually stopped at Dairy Queen or Ice Cream Junction. Gosh, just so many great memories of a wonderful place to grow up. 🙂

  16. I miss Delucas Soda Shop, Western Auto, Tasty Freeze, D& C, Stop and Go and especially A&W

  17. Just five? The Lakes Drive-In Theater; Haller’s at Grand River and Main; A & W; the Grand Theater; Burroughs Farm.

  18. The green building behind the millpond playground. Mom was a girl scout leader there for a while and dad had started a church there for a short time. Later Dad taught metaphysics classes at Brighton high. But my favorite thing, coming from a family of 7, was collecting bottles and cans or making money and telling Daddy, lets go to the Nugget and get a Grilled Pecan roll and a cup of coffee, My treat! Just to have our Daddy-Son alone time in such a big family, Made me feel like such a big shot treating Dad as a child.

  19. Brighton Coins, Mr TV, Olde Brighton Video, Bucemis, the OG Meijer, Can Man, the stairs next door to Millers Sports, Griss Mill, Next Generation, the OG Krogers, Dandy, Dairy Mart, want more ?

    • next generation & “first class” to be exact, the original vic n bob’s, coopers, mr. ed’s, buckey’s…

      • the OG Post Office, Music Box, Discs & Tapes, Erb Lumber, that dance club in what was after Walters and now some Sports Shop, Mr Eds rival across the street, Singer Press, the tunnel that goes from Mill Pond dam under Main St and dumps you off on the other side,

  20. I still enjoy eating at the Yum Yum Tree, but also enjoyed its previous location out east of town on Grand River. Never could get enough of Pac Man and the other arcade games.

  21. Ubers Laundromat was my first job, and on payday, I would go next door to the drugstore and get my paycheck in a small key size brown envelope handed to me over the Pharmacy counter. , I worked at the King’s Table, loved the Mill Pond, Had a great time working at Mt Brighton, I could see it from our kitchen window, and on bad snowy nights, my big brother would take me to work on our snowmobile and pick me up after work. I miss everything about Brighton, I wish sometimes I could turn back the clock and go back to 1980 and do alot of things over a much different way. And still be there instead of Florida.

  22. Oh the memories…Val’s Pizza, A & W, Mr. Schmidt at the D & C dime store, high school football games at the school on the hill, Dino’s Pizza, full service Clark gas station, Ratz Hardware, Birdsongs, BJ’s fabric store, Leland’s drug store, the Nugget restaurant, cruising town and knowing everyone

  23. Well Rollison’s is still there, but I miss the Drive Inn too. We used to meet our friends on the corner of Main and Grand River. We had Leland’s and Walkers and Bargain Center and DeLucas and I miss Island Lake Recreation Area (like it was) and walking to the old Roller Rink and Penny Arcade.
    I also miss angle parking on Main Street and the Lumber yard and Parmenters. I could go on all day.

  24. remember at Burroughs Farms dances the last song of the night was always “theme from a summer place”. If you wanted that last dance with a girl who caught your eye, you had to go for it now or regret it later.

  25. I miss so much. Biking to Woodland Lake and swimming and hanging out on the little tiny beach, four wheel driving on the other side of the lake. There was a little road far down main street that lead to an old chimney where we would go and chill. Of course all of downtown, and all the little pockets of hidden places that high schoolers find to have fun.

  26. When my father moved us here from Bay City in 1974 I was crushed – today I miss that small town – and yes Maria I too miss the Brighton Argus….

  27. Everyone seems to be forgetting Sammy’s Sail Inn and Periwinkles. Uber Drugs was my first job. Stuffing the Sunday news and scooping Guernsey ice cream in the summer. Miss the small town feel of Brighton.

  28. Uber’s parking lot was the place to hang out on weekends,to find out where the parties were. And to catch up with friends. Cardona’s was the best place to hear rock bands play not to mention the pizza and bread sticks were amazing.

  29. Mexican Jones restaurant (where I had my first job); Cardona’s pizza for sure, and The Nugget – spent so many afternoons there with my friends (helped that some of them worked there), and Yum Yum Tree definitely holds a special place in my heart – there just wasn’t any better place to get ice cream. Going out back behind the old movie theater where there used to be – can you believe it? – FIELDS! I haven’t lived in Brighton since 1986, but I miss it all the time, despite the changes. It was a great place to grow up. Thanks for the memories.

    • Buckys 4th of July carnival behind the Main Street emporium, the Music box with the lady with long hair!! The k-marts red-cherry slurpees and fresh popcorn, the barber shop next to the movie ticket window…. Now that’s OLD SKOOL BRIGHTON❤️

  30. All of the above, lived there during the sixties, especially loved By-Pass, Ted Nugent and Amboy Dukes played there

  31. I miss every single thing that everyone else has posted. I miss going to the corner of Main St. across from the ‘Pink Hotel’ on my bike and get donuts at the Bakery to take home to my folks. Everyday at 4 or 5 my mom sent me on my bike to the IGA located on Main St. to buy something she needed for dinner. I miss shopping at Lelands for the pretty glass items they always displayed. I miss going into the Maryjo shop and buying a slip that was in a drawer lined with tissue or Jarvis for a article of clothing for my Dad or husband. Everything thing on main street, it was wonderful. I was sorry my children missed after game dances every home game. (I didn’t miss walking to school in the winter) but missed stopping at the D&C to get penny candy from Mrs. Parker who always chatted with you and made you feel good. I miss Uber’s specials when it was on Main Street, I miss the fireworks, we could sit in the middle of our street and watch them from home! I miss walking down the street and knowing the entire town! My heart was crushed when they tore down the A&W and the turn around just over the rr tracks. Loved Burroughs and Mr. Prieskorn! Yes he was great. There have been so many changes some good but some not. We were a Rockwell village that has turned into a city. Have been here 62 years and happy to have raised my family here. When I have trouble falling asleep I don’t count sheep I get back on my bike and remember all the cracks in the sidewalks, thought they would never be repaired and now some of them are gone.

  32. Burrough’s Farms, Cardona’s, Uber’s. There was another little pizza place, a stand alone on grand river, not far from Main St we used to hang out in the 80’s????

  33. Cardona’s Pizza, the OLD Brighton Mall–Grant’s, then K-mart, Grundy’s Hardware, Dancer’s, The Music Box, Stroh’s Ice Cream, Perry Drugs (now Rite-Aid), Farmer Jack, the 3 cinema movie theater where Best Buy is now located, downtown, the OLD Yum Yum Tree (on Grand River), Ewing Furniture, Uber’s Drug, Sefa’s, The Donut Shop, Schafer’s House of Music (by the RR tracks), King Drugs, Bucky’s, D&C. I could go on and on and on. And I’m not sure all of the NEW things are improvements. 🙁

  34. I miss ice skating on the mill pond, Leland’s Drug Store, the carnival in the Leland’s parking lot over July 4th, Midnight Madness shopping downtown where you saw EVERYONE from Brighton, A&W drive-in next to Dairy Queen and the D&C store.

  35. I miss: The Yum Yum Tree in its original location (east on Grand River) because it had an arcade! * The Nugget was where we went after prom, senior night, football games (along with Big Boy). * Bucky’s Pharmacy when it was still on Main Street for Slush Puppies and D&C for “penny” candy. * The Grist Mill on Main St., home of my first non-babysitting job. * The Donut Shop and Coney Island that was behind it. *sigh*

    Ah, the good ol’ days.

  36. I miss:
    The Yum Yum Tree in its original location (east on Grand River) because it had an arcade!
    The Nugget was where we went after prom, senior night, football games (along with Big Boy).
    Bucky’s Pharmacy when it was still on Main Street for Slush Puppies and D&C for “penny” candy.
    The Grist Mill on Main St., home of my first non-babysitting job.
    The Donut Shop and Coney Island that was behind it.

    Ah, the good ol’ days.

  37. The dances at Burrough’s Farms in the summer(late 60’s)! I remember having my mom take me there to sign up for my pass to get in. Also Country Cupboard – it was a cute little soda shop/gift store on Main St. Loved to hang out there after school. I would miss the bus on purpose just to hang out in town until mom could come and pick me up.

  38. Always remember Chuck Uber owned the Drug store before Bob Herbst. It was on Main St before it moved next to the A&P in about 1960. So much has been lost, where do I begin?

  39. I miss cardona’s too! The Canopy!
    Bucky’s was good too! Swimming at Burroughs beach (if you knew someone to get you in), now Oak point Marina. The old farm which is now the front of Pine Creek! It was cool when Santa came in by boat on the mill pond before the tridge blocked him!

  40. Man, there are some great ones in these comments. Makes me want to take the time machine back to 1988…

    • Mr. Moorehouse,
      A few years ago, I believe you posted an old video of someone traveling trough Brighton ca. Early 1980’s (I’m guessing from Hilton rd/Flint rd area to Grand River/Brighton Lake rd area, any possibility of posting it again?

    • I miss D&C & Mr. Schmidt. Emma Jean, his wife, taught piano to my kids. They were my neighbors. They raised 7 (or 9) boys in that house! Both gone, now. So is Rich Parsons, who ran Brighton Coins. We always thought the lady at The Music Box looked like Angelica Houston! I miss K-Mart! I moved here in 1978 BECAUSE of the small town feel, which is, sadly, being steadily eroded.

  41. I miss farmer jacks it was my first job. Blockbuster front row video. Hollywood video. Cardonas. The music man downtown

  42. I miss farmer jacks that was my first job. Also all the video stores. Front row Hollywood. Blockbuster. Also miss cardonas or how ever you spell it

  43. Thanks for this! My uncle was Chuck Uber and this was his store. Bob was always so kind to everyone. This made me miss home just a little bit 😉

    • Hi, Susie Uber was a ballet teacher for me when I was 5. The class was in your uncle’s house on the hill. He was a great guy. My mom owned Brighton Beauty Salon behind the Marine Bar.

  44. I miss Sefa’s, which stood next door to Uber’s. They had the best meats, especially pot roast, and good bakery bread. I miss the small, friendly store. Also miss the free ice cream cone Uber’s gave on during dollar days downtown. And I miss the D&C with the creaky floors and candy counter, a treat for my little ones on occasion.
    I also miss the old Burroughs restaurant and the par 3 course. We lived right across the road, and our kids learned to golf on that par 3 and took lessons. Every day in the summer my son and 3 other grade school buddies would throw their clubs over their shoulders, and ride their bikes to the golf course. They could park their bikes behind the snack shop, play 18 holes, eat a hot dog and play 18 more! LOL Kept them busy ALL day and out of trouble. Just to mix it up, they would play a round only using 3 clubs, like a putter, 7 iron and driver. Son ended up with a 5 handicap.
    I do remember the Canopy. It seems to me we climbed a flight of stairs to the fancy dining room. Is that right? It was for special occasions, like anniversaries and birthdays. What stands where The Canopy was? Also miss The Periwinkle restaurant, where Brighton Bar & Grill stands.

    • Karen- the Canopy is now offices of Preview Properties Real Estate. They put huge plate-glass windows in the front with unattractive metal, modernistic looking awnings on them, and took the canopy entry away. Soon as I saw that happen, I thought they ruined the look of that building. When my parents were young marrieds, they’d drive all the way to Brighton from Detroit to eat there- BEFORE 96 existed!

  45. I miss the raft regatta down the Mill Pond on the Fourth of July. It always broke down into a massive water gun and water balloon fight. I still remember Harry Davis and Bill McCririe getting soaking wet in the middle of a water fight. Come to think of it, I really miss Harry Davis and Bill McCririe.

    • My dad was in that crew with Bill and Harry. Those were some fun summer celebrations!

  46. I miss the By-Pass teenage Nightclub that used to be next to the old Krogers! I worked there and loved being with all of my friend’s listening to all the bands that came out from the Detroit area. The non-alcoholic drinks were a blast and it was a safe place for teens to gather and hang-out!

  47. When the kids were little and you walked with them in the 4th of July parade (Girl Scouts, decorated bikes, etc.), you waved at friends all the way down Main St. Now when you walk 95% of the spectators are stangers. Missing the small community feeling. Moved here in 1976.

  48. I miss the Mill Pond before those ugly bridges were built, which ruin the view up the river. I miss all the open space that has been carpeted with “development,” (subdivisions and “big box” stores). I miss the roads that used to be narrower…because widening roads invites even more traffic. I miss the smallness of Brighton.

  49. I miss the Mill Pond before those ugly bridges were built, which ruin the view up the river.
    I miss all the open space that has been carpeted with “development,” (subdivisions and “big box” stores).
    I miss the roads that used to be narrower…because widening roads invites even more traffic.
    I miss the smallness of Brighton.

  50. The Mill Pond Theater was a major part of my life in the 80s. Acting, directing, producing and serving on the board of directors with the Livingston Players for several years. In 1985, I produced the last hurrah for the pavilion at Burrough’s Farms; a dinner theater production of Everybody Loves Opal by the Livingston Players. Not long after, the pavilion burned to the ground and the bulldozers started clearing the way for Oak Pointe. That dinner theater production was also the first date with my wife and we’ve been together more than 30 years now. We were married at the gazebo on the Mill Pond in 1986. We enjoyed many great dinners at the Canopy and a few rounds of golf at Woodland Hills. Thank God traffic was so much lighter on Grand River in those days or I would have been guilty of breaking a few windshields. We moved to Massachusetts in 1988 and returned to the area in 2009. Imagine returning after 21 years away and all of these things are gone. BTW, I may be the only one, but I will miss the old gazebo when it’s gone. Thanks for the memories Buddy!!!

Comments are closed.