WATCH: Old home video lets you take a drive through Brighton in 1981

King Discount, an old store that stood tall in downtown Brighton in 1981.

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It’s time to hop into the Wayback Machine. You’re about to take a drive through Brighton in the year 1981.

And you won’t believe how cool this is going to be. This video quality isn’t the greatest, but you’re actually going to feel like you’re driving through Brighton in 1981.

By listening to a news broadcast on the radio, we’ve been able to pinpoint the exact date of this drive as May 1, 1981. Newly elected President Reagan had just been shot about a month before this video was taken, and the 52 American hostages held in Iran had been released about three months earlier.

And Brighton – as you’ll see – was much, much different than it is now.

If you grew up in Brighton, or if you live in the area now, you’re going to find this video to be quite fascinating. You’re going to be able to see exactly what Brighton looked like 37 years ago.

What happened on May 1, 1981, is that somebody took a video camera (they were pretty new-fangled contraptions back then) and started shooting video as the driver headed into Brighton.

The video begins on Hilton Road, near Woodland Lake. The driver then heads to Grand River Avenue, takes a left, and heads toward downtown Brighton. The video includes a stop at the Mill Pond as it drives down Main Street.

And nothing looks like it does today. You’ll see a few Brighton businesses that are still standing today and a whole bunch more that aren’t.

For anyone who was around Brighton in 1981, this is going to be an incredible drive down Memory Lane. You’re going to be able to once again drive past the Canopy, Sefa’s, King Discount and the Stop-N-Go.

How did this video become unearthed? Well, I came into possession of it about 10 years ago, when a guy in Fowlerville called and told me that he had it (I worked for the newspaper at the time). He transferred the video onto a DVD, and I just came across it this week.

So, enjoy through drive through Brighton on May 1, 1981!

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About Buddy Moorehouse 197 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.


  1. What a trip down Memory Lane! Moved to Brighton in 1971 and graduated from Brighton High in 1986. Went away to college and every time I came home to visit, Brighton had changed a little more. My folks finally moved away (to be closer to my family) in 2016. So many good memories from growing up there. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Moved to Hamburg/Brighton area in 1978. Friday, May 1,1981….. that’s when you could DRIVE through Brighton. I counted 4 to possibly 5 (North St?) traffic lights getting through town. Those were the days. Thanks for the memories.

  3. I was born in the white building to the left of the “STOP N GO” and raised in Brighton until 1978 when I joined the Navy. This video brings back so many great memories.

  4. This was the last year I lived in Brighton. I moved away after college. I used to work at Stop N Go, and at the McDonald’s. Wow – such a big difference now!

    • I moved from Brighton in 1969 I was10 1/2 didn’t go back until 2000 I can remember going to Sefa’s ,A&W, learning to ski at MT.Brighton, ice skating on the Mill Pond and other things my old house is still there just like it was when I left it (Rickett rd.) just a trip down memory lane but a good one for me…

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