Fenton High School literally sits today on land that used to be a dairy farm in the city of Fenton.
In the 1960s, Yates and Mary Hunt, local dairy farmers since 1919 on what is now West Shiawassee Avenue, were approached by members of the Fenton School Board to sell 125 acres of their farm for a building site for a proposed new high school and athletic campus.
At the time, their farm housed a successful herd of Holstein cattle that sold its milk to Sealtest Dairy, and grew crops like hay, corn and silage to feed the animals.
Lifelong residents of the area, the Hunt family also valued education and knew that Fenton was growing and needed a proper space for its schools.
They sold the property to Fenton schools for a fraction of what they could have sold it for to a developer — as a gift to the future of education in Fenton.
Their shared vision for a brand new state-of-the-art high school and athletic grounds became a reality when school resumed in the fall of 1969 at the brand new $5.6-million campus.
Fifty years later, fifth generation farming is still in the lifeblood of the Hunt family.
Seventy acres remain in the hands of three of the grandchildren of the original owners, including Ronald B. Hunt M.D., Bernadine (Hunt) Saxe J.D. and Bethany (Hunt) Whetstone. Their dad, Robert Hunt, was in charge of the farm until he died on Sept. 9, 2015 at age 100.
The other grandchildren of Yates and Mary live nearby, including Berniece Starrs in Linden, Richard Hunt in Linden and Rodney Hunt in Grand Blanc, Russell Hunt Ph.D and Marsha Hunt of Detroit.
Half of the remaining Hunt property is now contracted to the state of Michigan in a Right-to-Farm agreement under its Farm Preservation Program. While it was a controversial issue with the city of Fenton at the time the Hunt family applied for this designation, the issue was resolved and the Hunt family prevailed.
The farm is now in the process of being certified for organic farming. The landowners lease out 25 tillable acres to a gentleman farmer who grows organic hay. A greenhouse on the property now grows organic heirloom tomatoes, raspberries and blackberries.
The sale of some of their farm property to Fenton Area Public Schools remains a huge source of pride for this local family.