Fenton was first named Dibbleville after the first settler in the area, Clark Dibble, who moved there from New York in 1834. According to local legend, it was renamed Fenton as a result of an 1837 card game involving two men, William M. Fenton and Robert LeRoy. LeRoy Street, the city’s main street, was named for the loser.
The city’s original name survives as the name of one of Fenton’s neighborhoods. Fenton was incorporated as a village in 1863 and as a city in 1964. It was during the end of the 60’s decade, that Mayor Paul Bottecelli, owner and pharmacist of Fenton Drug, and the City Council decided to use Federal Urban Renewal funds to tear down three of the four original downtown business blocks. Urban Renewal, after many heated debates, came to a vote of the citizens of Fenton. Urban Renewal passed by a narrow margin.
Three of the four original downtown blocks of businesses were leveled, changing the original downtown landscape forever. After Urban Renewal, the number and variety of businesses decreased in the downtown section. Many businesses closed and a few moved out of the downtown area to other areas of town. Since the time of Urban Renewal, the importance of a downtown as a central core has resurrected. There are events throughout the year in the downtown.
In the summer, there is a Fourth of July Festival, a weekly Farmer’s Market, Taste of Fenton, and Art in the Park. During the December holiday season, the festivities include Jingle Fest and a New Year’s Eve celebration.
Call Ed Constable to find other great neighborhoods in the Fenton Area.