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Fink’s rock returns to its family

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A five thousand pound rock that sat on West River Drive for more than a century is back with its family.

“It’s just a rock, but I think it’s pretty cool,” said Dennis Fink, a fifth generation of the Fink family that owned Nick Fink’s Bar on the corner of West River and Lamoreaux Drives in downtown Comstock Park. He said the rock sat on the corner by the bar, built in 1888, until the owners, his father Nick Fink V and his uncle Mike Fink, sold the bar to The Gilmore Group in 2008.

The rock was an iconic fixture in downtown Comstock Park. In the horse and buggy days a cavity in the rock was filled with water for horses, said Dennis. In more recent times, the rock “protected the building from hard turning semis,” he said. When his father and uncle sold the bar, his uncle asked Dave Rusche, a friend who owned an excavating company and was working on the White Pine Trail in downtown Comstock Park, to move the rock. It ended up on Mill Creek Avenue at the entrance to the Trail. “Dave had the equipment right down the road,” said Dennis. “My Uncle Mike asked him to move it. He did, turned it upside down, and it became part of the White Pine Trail/Mill Creek Avenue landscape.”

Dennis is a sort of keeper of the Fink family history and wanted the rock but didn’t know where it was. He contacted Rusche and ended up talking to Bob Homan at the Comstock Park Downtown Development Authority. The DDA had the White Pine Trailhead built to connect the Trail to downtown Comstock Park and were familiar with the rock’s history. “I realize that having left it on the White Pine Trail for nine or so years, I really had no rights to it,” Dennis said. “Bob was terrific. The DDA was understanding and agreed to let me get it back. “My neighbor has the proper equipment, and we moved it to my front yard,” he said. “Sitting alongside Mill Creek Avenue, it didn’t mean anything to anybody. Turned right side up, sitting at the end of my driveway, it means a little something to me.”

Dennis possesses another item that’s a part of both his family and Kent County history. His great grandfather Nick Fink II is credited with making the first recorded flight in Kent County. “He strapped box kite wings and a propeller to a pedal bike and flew off the top of Nick Fink’s Bar,” said Dennis. “Made the Evening Press June 24, 1905. I’ve got the bike (purportedly); Gerald R. Ford Airport has the wings.” Unfortunately, the flight was cut short when Fink II hit a telegraph pole and broke his collar bone.

Nicholas Fink I, an immigrant from Prussia, built the bar in 1888 naming it Riversite Hotel. Ownership was passed down through four generations of Nick Finks.


Front Page: Fink's rock on the corner by the Riversite Hotel, later named Nick Fink's.
Picture 1: Fink's rock in Dennis Fink's yard.
Picture 2: Fink's rock on Mill Creek Avenue at the entrance to the White Pine Trail