Local History Photos

Israel and Olivia Hall in their Washtenaw Avenue mansion


Israel and Olivia Hall in their Washtenaw Avenue mansion

Olivia Hall shared the real estate interests of her husband, Israel. Concerned that the county fairgrounds with its horse racing track on Hill Street was a bad influence so close to the neighborhood school, she persuaded the Fair Association in 1890 to move the race track to her land at the back of the old Baldwin farm, past what would become Wells Street. She then subdivided the land between Hill and Israel Hall Avenue (later Cambridge) into blocks of residential lots.

now the site of U-M Ruthven Museums


People: Israel and Olivia Hall

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society


Advertisement for Hill's Opera House at Main and Ann.


Advertisement for Hill's Opera House at Main and Ann.

The city's first real theater was George D. Hill's Opera House, which opened on the corner of Main and Ann in August 1871 with The Spy of Shiloh, a local production recalling the Civil War.

In 1908, entrepreneur B. C. Whitney purchased Hill's Opera House, remodeled the theater, and added two stories to the building. In February Michigenda, Michigan Union Opera's first production, opened there to a packed house. Written and performed by students, using all-male casts including popular campus athletes, these annual extravaganzas were a great hit and soon took to the road, delighting alumni as far away as New York and Chicago.



Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society


Silas Douglass house


Silas Douglass house

Silas Douglass, lived in this home at 502 East Huron Street from 1848 until 1902.

located next to the First Baptist Church on East Huron Street


Places: 502 East Huron Street

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society


Eli Gallup


Eli Gallup

Hired as parks superintendent in 1919, he devoted the next 38 years to expanding and improving the city'ss park system. The city bought Barton, Argo, Dixboro, and Superior dams, along with their ponds and adjacent river banks—more than 945 acres—from Detroit Edison. Much of the Huron River corridor has since been developed into parkland, including the large park named for Eli Gallup.

Hey, were you looking for the Summer Game code? You found it! Enter GALLUP on your play.aadl.org player page for your badge.


People: Eli Gallup

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society


W. S. Butterfield


W. S. Butterfield

In 1927, local businessman Angelo Poulos announced he would add a movie theater to the new retail and office building he was planning on Liberty Street near campus. A "Shrine of Entertainment," the theater would be operated by W. S. Butterfield's Michigan Circuit of 75 movie theaters. Butterfield and Poulos hired architect Maurice Finkel to design what would become Ann Arbor's first and only "movie palace."


People: W. S. Butterfield

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society


George D. Gillespie


George D. Gillespie

Rev. Gillespie served as pastor of St. Andrew's from 1861 to 1875, when he became bishop of western Michigan. Under his leadership, the Episcopalians replaced their original frame church with the city's first stone church.


People: George D. Gillespie

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society


Hangsterfer's Hall


Hangsterfer's Hall

Hangsterfer's Hall, on the southwest corner of Main and Washington, was torn down in 1926 for a new Kresge Dollar Store building. Mongolian Barbecue is there today.

Bentley Image Bank: BL000817



Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society


Silas Douglass


Silas Douglass

Professor Douglass also founded the gas company and served as mayor. His home still stands next to the First Baptist Church on East Huron Street.


People: Silas Douglass

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society


Riverside Park


Riverside Park

It took Eli Gallup eight years to acquire from sixteen different owners the eight acres that would become Riverside Park. He developed the park for very little money, using WPA workers to clear away rubbish and old shacks.



Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society


Maurice Finkel


Maurice Finkel

In 1927, local businessman Angelo Poulos announced he would add a movie theater to the new retail and office building he was planning on Liberty Street near campus. A "Shrine of Entertainment," the theater would be operated by W. S. Butterfield's Michigan Circuit of 75 movie theaters. Butterfield and Poulos hired architect Maurice Finkel to design what would become Ann ArborÂ’s first and only "movie palace."


People: Maurice Finkel

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Image Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Historical Society