Celebrating African-American History In Ann Arbor

Dating back to the Underground Railroad, Ann Arbor boasts a rich and vibrant history for African-Americans. A wonderful piece about this time in Ann Arbor’s history is written by Grace Shackman and can be found here.

There are many African-Americans that created their own piece of history in Ann Arbor. For instance, you can read about Ann Arbor’s first African-American mayor, Albert H. Wheeler, first African-American teacher and later principal at Northside Elementary, Harry Mial and his wife, Joetta Mial, Huron High School's first female African-American principal.

O.Herbert Ellis, who passed away last year is notable for being the first African-American to serve on and to chair the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. You can read more history and the individuals that created it here.

Ann Arbor responds to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

March after MLK assassination

In the days following the assassination, Ann Arbor held a memorial at Hill Auditorium and Ann Arbor News photographers snapped dozens of photos of townies and students participating in marches and peaceful demonstrations. Here they are, for the first time, from the Oldnews archive.

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Halloween ClownHalloween Clown

Don’t look now, Ann Arbor, but just in time for Halloween, we’ve unearthed a few frightening photos from our Oldnews vault.

Did you know Ann Arbor had a Haunted Tavern? Or that a roving band of Devil Dogs terrorized Tree Town in the late 1930s?

In 1945, a pirate, some clowns and...a singing cornstalk(?) took over the former WPAG radio station at Main and Liberty, and in 1952 Ann Arbor Civic Theatre conjured up this disturbing scene during its production of The Spider.

We've also exhumed ample evidence that witches, goblins and other monster mites haunted the Burns Park neighborhood in 1951 and 1952. Similar creatures appear in a 1957 JCC Halloween Parade. And in 1964, this vampire stalked Art Fair booths.

So click if you dare, Ann Arbor. You can browse all things Halloween or search the past at Oldnews - your gateway to Ann Arbor's hair-raising history.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Salk!

Dr. Jonas SalkDr. Jonas Salk

In honor of Dr. Jonas Salk's 100th birthday, we've just posted a few photographs and articles from our archives celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Jonas Salk, the American medical researcher and virologist who spent time at the University of Michigan doing critical research on the influenza virus before inventing the first successful polio vaccine.

On April 12, 1955, the vaccine was declared to be safe and effective and within weeks was being shipped around the world.

Middle Earth Rotates Out of the University Scene: AADL Talks To Owner Cynthia Shevel

Long, long ago in a galaxy known as the '60s, Ann Arbor's first head shop, Middle Earth , opened in a 2nd floor walkup on Liberty Street and then moved to its iconic location on South U.

Owner Cynthia Shevel sat down with Old News last year to talk about the history of Middle Earth, how it changed over the years and the challenges independent shops face in Tree Town.

Cynthia announced the closing of Middle Earth yesterday saying that with the closing of the Selo/Shevel Gallery a few months back, she and longtime partner Elaine Selo will begin a new phase of their lives.

Falling Water Books & Collectibles to Close

Falling Water on AshleyFalling Water on Ashley

The owners of one of Ann Arbor's signature stores, Falling Water Books & Collectibles, just announced they will be closing after 26 years. Here's a 1988 article and photograph (left) from the store's grand opening in July of that year. Falling Water was first located at 318 S. Ashley St., and later moved to Main St.

Lurie Terrace Celebrates 50 Years

On a cold and windy October 9, 1964, a small group of speakers and community members gathered in front of the new senior citizen apartment high-rise, Lurie Terrace, to celebrate its completion. No one was more instrumental in bringing Lurie Terrace to completion than Shata Ling. Mrs. Ling founded the Ann Arbor Senior Citizens Guild in 1956 and worked tirelessly on behalf of seniors throughout her active career in Ann Arbor. Lurie Terrace was named in honor of Mrs. Ling's mother, Ann Przzan Lurie.

Lurie was one of the first affordable senior housing projects proposed in the U.S. In 1961 a site on W. Huron was selected and demolition of four homes began. Bricks from the Lorin Mills House were used to construct the patio at Lurie. Designed by local architect James H. Livingston the building featured twin Pentagon towers. The first resident to sign a lease at Lurie Terrace came from a family with a long history in Ann Arbor, Pearl McOmber.

From the beginning, Lurie Terrace emphasized a vibrant and varied lifestyle for seniors with a workshop, a plant conservatory, small dining halls, library, men's club, even an in-house "Newsboy".

Lurie was not without controversy and in February, 1982, three years after a woman was denied admission because she was handicapped, the Michigan Court of Appeals struck down Lurie's residency requirements that prohibited handicapped persons. Over the years, Lurie developed programs and social events that aimed at expanding horizons of all seniors in their community of apartments. Happy Birthday Lurie Terrace!

A Date Which Will Live In Infamy

No not that date.

Sept. 1, 2007 is the day that the lowly Mountaineers of Division I-AA Appalachian State came to Ann Arbor and laid low the mighty Wolverines of the University of Michigan, 34-32 in the home opener.

Ann Arbor News sportswriter John Heuser wrote: “It may be the biggest upset in college football history, a Division I-AA team from the foothills of North Carolina wrecked Michigan’s season opener and made national headlines, shocking the Wolverines in Michigan Stadium.” Until then, no Division I-AA team had defeated a ranked Division I-A opponent since the inception of I-AA in 1978.

Fans and football prognosticator alike were wondering, “What just happened.” Great things were expected the Maize and Blue, who entered the season ranked No. 5 in preseason polls. The game with Appalachian State was a charity match, to give the little guys some national exposure and give the home team an easy victory. UM star running back Mike Hart was stunned, “When you lose to a team like a Division I-AA team, how can you go for national championship in Division I.”

The News headline said it all, “One and done.”

Fans were livid, angry at coach Lloyd Carr. One fan, Cam Swift of Grand Rapids said, “They obviously didn’t prepare the kids for the game. I think it’s time for Lloyd to go. We’ve had too many disappointments under him.” One fan quipped. “Lloyd Carr is an inspiration to me and many other Ohio State fans.” Jim Carty also opined in his column that Carr was losing his touch as a coach. Despite the final score, Mike Hart had an excellent game. After missing most of the second quarter with a bruised hip, he returned to run for 131 second-half yards and two touchdowns. He put his team ahead with a 54-yard run with 4:36 to play and finished with 188 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.

In Boone, N.C., Appalachian State students were dancing the streets. They grabbed a goalpost and dragged it down Main Street. One senior said, “This is my humble opinion: This is the biggest thing to happen in Boone.

News football writer John Heuser gave the team a failing report card with Fs in defense, coaching and overall. The next week, the LOSS was still the news when the Wolverines were about to face the Oregon Ducks and Ducks fans were quacking about their improved hopes for a victory. And what a victory it was. The Ducks added insult to injury by beating the Wolverines, 39-7.

This Saturday, UM plays the Mountaineers in another home opener. This time they hope it won’t be, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “déjà vu all over again.”

The Monuments Men Revisited

The Monuments Men, the movie with George Clooney and Matt Damon, was based on the book The Monuments Men : Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history by Robert M. Edsel.

The real Monuments Men were a group of men and women from thirteen nations, most of them volunteers, who were museum directors, curators, art scholars and educators, artists, architects, and archivists. These mostly middle-aged family men, walked away from successful careers into the epicenter of the war, risking—and some losing—their lives. They raced against time in order to save the world’s greatest cultural treasures from destruction at the hands of Nazi regime.

Two of these brave men lived among us quietly for decades, one, Charles Sawyer was previously blogged about here, the second was Ralph Hammett.

Professor Hammett taught in the architecture department at U of M starting in 1931, with a hiatus to join the army in 1943, and retired from the University in 1965. His work as one of the Monuments Men and a noted architect will be forever remembered in Ann Arbor having designed some homes as well as buildings such as an addition to the Ann Arbor (then Women's) City Club on Washtenaw, the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church parish hall and chapel, the Lloyd Douglas Memorial Chapel, and the Lutheran Student Center. He also designed the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Springfield, Illinois. He was named “Architect of the Year” in 1957 by the Michigan Society of Architects. Hammett died in 1984. You can read Old News articles about him here. There is also an extensive website created by his grandson here.

Check out that newfangled voting machine!

Voting Machine Demonstration, March 1942

On your way to the voting booth today, consider what passed for cutting-edge voter technology in Tree Town back in March 1942.

Oldnews has over 200 articles and photos of past Elections in Ann Arbor and 160 that reference past Ann Arbor Mayors, including this one of former Mayor Cecil O. Creal taking the oath of office - with his left hand - 55 years ago.

Syndicate content