Posts of interest to local history buffs, written by local history buffs!

Winter: Good Season for Plays

Theater has deep roots around here, as Grace Shackman chronicles in her Ann Arbor Observer article about the old Whitney Theater. Today we continue to enjoy a lively drama scene; this weekend (Feb. 27-28), at least three stage productions are running:
1) It Came from Mars! a screwball comedy about a group of radio actors terrified by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast, playing at Performance Network. Read a review.
2) Gravity, spotlighting the secret life of Isaac Newton, at Purple Rose in Chelsea.
3) Cheaper by the Dozen, based on the book by Frank Gilbreth, at Riverside Arts Center.
Why not pick a drama, style your hat, and head out?

Ice Skating and Winter: A high-performance combination

Ice skating has a long, fascinating history in this area -- and the allure continues today. Earlier this month, U-M students Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates were headed to the national figure skating competition in Spokane, the Ann Arbor Observer reported. To see a dicussion with Samuelson, Bates, and other skaters, check out our DVD The Life of a Figure Skater: Local Ice Dance Medalists Discuss National and International Competition.

Brewed in Ann Arbor

Jan1992Jan1992

With another brewery set to open, this seems like a good time to reflect on the history of drinking and brewing in Ann Arbor. Local historian Grace Shackman has written about the old Ann Arbor Brewing Company on 4th Street and the once-popular Court Tavern. And did you know that an old West Side bar once stood on Bach school's playground? You can feast on several other articles detailing the history of drinking and dining in Ann Arbor...and while you're at it, why not raise a toast to Ann Arbor's Lost Eateries?

AADL Productions Podcast: Lola Jones and Carol Gibson

Lola Jones and Carol Gibson are well-known to anyone familiar with Ann Arbor history. Over the past 30 years they have sought out and documented the history of the African American experience in Ann Arbor through a series of projects under the moniker Another Ann Arbor; it is largely through their work that the Ann Arbor African American story is a part of our shared community identity. Lola and Carol stopped by the library to talk with us one day about the work they have done over the years and where they are headed next. They shared with us some of the interesting people and events they have learned about and brought to the community in their television program, their documentaries, and their book.

You can now watch one of their documentaries online at aadl.org in our video collection. A Woman's Town was produced in 1991 and tells the story of Ann Arbor through the voices of prominent African American women.

Attachment Size
AADL_Productions_Podcast-Lola_Jones_Carol_Gibson.mp3 30.8 MB

Preserving Your Photographic Heritage

Photo Restoration

How can you preserve and protect precious photographs so that memories may last for future generations? Learn how to protect your personal mementos with local experts. Dianna Samuelson of the Bentley Historical Library will explain how to preserve and restore photographs, while George Borel Jr. of Huron Camera Shop will give information on what can be done digitally to repair photos. Get a head start by checking out these books on photography and some on digital preservation.

Join us Wednesday January 13, 2010: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room for Preserving Your Photographic Heritage.

A century ago: Christmas in Ann Arbor

aug1993aug1993

On Christmas, 1909, the staff of Fred Hoelzle's butcher shop worked all night cutting fresh meat for their customers' holiday celebrations. (Click on the photo for a larger view.) Read more about the shop and Metzger's restaurant in our digital collection of Then and Now columns from the Ann Arbor Observer.

The Original Green Machines: Electric Trolleys of Washtenaw County

trolleytrolley

In the 1890s, electric mass transportation flourished in Washtenaw County, yet suddenly became extinct after only a few decades. What made this mode of transportation so popular and why did it die so quickly? Find out when authors H. Mark Hildebrandt and Martha Churchill join us to discuss their new book, 'Electric Trolleys of Washtenaw County' on Wed. Dec. 2nd, 7 p.m., at the Downtown Library. This event will include a book signing and books will be on sale courtesy of Nicola's Books.

Forest Hill Cemetery Interpretive Tours

Founded in 1857, Forest Hill is Ann Arbor's oldest cemetery, rich in history and remarkably colorful this time of year. Indeed, it's a perfect time for an interpretive tour of the graveyard with local historian Wystan Stevens, who leads groups through the grounds with stories of Ann Arbor's history every Sunday from Oct. 4 - Nov. 8 starting at 2pm. Be sure to catch him this time around, for Stevens will end his popular 30 year tradition this year. The tours are $10 for adults and free for children, and they begin at the cemetery gate on Observatory, north of Geddes. Additional information is available at 734.662.5438. For a further glimpse into the lore of Michigan's past, try the books Ann Arbor Area Ghosts, and Ghost Towns of Michigan.

Now online: The Signal of Liberty newspaper

Signal of Liberty issueSignal of Liberty issue

Take a step back to the 1840s when a cord of hickory wood or "produce of every description" assured Ann Arborites a year's subscription to The Signal of Liberty--the voice of the Liberty Party in Michigan and the state's most prominent antislavery newspaper. Published in Ann Arbor above a shop on Broadway by Theodore Foster and Reverend Guy Beckley, whose home on Pontiac Trail was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, The Signal of Liberty brought Ann Arborites seven years of emotionally charged news from the many stories of slavery's outrages to the speeches of great statesmen and important national issues of the day, to more sobering local news, notices, and advertisements for dubious health cures. You can now browse The Signal of Liberty or search the full text online.

AADL Productions Podcast: Carol Mull and the Underground Railroad

Carol MullCarol Mull

A few days ago we spoke with Carol Mull, a local historian of the Underground Railroad. Carol talked about her upcoming book on the Underground Railroad in Michigan and her work with the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission. She also spoke about some of the gems she found in The Signal of Liberty, a 19th century abolitionist newspaper published in Ann Arbor. On Saturday, October 17, Carol will be on hand at the launch event for The Signal of Liberty online. A related bus tour of local stops on the Underground Railroad will take place Sunday, October 18 at 2:00.

Attachment Size
AADL_productions_podcast-Carol_Mull.mp3 12.30 MB
Syndicate content