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

Sidney Fine, who taught history at UM for 53 years, has died

Sidney FineSidney Fine

Beloved historian Sidney Fine, who taught at the University of Michigan for 53 years, died Tuesday at the age of 88. Professor Fine is thought to have held the longest active teaching career in UM history, teaching over 26,000 over the course of his career before he retired in 2001. Read more about Mr. Fine on wikipedia and his obituary in the Detroit Free Press.

The first piano in Ann Arbor

Liberty_AshleyLiberty_Ashley

(Submitted by Wystan Stevens)

This is the house where little Lucy Ann Clark (later Mrs. Judge James Kingsley) played the piano that made the Potawatomi Indians dance. (Her instrument was the first piano in Ann Arbor, and the first west of Detroit in Michigan Territory.) The site of this house is now the outdoor area of the Downtown Home and Garden store, on Ashley at Liberty. In the left background of the photo is a building on First Street with a lot of lettering on its walls. Can anyone make out what the lettering says. (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

"Sometimes when Miss Clark played, the Indians would lurk around the door and windows and some would dance on the strip of bare floor at the edge of the room that the carpet was not wide enough to cover." (From the Cornelia Corselius papers).

Corea/McLaughlin/Ann Arbor: Then and Now

Corea-McLaughlinCorea-McLaughlin

The University Musical Society and AADL invite you to participate in Then and Now: Community and Cultural Change from the Fusion Era to Today, an online exhibit in celebration of Ann Arbor’s community heritage from 1968-1975 and the return of Chick Corea and John McLaughlin to UMS on April 4. Both of these musicians have continually reinvented themselves over the years while maintaining an exceptional level of artistry and commitment to their music.

Help us to show Ann Arbor's parallel evolution in its cultural, musical, and community landscape. Do you have a photograph from that era or the present day that you’d like to share? We’d love to include it on our site. Go to pictureAnnArbor to find out how to submit your photographs online, or email AADL Productions at productions@aadl.org to arrange a time to submit your photographs in person.

City Council Minutes 1891-1930 Online

Ann Arbor City Council MinutesAnn Arbor City Council Minutes

Ever wonder how much things in Ann Arbor have changed in the last century? Find out what life was like through the eyes of the body that's overseen it all, the Ann Arbor City Council, with the new Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Minutes archive. This collection features searchable and browsable sets of council minutes from 1891-1930, letting you see 40 years of local issues and legislation. And for all you genealogists, council minutes also contain a wealth of information about the individual citizens of Ann Arbor, whether they were making a request, receiving a citation, or working for the city. Take a look and find out that Ann Arbor hasn't changed that much: we've got speed limits (7 mph in 1902), public transportation fare disputes, and pigs still aren't allowed to run through the streets.

What's next for the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit Project?

downtown_paneldowntown_panel

Listen in as local historians Ray Detter, Louisa Pieper and Grace Shackman talk about the origins, challenges and rewards of putting together the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibits Program. You'll hear about what's coming up (hint: books and corsets) and how our schools are planning to work the exhibit into the AAPS curriculum.

Seeding the Cloud

Have you ever been to the Bentley to research local history? It is quiet as a tomb and you have to wear these white cotton gloves if you want to handle the old photos. It can be intimidating but it's also pretty cool. The whole environment is so reverential that the experience can be nearly spiritual. I highly recommend checking it out.

If you don't want to make the trip and just want to sit around in your jammies checking out old photos of Ann Arbor, you can look at some of the Bentley collection online. The material is cataloged according to professional standards and the information is very useful. Which is great, unless you like to browse sites with a little more personality.

Michigan Turns 172!

Michigan is turning 172! On January 26 1837 Michigan entered the Union becoming the 26th state. Michigan has many beautiful natural attractions such as: The Great Lakes, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Mackinac Island and Tahquamenon Falls. Michigan was originally home to Native American tribes before the French settlers came. Michigan's largest city is Detroit aka the Motor City, Motown, Hockeytown or The D. Detroit is home of Defending Stanley Cup Champions the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, 1228887 Pistons and Lions. Our Capital is Lansing and this is the only state that is made up of two peninsulas. Michigan has also produced a number of renowned people such as Henry Ford, Gerald R Ford (raised in Michigan) Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine), Sam Raimi (producer), Thomas Edison and Stevie Wonder to name a few. For a more complete list click here.
Michigan is also home of Meijer, Better Made Potato Chips, Faygo and Kellogg Cereal. To learn more about the history of our state check out the local history room at the Downtown library. Happy Birthday Michigan!

News from the Ypsilanti Historical Society

Helen McAndrewHelen McAndrew

Join us at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd, Ypsilanti, MI) on Saturday, January 10, at 11:00 a.m. for the unveiling of an online archive of the Ypsilanti Historical Society's newsletter, Ypsilanti Gleanings. This event will include a demonstration of the site and a presentation on Ypsilanti history by Al Rudisill, President of the Ypsilanti Historical Society.

Lookback Time: The Detroit Observatory

observatoryobservatory

In Seeing In The Dark, author Timothy Ferris writes, "Peering far into space means looking deep into time gone by. This phenomenon, known as 'lookback time,' makes historians of stargazers." Historians and stargazers alike can enjoy a look back in time to 1854 by visiting the Detroit Observatory at 1398 E. Ann St. In its day, the Observatory housed the first large telescope constructed in the United States, for years the third largest refractor in the world. It was the training ground for many 19th century astronomers, saw the discovery of 21 asteroids and 2 comets, and remains the most important physical legacy of the University's early scientific preeminence. "I cannot speak of the Observatory without emotion," said former UM president Henry Tappan. "No one will deny that it was a creation of my own." (Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, MI)

Although the dome is currently not operational, rendering the telescope unusable, the Observatory was fully restored in 1998 and the astronomical instruments remain intact and operational. Read more about the Observatory's legacy and watch for upcoming open houses in conjunction with UM's winter theme semester.

New online collection profiles the founders of Ann Arbor

Henry FriezeHenry Frieze

AADL is pleased to present a new collection, The Ford Gallery of Ann Arbor Founders, based on the permanent exhibit located in the Michigan Theater. You can browse the exhibit panels, which include such topics as early settlers, women who made a mark on the community, and the people who made the parks. Click on any image for a larger view or "read this panel" for a text-only version. You can also browse all the founders by name and search the collection by keyword. The permanent exhibit was funded by the Ford Motor Company Fund, with the cooperation of the Michigan Theater and the Bentley Historical Library.

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