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

Census Records Explained

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Census records are an invaluable tool in genealogical research but they are a tool that presents challenges for both new and seasoned genies. The Geneaolgical Society of Washtenaw County will host a lecture by genealogical masterwonk Barb Snow on Sunday, Sept. 28, 1:30 p.m. at the St. Joseph Merch Education Center Auditorium. AADL has Census records on microfilm, remotely through Heritage Quest and online at the library through AncestryPlus.

New Exhibit at the Argus Museum

argus cameraargus camera

Come and see what a bunch of talented photographers can do with a vintage Argus, once the largest-selling American-made 35mm camera, first produced here in Ann Arbor. The exhibit, "Vintage Argus: Contemporary Images," is sponsored by the Ann Arbor Area Crappy Camera Club (A3C3), the Argus Museum, and the Michigan Photographic Historical Society (MiPHS) and is located in the original Argus Building (home of the Argus Museum) at 535 W. William St. The exhibit runs through October 12 and is open to the public 9-5 p.m. weekdays. Opening reception is Friday, September 12, 6-9 p.m.

Do You Own Property in a Local Historic District?

The Washtenaw County Department of Planning & Environment, The Washtenaw County Historic District Commission, and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network are offering a workshop titled Owning Property in Local Historic Districts: Benefits and Practice, featuring Kristine Kidorf, Owner of Kidorf Preservation Consulting. The workshop will cover the basics of local historic district commission processes, the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, and the 25% Michigan rehabilitation tax credit.

This workshop will be offered Saturday, September 6, 10:00am to 12:00pm at the Washtenaw County Library Learning Resource Center (LLRC), 4135 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48107. Please RSVP to: miltonpungm@ewashtenaw.org or (734) 222-6878.

Back to the New High School

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As Ann Arbor marks the opening of its newest high school, take a look at this 101-year-old photograph of the then-new Ann Arbor High School in 1907. It was the pride of Ann Arbor, with its attached Carnegie library, but as fate would have it everything but the library facade was torn down last year to make room for the soon-to-be North Quad dormitory. An earlier image of an Ann Arbor high school is this 1859 engraving from the Making of Ann Arbor collection.

True Confessions of an Ann Arbor Historian

History is boring. Local history is even worse. You must be a spectacular geek to be interested in, much less involved with, the local history scene.

Well, that might be true, but here I am anyway. I have loved this town for as long as I can remember and, like the people I love, I want to know Ann Arbor's whole story. That's all historians do. Fall in love with a place, person or era and find out all they can about it.

For example, what did Ann Arbor look like when she was a baby? How about as a teenager? I look at the book Historic buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan, by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg like an old family album. I study it and try to recognize something of the past in the town I know today. (FYI, if you click here you can look at this book online.)

I also like to hang around people who will tell me stories about when Ann Arbor was young. So imagine my delight when I heard that Kempf House is having a big ol' party in September. I imagine there will be plenty of folks there who would be more than willing to share a tale or two. There will also be food and beer so count me in!

See you there?

SEPTEMBERFEST

Date: Sun 7 Sep 2008
Time: 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location: Kempf House Museum Garden
Description: Beer and brats! Four flavors of beer from Arbor Brewing, brats on a bun with sauerkraut and mustard, hot pretzels baked specially by the ladies at Bethlehem Church, and ice cream and toppings from the Washtenaw Dairy - all for $40 ($30 for members)!
Contact: 734-994-4898

Local Frank Lloyd Wright House for sale

Palmer House
Click image for larger view and the text from Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor.

The William and Mary Palmer House, Ann Arbor's only Frank Lloyd Wright house, is on the market for the first time and the asking price is 1.5 million. The house, at 227 Orchard Hills Drive near the Arboretum, comes with original furniture and a collection of Wright's papers, but there's a catch--the house must remain as-is. Find out more about the Palmer House through AADL's Ann Arbor Architecture Archive, which includes the entry on the Palmer House taken from Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Check out our new Research page

oedoed

We've made a few changes to the AADL Research page for better access to our many magazine and research tools. You can browse a new subject listing at the top, quickly scroll through a more detailed ABC listing, or jump right to our most popular magazine database. We'll be featuring a selection of databases in the right-hand column, and from the left-hand menu you can now click on A2 Facts for links to interesting facts and statistics about Tree Town.

"New" U of M Boat Livery on Argo Pond

Old Livery
Submitted by Wystan Stevens
Click image for larger view.

Removed from an old photo album, the card sold for $40 in an eBay auction on July 16, 2008. The new owner is an Ann Arbor collector who uses the eBay alias "cheer."

The U. of M. Boat House had a name that implied congeniality toward student patronage, but it was a private enterprise. Erected in 1898 (when he was 41) by Paul G. Tessmer, whose big house (now the Elks Pratt Lodge) later loomed above it, the Boat House was located on the North Main Street edge of Argo Pond. A short biographical sketch of Tessmer in Beakes' Past and Present of Washtenaw County, Michigan (1906) discloses that Tessmer had 160 canoes for rent -- all of them built by himself. He had forty rowboats, too.

Here's Tessmer's boat house, on the west side of Argo Pond.

The Anton Eisele House

Anton Eisele HomeAnton Eisele Home

Next time you're dining on the patio at Argiero's, look across the street at the stone lintels above the windows of the Anton Eisele House (216 Catherine), one of the few surviving buildings that illustrates Eisele's craft (another is 320-322 South Division) and his prosperous stone-cutting business that thrived on this block in the late 1800s. Eisele's home, built in 1869, and business are also featured in the 1874 plat map. When Eisele died in 1887, his stepson John Baumgardner continued the business, building a two-story structure across the street (demolished in the 1930s to build a gas station). The barn survives today as part of Argiero's restaurant.

Google Maps for Ann Arbor has Street Views

Google MapsGoogle Maps

Type in an address in Ann Arbor in Google Maps and you can now see the Street View.

Street View gives you a photographic view of the street and allows you to move up and down the block and to pan to the right or left and to zoom in on houses or businesses or pedestrians. The gas station at Packard and Stadium has gas for sale for $2.89/gallon so the drive-by must have been a while ago. It was garbage day at my house. You can see the garbage bin, the recycle bins, and the compost bin in front of the house. The addresses on streets are approximate so you may have to move up or down the block to find the address you are seeking.

Arbor Update has a blog about Street View. Trying to sleuth the exact date/dates seems to be one of the pleasures for users. Some areas appear to have been covered on a football Saturday.

Take a look. Interesting and fun. The Michigan Theater was showing Born into Brothels. You cannot quite read the menu posted outside Zanzibar. The Y is still standing across from the Downtown Library.

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