Bill Treml spent forty years at the Ann Arbor News working the police beat--"chasing cops and robbers," as he puts it. In that time he saw and reported on many of the stories we remember: the Coed Murders of John Norman Collins, UFO sightings, a bank robbery in Ypsilanti that left one police officer dead. Much of what we remember we remember from what he wrote. We got a chance to talk to Bill about some of those stories and what kept him at it through all those years. Treml's self-effacing manner cannot hide the fact that he went places most of us have never gone and witnessed things most of us never want to see. He stood in mud in his pajamas at murder scenes. He chased down paddy wagons. He took a front row seat to riots. He sat across the table from one of the worst serial killers in Michigan's history. Treml shared his stories of years as a reporter and told us what it takes to be a great reporter in any age of news reporting. Read some of Bill Treml's articles from the Ann Arbor News at Old News.
Schlanderer & Sons, Jewelers and Silversmiths has occupied the same prime location on Main Street for over seven decades. It is one of the few local businesses that survived and thrived continuously in the hands of the same family through cycles of boom-and-bust. Recently we sat down with Charles Schlanderer, Sr. (Charlie) and Charles Schlanderer, Jr. (Chuck) – the third and fourth generation of store owners, for a conversation about history of the family business.
In 1933 C. Henry Schlanderer and his two sons Paul and Arthur opened the store in a historic building at 208 South Main. We learned why, at the height of the Depression, Henry chose to open a store for “luxury goods”; how each successive generation came into the business and the improvements they have made; their decision to stay “downtown” against the gradual exodus of others to the malls; and more importantly, their vision of the retail landscape in the near future.
The Schlanderers also reminisced with us about their most memorable sales over the years, the friendships formed; and loyalty of their clients.
Apart from the discussion about the business, we talked about families; growing up in Ann Arbor, Hillsdale College and Michigan Hockey (Want to know why? Listen to the podcast). You can read articles about Schlanderer & Sons in Old News.
Four generations of Vogels have been giving Ann Arbor what they want and need since 1913, changing the business with the tastes and tempo of life in the town. We talked to David Vogel, the 3rd generation of Vogel's Lock & Safe, who retired and handed over the business to the 4th generation, Rob and Denise Vogel, some years back. Dave has done a lot of research on the family's coming to Ann Arbor area over a hundred years ago and has collected a trove of documents, photos and family stories and shares them with us in this podcast.
The Vogel's began fixing, building and re-building "anything and everything mechanical" that farmers and businesses brought to the shop. Dave gave us a tour of the building's back rooms that house some of the equipment used back then and we've put a selection of those images up with the podcast. The business eventually changed to safes and locks and Dave talks about the "dividing line" in the 1960s, when the townspeople and students at the University of Michigan began asking for locks and deadbolts instead of sporting goods and bicycles. Dave has some interesting stories to tell about raids with the FBI and opening safes with the U.S. military.
The family is one of the older Ann Arbor "townies" and Dave keeps up with the other families that built the businesses, homes and neighborhood that define Ann Arbor. Dave talks about hunting where Pioneer High School now sits, living through World War II in Ann Arbor and the way local heritage businesses still depend on each other for support and growth.
Were you in Ann Arbor during the Sixties? Do you have a story to tell? Award-winning author and archivist of popular culture Michael Erlewine, founder of the All-Music Guide (and related All-Movie Guide and All-Game Guide), ClassicPosters.com, and lead singer for the Prime Movers Blues Band (Iggy Pop was his drummer), will share some of his personal memories of the cultural shifts that took place in Ann Arbor during the Sixties and early Seventies. If you were there, we'd like to hear from you as well.
A more infamous side of Washtenaw County history will come to life in Fallen Women & Female Felons, a presentation by Susan Nenadic that covers everything from pickpocketing to murder by the fairer sex. The program will be held at the Bentley Historical Library on Sunday, Sept. 18th, 2:00 p.m. ~ 4:00 p.m. The WCHS program is free and open to the public. For more information, call 734.662.9092 or email email@example.com.
The Michigan Library Association recently announced that long-time Trustee of the Ann Arbor District Library, Ed Surovell, will receive this year's MLA Trustee Citation of Merit, the highest award bestowed by the Association for a Library Board Trustee. In this episode, Ed talks with us about the origins of his successful real estate company, Edward Surovell Realtors; his long history with libraries and the book industry; and his personal collections and interests. He also discusses the responsibilities of an elected Trustee and recollects some of the challenges he faced while serving on the inaugural AADL Board of 1996.
Benjamin Franklin Family TreeIn 1899, John Woolf Jordan (historian and genealogy writer of the late 1800's and early 1900's) wrote an article for the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography titled, “Franklin as a Genealogist”. Mr. Jordan obtained original letters and records and wrote about Benjamin Franklin’s genealogical quest. Benjamin Franklin investigated his family line and created what Mr. Jordan referred to as a pedigree (a family tree, a portion of Benjamin Franklin's pedigree is displayed in the blog photo). You too can see the original documents (some in Benjamin Franklin’s own hand) using the Heritage Quest research database.
The Heritage Quest database (available @ AADL) has documents imaged from the 1790 - 1930 U.S. federal censuses and images from over 20,000 book titles, including family and local histories. To access the Heritage Quest database from home, simply login to your online library account. You can search census data, books and local histories, revolutionary war pension and bounty-land-warrant application files, Freedman's Bank documents, and Serial Set documents. I searched for books about Ann Arbor and found several, including: Polk's Ann Arbor City Directory,1915 and the Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County Directory, 1888-9.
This Saturday, June 4th, will be the annual African American Downtown Festival in Ann Arbor! The festival will be a multicultural and multi-generational celebration of African American history in Ann Arbor. The location of the festival (4th and Ann) is significant due to it being the historical epicenter in Ann Arbor of African American owned businesses, culture and family life. Fun times to be had by all!
If you're interested in doing some research into the history of African Americans in Washtenaw County, the AADL has several resources for you:
They were a hale and hearty group in 1974 despite being temporarily delayed by a passing train at the first Dexter-Ann Arbor Run. We've gathered together a few articles and pictures from the Ann Arbor News Archives about the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run to jog your memory and get you motivated for this year's race on Sunday, June 5th.
The Local History databases aren't just for Ann Arborites, international celebrities like them too! The AADL's resources got some national attention this weekend when Russell Crowe retweeted a link to our The Making of Ann Arbor database!
As Russell and his followers soon found out, the origin of the name "Ann Arbor" is still hotly debated. Ann's Arbor? Annarbour? Depending on which tome you consult, the name has a different origin. There are a litany of possible Ann's from history that could hold the honor of having the city named after them but which one? The world may never know! But if you want to do your own research beyond The Making of Ann Arbor be sure and check out:
Learn the history of Ypsilanti from the people devoted to documenting it, the Ypsilanti Historical Society. This online archive features 35 years of the publication Ypsilanti Gleanings, with articles on the people and places of Ypsilanti, historic documents and diaries, and a gallery of photos from over a century of Ypsilanti history.