AADL Talks To Bev Willis of the Washtenaw County Historical Society

The Museum on Main Street is the most visible project of the Washtenaw County Historical Society. But there is much more the Society does to keep history alive in the county, including Washtenaw Impressions, a newsletter with feature articles from local historians like Susan Weinberg, family historians and history buffs with interest in everything from farm tools to heirloom toys. The Society hosts lectures, mounts exhibits and works with libraries and organizations throughout the county to share the Society's collections and knowledge.

Bev Willis, administrator for the WCHS, keeps it all running smoothly. Bev sat down with us to talk about her background in graphic arts, how she came to WCHS, Impressions and the history of the Museum on Main Street. Bev talked about some of the unique collections at the Museum and the people who visit, including the descendants of the original owners of the house that became the Museum.

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AADL_Talks_To-Beverly_Willis.mp3 24.16 MB

How Detroit Saved the World: World War II and the Willow Run Story

On Thursday November 10, 2011, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Downtown Library, Randy Hotton, director of Flight Operations at the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville will share his extensive research on the World War II history of the Willow Run Bomber Plant.

Join us to learn about the incredible mobilization to make B-24 Liberator bombers for the war effort. At the peak the plant produced one of these 70,547 lb. bombers per hour!

In addition to a great a command of Willow Run history, Randy is a retired U.S. Navy captain who began his aviation career as a pilot in P-3 Orion aircraft flying anti-submarine patrols during the Cold War, and now flies with USA Jet Airlines and the Yankee Air Museum in C-47 and B-17 bombers.

You can book flights through the museum in the B-17G Yankee Lady, B-25 "Mitchell" Bomber, C-47 Skytrain and the V-77 Stinson Reliant.

Each summer the THUNDER OVER MICHIGAN Air Show at the museum is one of the premier annual aviation events in the country.

Kempf House Museum: Fall Noon Lecture Series

Every Wednesday this Fall, Ann Arbor's historical landmark, the Kempf House Museum, hosts a noon lecture series that delves into fascinating pieces of Michigan history.

The Wednesday lecture on October 19 is titled I'm Still Here, Acts Two and Three and features "Theatre Historian J. B. Harris, who continues his research for his planned book on the surviving opera houses of Michigan by telling us about the Tibbits Theater in Coldwater, and the Calumet theatre in Calumet."

The following Wednesday lecture is titled Lodi Township, Past, Present and Future and features "preservationists Margaret Canham and Wayne Clements, who have long had an interest in Lodi Township history, and will update us on efforts towards restoring the cemetery and the original Township Hall. The latter is reputedly the third oldest in Michigan."

Kempf House Museum is located at 312 S. Division Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Admission is $1.00 for members, and $2.00 for non-members.

Crime & Punishment in Washtenaw County: A Women's History

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 wchs-500@ameritech.net.

AADL Talks to Ed Surovell

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.

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African American Downtown Festival & the history of African Americans in Ann Arbor

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:

Additional local resources include:

The Dexter-Ann Arbor Run: From 195 to a Cast of Thousands

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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.

Check out a few items from the archives:

-Article about the first race

-Photo of runners pack in the 1979 Dexter-Ann Arbor Run

-Article about friendly rivalry

101 Things You Didn’t Know About Ann Arbor…

…But Are About to Find Out Why is a new book by Martin Woodhouse. The author presents “fascinating tangents and tidbits in purposely random sequence” about the fair city of Ann Arbor. He ups the “quirk quotient” and treats readers to some interesting stories and facts about A2 and some of its story-worthy inhabitants.

Perhaps you’ve read Wicked Washtenaw County, Strange Tales of The Grisly and Unexplained, and are looking for more facts about the area. This book is right up your alley. Also recommended for some local trivia is another new book, Ghostly Tales of Michigan, which shares ghostly tales of some of Michigan’s more ghostly places.

Brookwater Farm Revisted: New Book, Old Articles

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A new book arrived in our Local History Collection recently, Brookwater Farm of Webster Township, and in one of those serendipitous moments we're having at the Archives lately, we came across some articles related to the history of the Brookwater Farm.

In 1948, the Ann Arbor News ran a long article, Restoration of Brookwater, complete with a description of the annual livestock auction and historic photos of the farm. The new owner, Lawrence F. Carlton, undertook an extensive restoration of the farm house. However, later articles from 1950 describe the "Corn War", a year-long legal battle with suits and countersuits over 29 acres of corn crop. There's even an article about Mr. Carlton temporarily blinding himself when a tear gas bomb went off as he was showing it to folks.

Ypsilanti Gleanings 2010: A Year in Words & Pictures

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We recently posted the winter issue of Ypsilanti Gleanings, the official publication of the Ypsilanti Historical Society. Gleanings offers, on a quarterly basis, a variety of articles, quizzes and miscellany for enthusiasts of Ypsi history. All four 2010 issues are here, with both text and images available for searching and browsing. As a matter of fact, we have the complete text and images of Gleanings dating all the way back to its origins in 1971!

So if you need a good read to keep you enthralled over the holiday break, look no further than the Gleanings corpus where you'll find ghost stories, mysterious abductions, natural disasters, westerns, epic biographies and other fascinating tales of Ypsilanti history.

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