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?


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

Jump Up, Double Dutch!

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We've got Chinese, Double-Dutch and standard jump ropes ready to go for all levels of jump roping this Saturday, August 16, 1:00-4:00 pm at the Malletts Creek branch. Look for a section of the parking lot blocked off with orange cones. Come ready for a good time.

Check out the movie Jump In! or the Jump In! soundtrack or, if you're training for a fall sport, try the book Jump Rope Training which covers some great speed and quickness drills to get you ready for any sport. If you're still not inspired to jump, check out any of the Rope Masters videos on YouTube.

Housing Counseling 101

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Have you considered meeting with a housing counselor to discuss critical issues related to keeping your home? Come to the Ypsilanti District Library on Saturday August 16 from 10:00 a.m. till noon for a morning of information and conversation about housing foreclosure. Meet with area experts in housing, banking and loss mitigation. This is free but RSVP required: 734-483-8152. Sponsored by the Vision in Action LLC, New Horizon Resources and the MSU Extension office.



An 11 year old boy recently took top honors at the National Scrabble Championship tourney.
He was the youngest in a group of 700. National Scrabble Association has a website with tournament updates, as well as a word of the day. Today's word is "cushaw", a variety of squash. Check out Word Freak or Word Wars to satisfy your curiosity about words.

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.

Prolific poverty expert chosen by U-M

A leading expert on poverty and women's issues will become dean of the U-M School of Social Work, if U-M regents approve. Laura Lein, of the University of Texas, was chosen as the new dean, according to a U-M press release. Read more in The Ann Arbor News.

Read Winning "It's All Write!" Stories Online

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So many teens have created imaginative and thoughtful stories and submitted them to AADL's "It's All Write!" short story writing contest. Go to the "It's All Write!" page now to read some of these stories on-line, as well as find writers' names and story titles since 2004. Prize Winning Stories can be checked out in booklet form from the library's collection or you can get the entire 2008 selection of winning stories online. Applause goes out to all these teens.

Cars, Cars and More Cars

The Woodward Dream Cruise isn’t until August 16th, but down in Milan this Saturday, August 2nd, the Backstreet Cruizers will hold their annual Carfest at Wilson Park. There will be food, a DJ, and of course, cars! Awards will be handed out for Best of Show, People’s Choice, “Blood, Sweat, and Tears,” and a Sponsor’s Trophy. The Cruizers also hold Lakeside Cruises Thursday evenings during the summer, and the cruises continue until August 21!

Great Route Changes Starting August 24th for AATA Riders!


Routes Affected: 1U Pontiac-University, 4 Washtenaw, 7 South Main-East, 8 Pauline, 9U Jackson-University, 12UL Liberty-University, 12UM Miller-University, 14Geddes-East Stadium and 16 Ann Arbor-Saline Road.

Go to AATA Changes Starting 8/24/08

Meet the Author of Moscow Rules

Do art restorers/spies make your heart go aflutter? If the answer is yes, chances are you are a fan of the Gabriel Allon series. You can meet the author, Daniel Silva, this Friday, August 1st at 7:00 p.m. at Nicola’s Books. He will be on hand to discuss his latest book Moscow Rules. In it, Gabriel is restoring a painting for the Vatican when he is called upon to track down why a Russian journalist was killed and to stop a potential terrorist attack.

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