The Nickels Arcade under construction, 1915


The Nickels Arcade under construction, 1915

Frame location: South side of North University east end of the Diag facing northwest toward Nickels Arcade

Collection info: Sturgis AA12-19 #13

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Majestic program advertisement, 1914


Majestic program advertisement, 1914

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Bank of Washtenaw banknotes


Bank of Washtenaw banknotes

Frame location: On North wall of Courthouse

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The Chapin House surrounded by large catalpa trees and gardens, ca. 1870


The Chapin House surrounded by large catalpa trees and gardens, ca. 1870

On the northeast corner of Ann St. and Fourth Ave. is the structure built in 1836 to house the short-lived Bank of Washtenaw. A stuccoed Greek Revival building, it was remodeled as a residence in 1847 for local businessman Volney Chapin, whose family lived there for almost thirty years.

It continued to play a role in the life of Courthouse Square as it was adapted for a sequence of businesses, including the Catalpa Hotel, Joe Parker's Saloon, the Chamber of Commerce, many service and welfare organizations, the local bus station, and the Peters Hotel.

Frame location: On North wall of Courthouse

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Crash of the interurban into the Farmers & Mechanics Bank, 1927


Crash of the interurban into the Farmers & Mechanics Bank, 1927

On a hot August night in 1927 four fully loaded interurban freight cars, parked near the County Fairgrounds (out Jackson Ave., where Veterans Park is today), broke loose from their couplings and began rolling back to town. Gaining momentum with every downhill turn of the wheels, they screeched around the Jackson-Huron bend, and careened through residential areas and under the Ann Arbor Railroad viaduct over Huron St. Climbing the grade toward Main St., the freight cars lost little speed. Where the tracks made a 90-degree turn onto Main St., the cars leaped the rails at forty miles an hour and smashed into the lobby of the Farmers & Mechanics Bank.

Late diners at Prochnow's Dairy Lunch next door were thrown from their seats by the tremendous impact. The walls bulged and bricks flew into the streets. Late patrons at Candyland on Huron St. and the Sugar Bowl Restaurant on Main St. rushed into the street and were showered with particles of dust and brick settling from the air.

Amazingly, nobody was seriously hurt. A director of the bank was on the scene afterward comforting officials and stockholders. "This is the largest deposit in the history of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank," he declared. "I hope we shall never have another like it."

Keywords: interurbans, transportation, accidents, Farmer & Mechanics Bank

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Ann Arbor District Library



Crash of the interurban into the Farmers & Mechanics Bank, 1927


Crash of the interurban into the Farmers & Mechanics Bank, 1927

On a hot August night in 1927 four fully loaded interurban freight cars, parked near the County Fairgrounds (out Jackson Ave., where Veterans Park is today), broke loose from their couplings and began rolling back to town. Gaining momentum with every downhill turn of the wheels, they screeched around the Jackson-Huron bend, and careened through residential areas and under the Ann Arbor Railroad viaduct over Huron St. Climbing the grade toward Main St., the freight cars lost little speed. Where the tracks made a 90-degree turn onto Main St., the cars leaped the rails at forty miles an hour and smashed into the lobby of the Farmers & Mechanics Bank.

Late diners at Prochnow's Dairy Lunch next door were thrown from their seats by the tremendous impact. The walls bulged and bricks flew into the streets. Late patrons at Candyland on Huron St. and the Sugar Bowl Restaurant on Main St. rushed into the street and were showered with particles of dust and brick settling from the air.

Amazingly, nobody was seriously hurt. A director of the bank was on the scene afterward comforting officials and stockholders. "This is the largest deposit in the history of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank," he declared. "I hope we shall never have another like it."

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Ann Arbor District Library



Gregory Block, ca. 1868


Gregory Block, ca. 1868

By the late 1870s, Ann Arbor was a thriving and prosperous business center. The streets facing Courthouse Square contained some of the town's grandest commercial buildings. Originally, the northwest corner of Main and Huron was the site of a small, two-story, log block house built by town founder John Allen in 1824. Later expanded and painted bright red, Allen's former home was called "Bloody Corners." It housed a tavern, inn, and store before being replaced by Ann Arbor's first large hotel, the "Franklin House." The imposing Gregory Block was built on this site in 1862. For over a century it provided space for a wide variety of establishments, including a hotel, banks, bars, bookstores, a post office, and Municipal Court offices. It became known as the Masonic Block when Masonic lodges occupied the second and third floors from 1885 to 1926. By the time of its destruction in a 1971 fire, the Gregory Block's rich architectural details had been hidden under a façade of blue and white metal panels. The present building was constructed in 1986.

Frame location: On Main and NE Corner of Huron

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