Sugar Bowl Restaurant, 109 South Main Street, 1927


Sugar Bowl Restaurant, 109 South Main Street, 1927

When the Sugar Bowl opened in 1911, it featured homemade ice cream and handdipped chocolates made in the Preketes family apartment upstairs. After Michigan went "dry" in 1918, lunch counters and small restaurants like this, many owned by Greek immigrants, became a major feature downtown. In early Ann Arbor, you could have dined out at one of Ann Arbor's hotels. By 1860 catered banquets and special celebrations were held at halls such as Hangsterfer's, which stood on the corner behind you. In 1868 you might choose among twenty-eight saloons for a quick meal. Grocery stores often had a small saloon to accommodate thirsty customers. Five locally owned German breweries supplied beer. Boarding houses near campus served students and single diners. In 1967 the Sugar Bowl closed, replaced by the upscale La Seine restaurant. Although shortlived, it was the first of many restaurants that transformed Ann Arbor into a regional dining center.

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Millers Ice Cream


Millers Ice Cream

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Miller's, looking northeast, 1954


Miller's, looking northeast, 1954

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Millers Ice Cream, ca. 1935


Millers Ice Cream, ca. 1935

Blaich's grocery, added to an old house on this site in 1895, was the first commercial building on South University. Forty years later, as Miller's, it was a popular place to enjoy ice cream, sodas, and sandwiches. The old wooden building was demolished in 1964 to make way for University Towers. Miller's reopened here in the new building. Centicore, a bookstore identified with the rebellious spirit of the sixties, opened next to it.

Miller's closed in 1985 — like the Food Mart down the street, a victim of rapidly rising rents that would force out many other local businesses. The Campus Theater was replaced by a mini-mall and the street's last gas station by a two-story commercial building. In 2006 new zoning encouraging high-density commercial and residential development was adopted to reinvigorate South University. Within months, the city approved a ten story apartment building to replace the historic 1923 Anberay Apartments on East University.

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The Brown Jug


The Brown Jug

The Brown Jug opened in 1935 on the other side of the street. A favorite restaurant with students and alumni, its name celebrated the trophy for UM's historic football rivalry with the University of Minnesota.

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Entrance to the Ritz Dine and Dance


Entrance to the Ritz Dine and Dance

Catering to the dance craze spawned during Prohibition, the Ritz Dine and Dance opened at 209 State Street in 1930. Featuring "Music and dancing at all hours," one could dance nearby at the Hut, the Den, Drake's Sandwich Shop, and Granger's Dancing Academy.

Frame location: East side of South State Street, near the curb, facing west down East Liberty Street.

Collection info: Michigan Alumnus 9/13/30, p741

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Michigan Central Railroad Depot, 1886


Michigan Central Railroad Depot, 1886

This 1886 depot, built for the Michigan Central Railroad in grand Richardsonian Romanesque style, was the gateway to Ann Arbor at a time when trains were the major means of intercity travel. The central building had ornate waiting rooms, an elaborate ticket booth, coffered wood ceilings, stained glass windows, and a large terra-cotta fireplace. Packages were shipped from the express office on the west. Trunks and other luggage were checked and retrieved at a baggage building on the east. A long track side roof sheltered passengers and connected the three buildings. East of the station, a garden with a fountain greeted visitors.

In 1969 the station was sold and the main building converted to the Gandy Dancer restaurant. The former express office served as the depot until a new Amtrak station was built west of the bridge.

Frame location: on Broadway Bridge

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Huron Block, 1831


Huron Block, 1831

The two-story building on the far right in this early photograph was erected in 1831 on this side of Broadway by Asa Smith for his home and cabinet shop. It was the first brick structure in Lower Town. Next door, in 1833, Josiah Beckley built the three-story Huron block where he had a general store. It faced Anson Brown's new building on the other side of Broadway. Upstairs, Josiah's brother Guy Beckley published an influential abolitionist newspaper, "The Signal of Liberty," from 1841 to 1847. Over time the block housed grocery and variety stores, saloons, a meat market, and a bakery. Wooden sidewalks and cobblestone gutters edged the dirt street. The block was demolished in 1959.

Frame location: East side at north end of bridge

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The Ann Street Block


The Ann Street Block

Kerrytown market and shops, the treasure mart, and Zingerman's delicatessen, are all in renovated buildings once marked for demolition.

Frame location: Corner of North Fifth Avenue and Detroit Street

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Advertisement for George W. Ellis & Co.'s New Restaurant and Saloon


Advertisement for George W. Ellis & Co.'s New Restaurant and Saloon

George W. Ellis & Co.'s New Restaurant and Saloon! Choice Cigars, Pure Wines and Liquors!

Frame location: On North wall of Courthouse

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