Posts of interest to local history buffs, written by local history buffs!

Celebrating African-American History In Ann Arbor

Dating back to the Underground Railroad, Ann Arbor boasts a rich and vibrant history for African-Americans. A wonderful piece about this time in Ann Arbor’s history is written by Grace Shackman and can be found here.

There are many African-Americans that created their own piece of history in Ann Arbor. For instance, you can read about Ann Arbor’s first African-American mayor, Albert H. Wheeler, first African-American teacher and later principal at Northside Elementary, Harry Mial and his wife, Joetta Mial, Huron High School's first female African-American principal.

O.Herbert Ellis, who passed away last year is notable for being the first African-American to serve on and to chair the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. You can read more history and the individuals that created it here.

 

Historic Ann Arbor Architecture

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August 25, 2014 at the Pittsfield Branch Library

Authors Susan Wineberg and Patrick McCauley will discuss their new book Historic Ann Arbor: An Architectural Guide. The book describes over 350 buildings in Ann Arbor, including 40 University of Michigan buildings. Style sections describe those of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Mid-Century Modern. Superb examples of this style can be found in many parts of Ann Arbor.

Susan Wineberg has served as President of the Washtenaw County Historical Society (1994-1999), on the Historic District Commission (HDC) three times, as Chair of the Awards Committee of the HDC for 20 years, on numerous committees including the Downtown, Landmark, Individual Historic Properties, Lower Town, Old Fourth Ward and Germantown Historic District Study Committees. She has written extensively on Ann Arbor and published Lost Ann Arbor in 2004, in addition to the second edition of Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor in 1992.

Patrick McCauley has volunteered at both the Kempf House Museum and Cobblestone Farm Museum, and served as Chair of the Fourth and Fifth Ave. Historic District Study Committee. He currently serves on the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission, having held the positions of Chair and Vice Chair, and also on the board of the Ann Arbor Historical Foundation. He has also bought and restored three neglected historic homes in Ann Arbor since 2001, winning a Rehabilitation Award from the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission (HDC) in 2009 for his efforts.

Length: 01:00:22
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
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Historic Ann Arbor Architecture


Ann Arbor responds to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kids showing off their vaccine marks

In the days following the assassination, Ann Arbor held a memorial at Hill Auditorium and Ann Arbor News photographers snapped dozens of photos of townies and students participating in marches and peaceful demonstrations. Here they are, for the first time, from the Oldnews archive.

The First Movie Theatre in Ann Arbor

Did you know the first movie theatre in Ann Arbor was built on Main Street?

Have you ever wondered how Ann Arbor got its name? Did you know the University of Michigan began its tradition in Detroit? Are you curious about Ann Arbor's activism roots? Or maybe you want to know about the history behind the arts, music, and culture in your city.

You can find out all of these facts and more on AADL's Ford Gallery of Ann Arbor Founders.

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Halloween ClownHalloween Clown

Don’t look now, Ann Arbor, but just in time for Halloween, we’ve unearthed a few frightening photos from our Oldnews vault.

Did you know Ann Arbor had a Haunted Tavern? Or that a roving band of Devil Dogs terrorized Tree Town in the late 1930s?

In 1945, a pirate, some clowns and...a singing cornstalk(?) took over the former WPAG radio station at Main and Liberty, and in 1952 Ann Arbor Civic Theatre conjured up this disturbing scene during its production of The Spider.

We've also exhumed ample evidence that witches, goblins and other monster mites haunted the Burns Park neighborhood in 1951 and 1952. Similar creatures appear in a 1957 JCC Halloween Parade. And in 1964, this vampire stalked Art Fair booths.

So click if you dare, Ann Arbor. You can browse all things Halloween or search the past at Oldnews - your gateway to Ann Arbor's hair-raising history.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Salk!

Dr. Jonas SalkDr. Jonas Salk

In honor of Dr. Jonas Salk's 100th birthday, we've just posted a few photographs and articles from our archives celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Jonas Salk, the American medical researcher and virologist who spent time at the University of Michigan doing critical research on the influenza virus before inventing the first successful polio vaccine.

On April 12, 1955, the vaccine was declared to be safe and effective and within weeks was being shipped around the world.

Middle Earth Rotates Out of the University Scene: AADL Talks To Owner Cynthia Shevel

Long, long ago in a galaxy known as the '60s, Ann Arbor's first head shop, Middle Earth , opened in a 2nd floor walkup on Liberty Street and then moved to its iconic location on South U.

Owner Cynthia Shevel sat down with Old News last year to talk about the history of Middle Earth, how it changed over the years and the challenges independent shops face in Tree Town.

Cynthia announced the closing of Middle Earth yesterday saying that with the closing of the Selo/Shevel Gallery a few months back, she and longtime partner Elaine Selo will begin a new phase of their lives.

Falling Water Books & Collectibles to Close

Falling Water on AshleyFalling Water on Ashley

The owners of one of Ann Arbor's signature stores, Falling Water Books & Collectibles, just announced they will be closing after 26 years. Here's a 1988 article and photograph (left) from the store's grand opening in July of that year. Falling Water was first located at 318 S. Ashley St., and later moved to Main St.

Lurie Terrace Celebrates 50 Years

On a cold and windy October 9, 1964, a small group of speakers and community members gathered in front of the new senior citizen apartment high-rise, Lurie Terrace, to celebrate its completion. No one was more instrumental in bringing Lurie Terrace to completion than Shata Ling. Mrs. Ling founded the Ann Arbor Senior Citizens Guild in 1956 and worked tirelessly on behalf of seniors throughout her active career in Ann Arbor. Lurie Terrace was named in honor of Mrs. Ling's mother, Ann Przzan Lurie.

Lurie was one of the first affordable senior housing projects proposed in the U.S. In 1961 a site on W. Huron was selected and demolition of four homes began. Bricks from the Lorin Mills House were used to construct the patio at Lurie. Designed by local architect James H. Livingston the building featured twin Pentagon towers. The first resident to sign a lease at Lurie Terrace came from a family with a long history in Ann Arbor, Pearl McOmber.

From the beginning, Lurie Terrace emphasized a vibrant and varied lifestyle for seniors with a workshop, a plant conservatory, small dining halls, library, men's club, even an in-house "Newsboy".

Lurie was not without controversy and in February, 1982, three years after a woman was denied admission because she was handicapped, the Michigan Court of Appeals struck down Lurie's residency requirements that prohibited handicapped persons. Over the years, Lurie developed programs and social events that aimed at expanding horizons of all seniors in their community of apartments. Happy Birthday Lurie Terrace!

Tom Hayden at AADL

The Downtown Meeting Room was packed for Tom Hayden's lecture Monday evening, September 15.

Hayden, a former student at U-M was in Ann Arbor because U-M has recently purchased papers, photos and documents which detail his life as an activist. He stated that "history repeats itself if all parties aren't involved, even dissenters," in creating the future. He will be visiting the area once a year for 4-5 years to decipher his hand-written notes accurately because they include so many primary sources.

MLive reporter Janet Miller wrote a detailed story on his lecture you can find here.

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