Historic buildings on the go

Raeder CenterRaeder Center

A stroll through the Arboretum's lovely Peony Garden (which should bloom within the next couple weeks), will take you past the Reader Center on Washington Heights, formerly the Nathan Burnham house, built in 1837 and previously located at 947 Wall Street/940 Maiden Lane. More information on historic buildings around town (including another house that's moved from one location to another) can be found among the 200 images in AADL's Ann Arbor Architecture Archive. The archive includes text from the book Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, MI, which is also available to check out or browse online.

Video of Grace Shackman discussing her book 'Ann Arbor Observed' now available

One of the newest additions to our ever-growing collection of AADL Videos on Demand is an event from December 2006 featuring Grace Shackman discussing her book Ann Arbor Observed. This event, from our Sunday Edition Author Series, features Shackman discussing the process of becoming a writer for the Observer, reading excerpts from her book, and answering questions. Over twenty-five years, Shackman's articles on all aspects of Ann Arbor and its history became a highly popular feature of the Observer. Download a high-quality version of the video or an audio version you can put on your iPod or mp3 player from our AADL Videos on Demand collection.

Map of Washtenaw County Indian trails

Indians map
Click image for larger view. A key to trails and historical markers appears below the map image.

We recently spruced up the Making of Ann Arbor site with a new design and some additional content, including a map of Indian trails in Washtenaw County taken from the 1927 book The Indians of Washtenaw County, Michigan by W. B. Hinsdale. This map and others are available on the Making of Ann Arbor maps page. Additional maps and atlases of Washtenaw county are available through the Michigan County Histories and Atlases digitization project.

Col. John L. Burleigh was not "apocryphal."

submitted by Wystan Stevens

While I was doing a Google search on John L. Burleigh, I noticed an item about him in the online pages of Stanley Wertheim's A Stephen Crane Encyclopedia (1997), where he is referenced (p. 43) as being "probably an apocryphal character invented by Elbert Hubbard." Nay, it is not so.

Col. John L. Burleigh got his law degree, and his start in politics, in my home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Early histories of this area contain references to his activities, especially as the founder in 1878 of a weekly newspaper, the Ann Arbor Democrat. Two years later, it was noted that Burleigh had sold out his interest in that publication to a business partner and left to seek opportunities in Chicago. From Chicago he evidently migrated to New York. The New York Times on January 9, 1895, posted a reference to him as an attorney practicing in NYC:

A Washtenaw County (Michigan) history notes that Burleigh had been an alderman in Brooklyn. Burleigh's death notice (no obit, alas) appeared in the NYT on May 10, 1909, a day after his demise. His death notice in the New York Tribune (again, no obit) stated that the funeral would be held on May 11 at the Church of the Redeemer, in Brooklyn.

In 1877, Burleigh participated in ceremonies at the laying of the cornerstone of the Washtenaw County Courthouse in Ann Arbor (1881 History of Washtenaw County, p. 346).

Stunning, sharp view of Lower Town

lower town
Click image for larger view.

Stunning, sharp view of Lower Town from across the river shows flooding in slaughterhouse area. Date unknown. From the Burton Historical collection.

Submitted by Wystan Stevens

New old photo of Winchell octagon turns up.

Octagan house
Click image for larger view.

University of Michigan Professor Alexander Winchell's octagon house in Ann Arbor, 1904-06, built on the site where Hill Auditorium was later erected. From Early Detroit Images from the Burton Historical Collection.

The best-ever image of the lost landmark.

Submitted by Wystan Stevens

Ann Arbor bids adieu to colorful citizens

from Dale Leslie

Someone much smarter than I observed, "Life is stranger than fiction." That remark was confirmed in the last few days with the passing of businessman Paul Lohr and his son Fred Lohr, coincidentally within hours of each other, and then later Fred Mammel, former City utilities head for at least two decades, and a fellow Kiwanian of Paul's, died at Arbor Hospice. Adding to the irony of these real-life events, all three final observances were held at approximately the same time on Monday, March 10th.

The Lohrs are pure-bred Ann Arborites. Undoubtedly, you know or know of at least one family member. The working Lohr farm was on Lohr Road near the Ann Arbor Airport where Paul caught the bug for flying. Ann Arbor Implement Company- known to many locals as Ann Arbor Imp-ment- saw the same family ownership over three generations, first by Grandpa Ernest Lohr- then son Paul Lohr-and Grandson Fred Lohr. (It was Fred- fighting illness for many years- who passed away after hearing of his dad's death.) Paul Lohr loved to show anyone the former wine cellars, spreading deep under their store at First Street and Liberty.

Create your own album and upload photos to pictureAnnArbor

art fairart fair

Do you have photographs of Ann Arbor you'd like to share? You can now sign up and submit your photos online to pictureAnnArbor. Just log in to your aadl.org account, fill out this form, and an album will be created for you. Upload as many images as you'd like to your pictureAnnArbor gallery. (There's a delay before your uploaded images will show up in your gallery, usually one business day.)

City directories available through HeritageQuest

a2 directorya2 directory

Genealogists have long placed old city directories at the top of their wishlist of books to be digitized. And now it's happening! The Google books project already includes a few local directories and the Books section of our Heritage Quest product includes Ann Arbor and Washtenaw county directories from 1886-87, 1888-89, 1909, 1914, 1915, and 1916. For those of you who prefer perusing the original print editions, you'll find them in our Local History room on the second floor of the Downtown library.

Here are the local directories available through Google: Cole & Keating’s Ann Arbor City Directory for the year 1872; Glen V. Mills Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti City Directory 1892; Polk’s Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Washtenaw County Directory, 1916(7)

The Lost Street Names of Ann Arbor

Cedar Bend drive
view from Cedar Bend Drive, ca. 1900-1919, Making of Ann Arbor

Little did I know that each time I trudge up Spring Street to Hunt Park, I pass by Pardon Street (formerly Walnut Street), which now lies buried under the grass and trees of lower Hunt Park. In his July 2002 Ann Arbor Observer article, "The Lost Streets of Ann Arbor," former AADL librarian, Don Callard, takes you on a fascinating historical tour down Ann Arbor's lost streets -- past Lulu's Court, down dangerous Chubb Street, over to Bowery Street and across the river to California Avenue. You'll find this article in our Streets and Roads binder on the second floor of the Downtown branch. Meanwhile, we've posted a handy list of former Ann Arbor street names and their current counterparts under the new Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County - History link from our AADL Select Sites.

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