Brewed in Ann Arbor

Jan1992Jan1992

With another brewery set to open, this seems like a good time to reflect on the history of drinking and brewing in Ann Arbor. Local historian Grace Shackman has written about the old Ann Arbor Brewing Company on 4th Street and the once-popular Court Tavern. And did you know that an old West Side bar once stood on Bach school's playground? You can feast on several other articles detailing the history of drinking and dining in Ann Arbor...and while you're at it, why not raise a toast to Ann Arbor's Lost Eateries?

AADL Productions Podcast: Lola Jones and Carol Gibson

Lola Jones and Carol Gibson are well-known to anyone familiar with Ann Arbor history. Over the past 30 years they have sought out and documented the history of the African American experience in Ann Arbor through a series of projects under the moniker Another Ann Arbor; it is largely through their work that the Ann Arbor African American story is a part of our shared community identity. Lola and Carol stopped by the library to talk with us one day about the work they have done over the years and where they are headed next. They shared with us some of the interesting people and events they have learned about and brought to the community in their television program, their documentaries, and their book.

You can now watch one of their documentaries online at aadl.org in our video collection. A Woman's Town was produced in 1991 and tells the story of Ann Arbor through the voices of prominent African American women.

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AADL_Productions_Podcast-Lola_Jones_Carol_Gibson.mp3 30.8 MB

A century ago: Christmas in Ann Arbor

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On Christmas, 1909, the staff of Fred Hoelzle's butcher shop worked all night cutting fresh meat for their customers' holiday celebrations. (Click on the photo for a larger view.) Read more about the shop and Metzger's restaurant in our digital collection of Then and Now columns from the Ann Arbor Observer.

AADL Productions Podcast: David Alan Grier

When David Alan Grier was in town to promote his book, Barack Like Me: The Chocolate-Covered Truth, Eli had a chance to chat with him about growing up in Detroit and his time in Ann Arbor while attending the University of Michigan in the late 1970s. DAG also talks about his work on In Living Color and Dancing with the Stars; celebrity and the internet; and Obama's inauguration.

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AADL_Productions_podcast-DAG.mp3 31.71 MB

Forest Hill Cemetery Interpretive Tours

Founded in 1857, Forest Hill is Ann Arbor's oldest cemetery, rich in history and remarkably colorful this time of year. Indeed, it's a perfect time for an interpretive tour of the graveyard with local historian Wystan Stevens, who leads groups through the grounds with stories of Ann Arbor's history every Sunday from Oct. 4 - Nov. 8 starting at 2pm. Be sure to catch him this time around, for Stevens will end his popular 30 year tradition this year. The tours are $10 for adults and free for children, and they begin at the cemetery gate on Observatory, north of Geddes. Additional information is available at 734.662.5438. For a further glimpse into the lore of Michigan's past, try the books Ann Arbor Area Ghosts, and Ghost Towns of Michigan.

Now online: The Signal of Liberty newspaper

Signal of Liberty issueSignal of Liberty issue

Take a step back to the 1840s when a cord of hickory wood or "produce of every description" assured Ann Arborites a year's subscription to The Signal of Liberty--the voice of the Liberty Party in Michigan and the state's most prominent antislavery newspaper. Published in Ann Arbor above a shop on Broadway by Theodore Foster and Reverend Guy Beckley, whose home on Pontiac Trail was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, The Signal of Liberty brought Ann Arborites seven years of emotionally charged news from the many stories of slavery's outrages to the speeches of great statesmen and important national issues of the day, to more sobering local news, notices, and advertisements for dubious health cures. You can now browse The Signal of Liberty or search the full text online.

AADL Productions Podcast: Carol Mull and the Underground Railroad

Carol MullCarol Mull

A few days ago we spoke with Carol Mull, a local historian of the Underground Railroad. Carol talked about her upcoming book on the Underground Railroad in Michigan and her work with the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission. She also spoke about some of the gems she found in The Signal of Liberty, a 19th century abolitionist newspaper published in Ann Arbor. On Saturday, October 17, Carol will be on hand at the launch event for The Signal of Liberty online. A related bus tour of local stops on the Underground Railroad will take place Sunday, October 18 at 2:00.

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AADL_productions_podcast-Carol_Mull.mp3 12.30 MB

Sign up for the Journey to Freedom tour

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On Sunday, October 18, from 2-5:00 p.m., the African American Cultural & Historical Museum (AACHM) will host a special "Journey to Freedom" bus tour. This popular tour of historical points of interest on the Underground Railroad--an official tour of the National Park Service--is led by Deborah Meadows of the AACHM. The bus departs from the front of the Industrial Technology Building on the campus of Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E. Huron Drive. (map) and tickets are $15. To reserve a seat, call 734-476-3158 or email deborahmeadows2@msn.com. This special tour accompanies the launch of The Signal of Liberty online, Saturday, October 17, from 2-4:00 p.m.

The Signal of Liberty, Ann Arbor's 1840s-era abolitionist newspaper, goes online

Signal of Liberty issueSignal of Liberty issue

Join us at the Traverwood branch on Saturday, October 17, 2-4:00 p.m. to help us launch the online version of Ann Arbor's Signal of Liberty newspaper. The full text of this abolitionist newspaper, published in Ann Arbor in the 1840s, will be available online for the first time. Carol Mull, local historian of the Underground Railroad in Michigan, will be on hand at the launch to talk about some of the unique content in the Signal of Liberty and its role in her research; and Library staff will demonstrate browsing and full text access to over 12,000 articles and 312 issues of the newspaper. This project was done in partnership with the Bentley Historical Library and Digital Library Productions Services.

On Sunday, October 18, from 2-5:00 p.m., the African American Cultural and Historical Museum will host a related "Journey to Freedom" bus tour of local stops on the Underground Railroad. Click here for additional information about the tour.

Striking up the band for Labor Day

Otto's BandOtto's Band

Otto’s Band used to help Ann Arbor celebrate Labor Day, marching from downtown to Schwaben Park at Madison and Fifth for a picnic for labor union members. Starting around 1875 and continuing for about 50 years, this fascinating band drummed up enthusiasm by marching in parades, playing at dances, giving concerts, and sending soldiers off to war. Once the band became professional, participants became the first local members of the musicians’ union. Among other honors was being the first to play the U-M fight song, “The Victors.” Read all about the band in Ann Arbor Observer Then and Now.

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