What's next for the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit Project?

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Listen in as local historians Ray Detter, Louisa Pieper and Grace Shackman talk about the origins, challenges and rewards of putting together the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibits Program. You'll hear about what's coming up (hint: books and corsets) and how our schools are planning to work the exhibit into the AAPS curriculum.

Lookback Time: The Detroit Observatory

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In Seeing In The Dark, author Timothy Ferris writes, "Peering far into space means looking deep into time gone by. This phenomenon, known as 'lookback time,' makes historians of stargazers." Historians and stargazers alike can enjoy a look back in time to 1854 by visiting the Detroit Observatory at 1398 E. Ann St. In its day, the Observatory housed the first large telescope constructed in the United States, for years the third largest refractor in the world. It was the training ground for many 19th century astronomers, saw the discovery of 21 asteroids and 2 comets, and remains the most important physical legacy of the University's early scientific preeminence. "I cannot speak of the Observatory without emotion," said former UM president Henry Tappan. "No one will deny that it was a creation of my own." (Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, MI)

Although the dome is currently not operational, rendering the telescope unusable, the Observatory was fully restored in 1998 and the astronomical instruments remain intact and operational. Read more about the Observatory's legacy and watch for upcoming open houses in conjunction with UM's winter theme semester.

It's Almost Here - The "NEW" University of Michigan Museum of Art

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On Friday, November 14 and Saturday, November 15, 9 am–12 pm, UMMA staff and volunteers will host an information open house outside the Museum's historic home, Alumni Memorial Hall (525 South State Street) to share refreshments and excitement about UMMA's reopening in spring 2009.

For a sneak preview of the new and renovated museum - check out the Michigan Daily article and the many stunning photos.

The history of South University

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This week the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit will dedicate four new wall displays that tell the story of South University from the late 19th century through today. The displays cover area businesses and images include a wonderful 1898 panorama of the area, Miller's Ice Cream, C-Ted's Standard gas station, Tice's Men's Shop and a glimpse of the home where philosopher and educator John Dewey lived. The dedication will take place Thursday, November 6, at 5:00 p.m. on the corner of South and East University.

Ann Arbor YMCA celebrates 150 years

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This Sunday, September 28, from 2-5 p.m. the Ann Arbor YMCA will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a parade, music and other special events. The above image, from the Making of Ann Arbor postcard collection, is of an earlier Ann Arbor YMCA building. More photographs and documents relating to the history of the Ann Arbor Y are on display at the Museum on Main Street until November 22.

Back to the New High School

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As Ann Arbor marks the opening of its newest high school, take a look at this 101-year-old photograph of the then-new Ann Arbor High School in 1907. It was the pride of Ann Arbor, with its attached Carnegie library, but as fate would have it everything but the library facade was torn down last year to make room for the soon-to-be North Quad dormitory. An earlier image of an Ann Arbor high school is this 1859 engraving from the Making of Ann Arbor collection.

Local Frank Lloyd Wright House for sale

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Click image for larger view and the text from Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor.

The William and Mary Palmer House, Ann Arbor's only Frank Lloyd Wright house, is on the market for the first time and the asking price is 1.5 million. The house, at 227 Orchard Hills Drive near the Arboretum, comes with original furniture and a collection of Wright's papers, but there's a catch--the house must remain as-is. Find out more about the Palmer House through AADL's Ann Arbor Architecture Archive, which includes the entry on the Palmer House taken from Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

On this date in history - Empire State Building Withstands Airplane Impact

The World Trade Center towers were not the first of New York’s skyscrapers to be hit by an airplane. On July 28, 1945, the Empire State Building withstood the impact of a U.S. Army Air Corps B-25 bomber. Fourteen lives were lost, but the steel structure remained standing after the unarmed trainer plane slammed into the building’s 79th floor. The accident was ruled by authorities to be caused by pilot error, after Lieutenant Colonel William F. Smith Jr., a decorated veteran of World War II and experienced pilot, apparently lost his way in the dense fog that had enveloped Manhattan that Saturday morning in July. Read all about this, and other interesting Empire State Building history, in John Tauranac's The Empire State Building : the making of a landmark. For you artsy readers, check out American photojournalist Lewis Hine's Lewis W. Hine : the Empire State Building.

"New" U of M Boat Livery on Argo Pond

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Submitted by Wystan Stevens
Click image for larger view.

Removed from an old photo album, the card sold for $40 in an eBay auction on July 16, 2008. The new owner is an Ann Arbor collector who uses the eBay alias "cheer."

The U. of M. Boat House had a name that implied congeniality toward student patronage, but it was a private enterprise. Erected in 1898 (when he was 41) by Paul G. Tessmer, whose big house (now the Elks Pratt Lodge) later loomed above it, the Boat House was located on the North Main Street edge of Argo Pond. A short biographical sketch of Tessmer in Beakes' Past and Present of Washtenaw County, Michigan (1906) discloses that Tessmer had 160 canoes for rent -- all of them built by himself. He had forty rowboats, too.

Here's Tessmer's boat house, on the west side of Argo Pond.

The Anton Eisele House

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Next time you're dining on the patio at Argiero's, look across the street at the stone lintels above the windows of the Anton Eisele House (216 Catherine), one of the few surviving buildings that illustrates Eisele's craft (another is 320-322 South Division) and his prosperous stone-cutting business that thrived on this block in the late 1800s. Eisele's home, built in 1869, and business are also featured in the 1874 plat map. When Eisele died in 1887, his stepson John Baumgardner continued the business, building a two-story structure across the street (demolished in the 1930s to build a gas station). The barn survives today as part of Argiero's restaurant.

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