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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Applied Dynamics International, 1975


Applied Dynamics International, 1975
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Ann Arbor District Library



Millers Ice Cream


Millers Ice Cream

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Miller's, looking northeast, 1954


Miller's, looking northeast, 1954

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Blaich & Gates groceries, 1895


Blaich & Gates groceries, 1895

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Witham's drugs


Witham's drugs

Prominent philosopher and educator John Dewey lived in the house on the southeast corner of Forest and South University when he chaired UM's philosophy department from 1889 to 1894. A block of stores including Witham's Drugs was built around it in 1929. In 1970 Witham's was replaced by Village Corners, known for its wine selections and counterculture atmosphere.

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C-Ted's Standard


C-Ted's Standard

C-Ted's standard, the last of five gas stations on South University, was on the corner behind you. Attendants pumped your gas, checked your oil, and cleaned your windshield. Skilled mechanics serviced your car. The station closed in 1987, mourned by loyal customers. One woman told owner Chuck Wolfe it was worse than losing her dentist.

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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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South University looking northwest from Forest Avenue, 1954


South University looking northwest from Forest Avenue, 1954

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South University looking northeast from Church Street, ca. 1957


South University looking northeast from Church Street, ca. 1957

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