The Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit Program is a series of permanent sidewalk exhibits at sixteen landmark sites throughout downtown Ann Arbor.

Each exhibit has a theme. The first exhibit, installed in 1999, illustrates the hustle and bustle of town life that once centered on Courthouse Square. Subsequent exhibits throughout the downtown showcase the city's artistic heritage and the roles of business, banking, manufacturing and education in shaping the community.

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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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South University looking northeast from Church Street, 1960


South University looking northeast from Church Street, 1960

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The Campus Theater, 1957


The Campus Theater, 1957

Students and townsfolk in the early 1960s shared the fun of applauding or hissing during movies.

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