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September 13, 1960 - Image 126

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1960-09-13
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The City and the


Ann Arbor's Complex Contin

(Y THE SURFACE of a softly
rolling land, sprinkled with
farm, forest, an occasional lake
and the curling Huron River, Ann
Arbor was settled almost 150 years
Like other early Michigan towns,
Ann Arbor was a farming com-
munity. Wheat, corn and cattle
were the centers of attention.
Travellers moving west often
stopped to rest in the fresh, lovely
atmosphere of a glade (now west
of town) called Ann's Arbor after
the wives of two early settlers.
Blessed by its natural surround-
ings, Ann Arbor was quiet, idyllic.
ANN ARBOR had been settled
by men pushing west from the
fur-trading post of Detroit. Only
15 years after the community was

established, a different sort of
movement west from Detroit was
to alter Ann Arbor life perma-
nently. The University of Michi-
gan, founded in Detroit in 1817,
was transplanted in 1937 to the
green environs of Ann Arbor.
Like the town, the University
was small and tranquil. It was
composed of only a few buildings,
operating on a modest budget,
somewhat withdrawn from worldly
Together, the University and
the city generated an atmosphere
that has been reflected in the
Myth of the American College,
namely a small, unhurried spot
tucked away in verdant softness
from the sordid world.

and Hill, with their stately trees,
are reminders of the early times.
In fact Ann Arbor's dualism -
serene beauty and hurrying tech-
nology-is an appealing quality to
But the appeal would be far less
--or at least far different-were
it not for the presence of the Uni-
versity and its influence on the
city's atmosphere,
111E UNIVERSITY is responsible
for Ann Arbor's projected
image, much of its light industry
and research, and, finally, its dis-
tinctiveness as an American city.
The relationship of the Univer-
sity and the city has been mark-
edly cordial over the years. A Uni-
versity pamphlet printed in 1957,
declares relations "have always
been warm and friendly. Inevitably
in a partnership that extends over
120 years there have been prob-
lems. But to the credit of both in-
stitutions, the traditional bond of!
common identification in the in-
terests of the community has fos-
tered a cordial cooperative ap-
proach in resolving the problems."
In general, the University and

the city do get along-and this is
not the situation in many a col-
lege town across the country.
ATNARBOR'S contribution to
the University has sometimes
been financial; as early as 1884 it
gave $10,000 in bonds for construc-
tion of medical buildings. But, one
suspects, the city's overriding con-
tribution has been an attitude of
general toleration.
From the thing it tolerates, the
University, Ann Arbor derives its
flavor. With the University, Ann
Arbor becomes more than a mid-
western town of 50,000; it is, in
publicity phrasing, "the Athens of
the Midwest," symbolizing the ele-
ments of culture ingrained in the
city atmosphere by the University.
Drama, concerts, exhibits, lec-
tures, library and museum dis-
plays and other intellectual ac-
tivity, plus Big Ten athletic
competition, are all afforded the
public by the University. Collec-
tively, they generate an attractive
and distinctive aura.

board on the outskirts of Ann Ar-
bor, proclaiming that the visitor
is now entering the "Research
Center of the Midwest."
Certainly the University under-
takes most of the research activity.
But Ann Arbor in recent years has
attracted research of its own, due
largely to the existence of the Uni-
versity. The most notable examples
are the gleaming Bendix and
Parke-Davis plants northeast of
the city. Somewhat like Stanford
and Palo Alto, MIT and Boston,
the University and Ann Arbor have
fallen into a curious parallelism
of education and civic develop-
ment, for better or worse.
W>uND UP with the cultural
advantages and research pos-
sibilities are various economic ad-
vantages provided the city by the

University people have held seats
on the City Council.
HOWEVER, for all its "together-
ness aspects, the University-
city relationship does contain sev-
eral discordant themes.
Bad feelings erupt repeatedly, in
different areas, in different ways,
in different magnitude. As a state
institution, the University is ex-
empt from local taxation, and this
fact breeds suspicion. As the Uni-
versity grows and city services to
the institution increase, city costs
increase; the areas of police and
fire protection are obvious ex-
A few years ago, the City Coun-
cil demanded the University re-
imburse the city for service pro-
vided. After securing a University
agreement to pay part of the cost
of fire protection, police salaries
and maintenance, matters were
considerably soothed.

cials to work actively against dis-
crimination in all areas of the
University community.
One such area, which will surely
cause antagonisms, is discrimina-
tion in housing units owned by
local landlords. A committee last
spring worked out a proposal to
deny University services to dis-
criminatory landlords. Negative
reaction was quickly felt from
some segments of the community,
and may continue to be felt this
In another disputed area of race
relations, Creal has refused to re-
appoint University "liberals" to
the City HumanRelations Com-
mission. They have run into oc-
casional trouble with various city
elements who disagree with their
openly liberal views.

stallation of several impersonal
apartment houses along the bank
of the Huron. Green space At the
University is diminishing, with the
exception of the Arboretum.
velopment, including everything
from buildings to huge parking
structures, the University and Ann
Arbor are gradually losing their
And somehow, one suspects Ann
Arbor will lose much of its appeal
if it too strongly moves to industry
and manufacturing,
The Ann Arbor dualism-natur-
al beauty and hurrying technology.
-is one of its most appealing as-
pects for the man who wants both
the shady grove and the cement
As the University continues its
steady growth, and as the city
falls more and more into the sci-
entific researc horientation, one
important and reasonable question
should be raised by local citizens
-Is this really the direction in
which we want to go, and If so,
can the natural loveliness of our
environment long be preserved?

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