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September 06, 1979 - Image 97

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-09-06

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 6, 1979-Page E-7
nn Arbor: It wasn't always this wa

It is sometimes difficult to imagine Ann Ar-
bor without the University. The development of
the institution that would eventually put Ann
Arbor on the map began more than a century
ago, and ever since, a healthy chunk of the
city's residents have been drawn here by the
growing college.
So it is not surprising that the history of the
school and that of Ann Arbor have been vir-
tually inseparable and interdependent.
The townsfolk cannot help but feel the effects
- both the advantages and disadvantages - of
the University. Similarly, few alumni look back
on their college days without many remem-
brances of the city.
ACTUALLY, THE roots of the University
had already been established in Detroit by the
time city founders John Allen and Elisha Rum-
sey reached this area. In January, 1824, the two
easterners had passed through the fur trading
post known as Detroit while searching for a
location for a new frontier community. When
they found a suitable spot along the banks of
the Huron River they set up camp in what later
grew to become the city as we know it today.
There has always been a great deal of
folklore surrounding the origin of the town's
name, but there is general agreement that
Allen and. Rumsey used "Ann" because it was
the first name of both their wives, and "Arbor"
(probably originally Arbour) because of the
many groves of trees found in the area.
The two men officially advertised their new
town in a Detroit newspaper after they had
purchased 640 acres of land foi' $800, with Allen
making the bulk of the investment.
WITHIN A YEAR of the city's founding, bet-
ween 30 and 40 families inhabited the city.. Not
surprisingly, education was an important
aspect of life to those people, and the first
school, housed in a log cabin, was established
in September, 1825.
In 1837 another school came to Ann Arbor -
the University of Michigan. With about 20 years
between the college's conception and its actual
founding in Ann Arbor, the University soon
became Ann Arbor's biggest industry.
Aside from the University's. influence,
history books say that churches played an im-
portant role in the early community. But it
seems that then, as now, the city may have
been somewhat reknowned for its unorthodox
reputation. Ann Morgan, an early Ann Arbor
citizen, wrote in 1831 that the city was "like
almost all places that grew up suddenly - not
distinguished for morality."
CITY GOVERNMENT in the early days of
Ann Arbor may not have seemed significantly
different than today. Formed in 1833, with
Allen as president, the original city gover-

THE DRAWING below was made
in 1880, when both the University
- and the city were in the early
stages of development. Although
most of the campus buildings
visible in the drawing are no
longer standing, there are
- several that can still be seen
today. The aerial photograph
(left) shows the same basic street
design that existed almost a cen-
tury ago, but the rest of the city
has obviously undergone drastic
and rubbish collection. The goal of the
Sanitation Committee was simply to make Ann
Arbor the first dustless, smokeless, and flyless
In an effort to reach the latter of their hopes,
the Sanitation Committee enlisted city school
children in the anti-fly campaign. Each child
was given a pamphlet about flies. Five-
thousand fly swatters were also distributed to
the youths, and bounties were paid for the dead
World events had a great effect on this quiet
college town. The First World War created
some ethnic tensions between the Anglo-Saxon
and Teutonic members of the community. The
Depression brought many Detroiters to the city
See CITY, Page8

ninent didn't haggle over potholes and illegal
mayoral elections. Instead, they passed laws
prohibiting "games of chance" and pigs in the
By the 1850s, Ann Arbor had solidified as a
community. In 1851, the city residents drafted
their first charter and elected their first
In the early days, as in the present, the
distinct mix of people living in the city gave
Ann Arbor a unique flavor. Much of the credit
for that must go to the University, which, since
its beginning, has offered an unusual interac-
tion between students, faculty, and residents of
the community..
BUT OF COURSE the early Ann Arborites
were in many ways far different from today's
city dweller. Most.of the early settlers were of

British ancestry and came from somewhere in
the eastern U.S. Later many German-
Americans moved in. In its early growing
years, at least 13 per cent of the city's residents
were foreign-born.
In the latter half of the century, Ann Arbor
apparently took a conservative turn. In the
1870s, city council closed Ann Arbor's gambling
halls and prohibited the sale, circulation, and
printing of "obscene, immoral, indecent, and
scandalous books, papers, or prints." And as in
other parts of the country, the gay nineties in
Ann Arbor were years of circuses, baseball,
and bicycling.
Economically, the city had leaned heavily on
the University for several decades, and in the
late nineteenth century, city officials decided
to try to establish a permanent industrial base.

The board succeeded: They found the city's
strength in milling.
Much like today, Republicans traditionally
ruled City Hall in nineteenth century. Except
for a short stint of Democratic domination in
the 1880s, the GOP firmly held the town in its
political grasp.
THE TURN OF the century meant a swing
toward the left for Ann Arbor. Two socialist
newspapers began publishing in the city
around 1910, and the Socialist Party even made
a creditable showing in the city electi-ori of 1913.
At the same time, several committees
emerged which stressed a neat city appearan-
ce-and they weren't fooling around. The City
Beautiful Committee pushed for the caring of
trees and shrubs and pressed for the
establishment of better methods of garbage

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