THE MICHIGAN DAILY
es exist outside
a know. The city
tend far beyond
hery of the Uni-
City scenes: Recalling yesteryear
-or A2 as it
known - of-
md things to
ction be your
ins and the
mnd the new,
i the ecstasy
:hat will be
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By STU McCONNELL North and East University, is
"Sure," the orientation leader the latest to bit the dust-the
said, "there are lots of historic city has been working to pre-
spots around here. serve some of Ann Arbor's his-
"Over there, for example, is Being one of the few places
the Ann Arbor Bank buildig in the state which does not
which had all its windows broken claim either a great Indian
during the Sixties. Up the street battle or the founding of the
is the Administration building, Republican Party, Ann Arbor
where the, Black Action Move- stakes its claim to historical
ment strikers marched in 1970. fame on its numerous and fine
Then there's the mural on the old houses, some of which date.
LSA building that feminists used from the 1850's.
to deface, and the McDonald's .
restaurant everyone tried to stop The showpiece is the Kempf
them from building, and. House, 312 S. Division, which
cobblestone farmhouse as a
working farm museum.
If hefting stone and wood is
your thing, Marty Cohen, who is
organizing the reconstruction,
would appreciate your help (763-
All around the city are struc-
tures designated "Ann ;Arbor
Historic Houses," about 50 in
all. Only 15 of them are protect-
ed by a city ordinance from
modification-12 on North Divi-
All four houses at the cor-
ner of Division and Ann
Streets are historic sites, and
the red brick house on the
northwest corner contains a
mural which runs from the.,
base of the main staircase to
the upstairs landing. Painted
by an Italian artist in the
1930's, it tells the story of the
German Stabler family's jour-
ney to America. The Stabler
family owned the house after
1901, and have been Ann Ar-
bor residents since 1880.
"You scratch any German in
town and you'll find he's re-
lated to a Stabler," said Wystan
Stevens, curator of the Kempf
Another n o t a b l e residential
area is the Old West Side. Lo-
cated west of downtown, this
district is "a neighborhood of
modest homes which retains a
lot of its 19th Century charac-
ter," according to Louisa Pieper
of the Historic District Com-
mission. "It was going lownhill
for a while, but people began
caring about.it," she said. "Peo-
ple began to fight. They won."
Downtown are a number of
historic 19th Century buildings,
many of them currently being
restored and renovated. Mueh-
lig's dry goods store on the cor-
ner of Washington and Main is
the, last business in the state-
and one of the last in the coun-
try-to' use a string-operated
"cash carrying" system. The
customer's change is carried
from the mezzanine via a string
device which is better seen
i than described.
But there was an Ann Arbor
before the Sixties. And while
the University has been busy
dynamiting anything with a pre-
war cornerstone - Waterman/
B a r b'o u r Gynamisum, which
used to stand on the corner of
Fine Greek Food
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ATIQN PLATE - Pastitsio, Mdousako, Dolmades,
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provides modest office space for
the Historical District Commis-
sion in the basement. Built in
Greek Revival style in the early
1850's, the Kempf House con-
tains six rooms of antique fur-
niture and a garden. A museum,
The only other historic build-
ing maintained by the city is
Cobblestone Farm, located on
the city's southeast side in Buhr
Park, 2781 Packard. Work is cur-
rently in progress which will
restore the 1840's Greek Revival
FULL R AVEL
601 E: WILLIAM
Special University Service
Also downtown is the old
firehouse, corner of Fifth and
Huron. A new firehouse will
soon be built, and many plans
are currently up in the air
over what to do about the old
stone building, but Pieper says -
"It is owned by the city,
which considers it a very im-
portant historic site."
Although the -railroad depot
has now shrunk to one corner of
the old passenger station on
Depot Street, Ann Arbor was
once a main stop on the' line to/
Chicago ("halfway between Chi-
cago and Buffalo"), The station
opened in 1839 on the north side
of the Broadway bridge, and un-
til 1886 the passenger depot was
in a building which has since'
been converted to a residential
dwelling on Beakes Street. Most
of the current depot was sold in
1969 and subsequently turned in-
to the Gandy Dancer, an el
swanko restaurant with a rail-
Ann Arbor's churches date
back quite a ways. The oldest
church building is that of the
Presbyterian Church on East
Washington. No longer a church
(it hasn't been since 1860), it
now serves as a skarate studio.
The oldest church building still
in use is St. Andrew's Episcopal
on North Division, which opened
its doors in 1867.
Daily Photo by CHRISTINA SCHNEIDER
The old fire station, one of Ann Arbor's most famous land-
marks, is a mixture of yesterday and today. Shiny, modern
fire trucks sit under arched doorways which date to the turn
of the century; a television antenna perches atop the building.
The city is currently constructing a new station on Fifth Ave.
behind the old facility. The existing building will be converted
to another use.
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD 'STATION':
A2 sheltered slaves
By KEITH RICHBURG
While millions of.. Americans
thrilled to the adventures of
Kunta Kinte earlier this year in
the television adaptation of Alex
Hailey's Rdots, far fewer knew
that our own Ann Arbor was
once a center of abolitionist ac-
Ann Arbor's anti-slavery his-
tory can be traced from the
founding of the Michigan Anti-
Slavery Society to the more
illicit role of a "station" along
the underground railroad "line"
which ' transported runaway
slaves into Canada.
documentation! is unavailable,
the number of runaways actual-
ly transported through Ann Ar-
bor is estimated to have been
as high as 1,000 per year.
However, it is known that Ann
Arbor, one of the final stations
on a vast network of railroad
lines stretching north through
Ohio and Indiana, was the last
stop before Detroit, where fugi-
tives slaves were whisked
he helped runaway slaves make the street. "When people hear
their way to Canada: "It is with underground railroad, they im-
the utmost pleasure that we aid mediately think of underground
and assist them on their flight passages and tunnels," Bertoni
from southern kidnappers," he said. "The truth is that the sys-
said. tern just wasn't that well or-
Beckley's ardent abolitionism ganized."
gave rise to rumors and legend University History Professor
which continue to longer long James Horton agreed that the
after the era of slaves and slave underground railroad was not
the intricate network -described
in folklore. "It wasn't a very
formal organization," he said.
"In fact, it was a very infor-
r- WA mal organization. The under-
ground railroad was just peo-
' ple helping people."
'"e T As for the underSuground rail-
road activitiesinra nnArbor,
Horton said, "Yes, I knew it
(the Beckley house) existed
here, and also heard 'talk about
SOWO the old railroad station being
used as a hideout."
P HORTON SAID the role of
Daily Photo by CHRISTINA SCHNEIDER
Ann Arbor stakes its claim to historical fame on its numerous,
and fine old homes. The Kempf House, 312 S. Division, pro-
vides office space for the city's Historic District Commission.
Built in Greek Revival style in the early 1850's, the house
contains six rooms of antique furniture and a garden.
. 4 a , i
4 Public Service of this newspaper & The Advertising Council
across the Detroit River to
freedom in Canada.
Ann Arbor often served as a
rest stop, where slaves were
hidden in homes, until they
could be moved on safely. One
such home still stands at 1425
Pontiac Trail. This New Eng-
land Georgian home, whichdhas
since been declared a Michigan
Historic Building, was built by
abolitionist preacher Guy Beck-
ley around, 1840. Beckley, whose
anti-slavery sentiments were
well-known and equally well-
voiced, was chairman of the
Michigan Anti-Slavery Society
and co-editor of The Signal of
Liberty, Ann Arbor's then-abo-
catchers has ,gone. Some "old-
timers"from Ann Arbor's north
end still refer to the Beckley
house as "The Old Slave
House,"-while Ann Arbor. folk-
lore about secret passages and
unuderground t u n n e 1 s still
In reality, however, only a
few closets offer such secret
hiding places and dropped ceil-
ings. Mark Bertoni, the present
occupant of the Pontiac home,
restored in 1933, said much of
the talk about underground tun-
nels is "just fantasy."
- -' ---
blacks in the abolitionist move-
ment has been largely ignored
both in Ann Arbor and eastern
states. "Historiclly, you: hear
a lot about the white abolition-
ists," he noted, "but their part
was mainly providing money.
Black families did most of the
hiding of the runaways."
Horton said the very first abo-
litionist was the, "first slave
brought here from Africa."
And if Kunta Kinte had suc-
cessfully escaped the plantation
in Virginia, is it possible that
Alex Hailey's ancestor would
have ended up.right here in Ann
"Probably not," Horton said.
For the most'part, runaways fol-
lowed the trade routes, so it is
likely that Kunta Kinte would
have wound up in the East-
New York or Philadelphia. "Had
he been in - Misissippi, how-
ever~," Horton said, "chances
are, he would have come the
route through Ann Arbor."
ONE RUMOR HAS it that a
IN ONE TYPICAL Signal edi- tunnel underground once led
torial, Beckley confessed that to another house further down
When David had open heart surgery
not long ago, he needed six vital
units of blood, type O Neg. All of it
was obtained, processed and pro-
vided by the Red Cross blood center.
We're not the heroes of this
lifesaving story (the six wonderful
blood donors should get the med-
als). But we (and other voluntary
blood centers) do need your con-
tinued support. Blood, you know,
doesn't grow on trees. It comes from
donors. Uke you. And we f,
need more people like
you. Call your Red Cross
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