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April 03, 1977 - Image 8

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Michigan Daily, 1977-04-03
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THE M .ICH...IGAN D A ..fY SUNDt -aYf M,.(i A/Lf -


April 3, 1977 April 3, 1977


q-I that old








Photos by A DY FR E3RG
DOWNTOWN has always been
the historicl r'ws"rehose
of Ann Arbor: a w1lk through
the all-vs and a-n~es srrornd-
ing Main Stre -, reveal ar-
chitect"rnl ,r"T""r from ever
stage of the city's 150-year-long
At Fifth and Hron, for in-
stance, a stately XVictorian fire
station stands across the street
from a New Deal newspaper
building and an ultramodern
City Hall. Further along, at
Fourth and Detroit, a neo-Aztec
office bilding faces a converted
livery stable and the back of a
sternly Classical post office.
Scattered thro'h thesarea are
hundreds of old homes, from
Greek Revivals to Dutch Co-
Until very re"entlv, most of
these buildings - esnecially the
older ones-stood littl chance
of escaning decay, defacement,
or demolition. But many Arbor-
ites have come to see them as a
valuable part of dowtown's at-
mosphere, and are taking steps
to preserve and find new uses
for them.
"People used to think it was
hopeless to try and renovate old
buildings," says Wystan Stevens
of the Ann Arbor Historical
Foundation. "That's beginning
to change now."
According to Stevens respect
for the past was never a very
strong consideration in thedays
of Ann Arbor's early growth.
Old homes and other. buildings
were casually torn down, for the
most part, during the develop-
ment of what is now the central
business district. And the zon-
inglaws ofstheearly twentieth
century, which set up separate
Mike Norton is a Daily Man-
againg editor.
- 1
i *

residential and commercial dis-
tricts, did little to improve mat-
ters: many buildings which for-'
merly had residential uses were
turned into warehouses" or torn
"And there was a kind of gen-
eration gap, too," Stevens adds.
"As recently as 10 years ago.
V i c t o r i a n architecture was
scorned; there was a big push
to tear down. these 'ugly old
monstrosities,' as they called
them. We lost our fine old
County Courthouse (demolished
in 1956) and the cornices on
most of our downtown build-
parking space downtown also
contributed to the mass destruc-
tion of old structures. When the
big movement to build down-
town narking lots came along in
the 1950s, says Stevens, whole
blocks were leveled.
Around the same time, store-
owners were beginning to dis-
cover they could change the
look of their buildings without
tearing them down. A facade of
stone, metal or tile could be put
n in front of the old storefront,
giving. it the smooth shiny
"modern" look. which was so
valued at the time. -
"There was a real binge of
facade-building in the early Six-
ties," says Stevens, "beginning
with the National Bank and
Trust Building on Main Street."
As late as the early Seventies,
Main Street stores like Kline's
were covering up their faces
with smooth facades, often de-
stroying permanently, many ar-
chitectural features of their
Itdwas the downtown bars
which led the movement toward
preserving the historical spirit
of their establishments. The
Pretzel Bell on Liberty, for in-
stance, had long managed to

cash in on the nostalgia of Uni-
versity alumni. But in 1968, Ned
Duke bought a 'storefront on
West Washington and turned it
into Mr. Flood's Party, a noisy
cabaret filled with old woodwork
and Tiffany glass- it was an in-
stant success.
Other enteroris-s oldiklv fol-
lowed on the l eels of Mr.
Flool's. In March of 1969, the
Dr. Chase Building on North
Main an antebellum edifice
which had long been boarded up
and used as a warehouse-was
purchased, remodeled top to

structures according to their fit-
ness for preservation and their
worth to the community. The
survey, which divides downtown
buildings into four categories of
hitoric!'l or architectural value,
is intended to act as a blueprint'
f r City Hall decisions about
nr-serwation and destruction.
The Downtown Plan approved
by City Council last year also
makes provisions for conserva-
tion of the historic flavor of
'much of the downtown area.
The Plan's function is much like
that of the 1973 survey: to point

.a man aa5 a
.s aiiit

bottom and made into a com-
bined shopping/office operation
called Miller-Main Shops.
"The easy thing to do, of
course, would have been to go
outside the downtown area and
build," says Carl Johnson, a
partner in the firm which bought,
and renovated the biulding. "But
we decided to stay here, and
we're glad we did. It inspired a
real incentive in this area; it
gave people confidence."
SINCE THAT TIME, the trend
toward preservation and re-
cycling of old buildings has
picked up speed and strength.
In 1970, City Council passed the
Ann Arbor Historic Preservation
Ordinance, which established a
Historic District Commission to
study and make recommenda-
tions on the retention and res-
toration of the city's architec-
turally and historically valuable
In 1973, the Commission spon-
sored a lengthy survey of the
d o w n t o w n area, classifying

out directions to city, officials
who must decide how the de-
velopment of downtown will pro-
ceed. It sets aside certain areas
which are to be left undisturbed,
and recommends other, less
sensitive' areas for light or
heavy development.
Last year, Ann Arbor Tomor-
row (AAT) sponsored a Down-
town Facade Study to guide
property owners in the restora-
tion of stroefronts which would
harmonize with the architectural
character of their buildings.
Encouraging as these guide-
lines and studies may be, there
are still formidable problems to
be overcome for those who wish
to preserve or recycle old down-
town buildings.
PERPHAPS THE greatest ob-
stacle is in finding enough
money to finance a creative
renovation; banks and other
lending institutions have gener-
ally been shy of committing
funds to what could be a mar-
ginal or disastrous venture.

"You really have to prove
you've got a profitable thing on
your hands," says Bonnie De-
Loof of DeLoof and Associates,
a small local firm which has
made a specialty of renovations.
"It helps if you already have a
couple of' projects that tell a
story, that show renovation can.
be economically feasible."
A number of solutions to the
financial problem have been put
forward. One has even been im-
plemented: the formation of a
consortium of local banks to
back downtown projects. Such
an arrangement has been made
to fund the renovation of the
Old Earl Hotel on West Wash-
ington, and is being made avail-
able to businessfolk who decide
to restore their fronts as recom-
mended in the Downtown Fa-
cade Study.
Another likely solution, so far
not put into use, would be the
extension of a limited tax break
to renovAtors by City Hall. Such
tax relief is already being pro-
posed to encourage developers
of downtown housing, and the
s a m e enticements might be
used on firms who wish to use
already-existing buildings rather
than build new structures or
move away from downtown.
But many groups already try-
ing to renovate are running afoul
of hastily-passed legisaltion re-
quiring barrier-free construction
for handicapped persons. The
peculiar structural features of
most old buildings prohibit the
ramps, elevators and other aids
required by the law. Builders
are, however, presently trying
to find creative ways of incor-
porating such aids into their
projects, and it seems likely
that legislation to relax some of
t h e Handicapped Ordinane's
stricter regulations will be forth-
coming in the near future.
YET MANY owners show little
enthusiasm to renovate-or
even preserve-their buildings.
Some are landlords who can de-
pend on rental profits no matter
what shape their properties are
in; some are businessmen who
"simply prefer if o r m i c a and
chrome to wood and plaster.
"There isn't any way we can
pressure these people into co-
operating with us," says Stev-
ens. "They figures It's my prop-
erty and I'll do as I damn well
please with it.' " Very little out-
side of gentle persuasion can be
brought to bear against such
owners, he adds, and persuasion
only occasionally works;
One possible source of pres-
sure could be exerted by city
government through its zoning
laws, and some steps are being
taken in that direction by the
City Planning Department. City
planners are now revamping
the municipal zoningrordinance
to restrict new development
from designated areas of the
downtown district. ,But more
forceful action has yet to be
taken, largely because city of-
ficials lack .direction.
All in all, however, the situa-
tion is likely to improve; a
small but vocal core of preser-
vationists has grown up in Ann
Arbor, and City Hall tends to
listen to the loudest voices. A
number of historic landmarks
may be demolished before the
issue is finally decided - but
many have already been saved
and many. more will be spared
through the efforts of outspoken
citizens' groups.
"It's happening everywhere
you go," says DeLoof. "When
you look around at what's going
on all over the country, you see
people going back to the central
cities and rebuilding; it's the
way things are going."

111,* te

SEXUAL REVOLUTION: a phrase which has
invaded our household vernacular as has
Mary Hartman and J.immy Carter but remains
as cumbersome to comprehend as Watergate
and Vietnam. Ever since the "burn the bra" era
of the sixties, we have been reminded by count-
les media hypes and autobiographical accounts
that there has been an upheaval in our accepted
sexual norms. All around us we see young men
and women exploring each other, sharing in-
timacies, we are told, which many of their
parents didn't experience until after many years
of marriage if at all. Women, in general, are
learning to appreciate themselves more and
are turning to such activities as dance, karate,
and running to get themselves more attune with
their bodies. Sex clinics, Planned Parenthood
agencies, self-help collectives where women can
receive birth control education and contracep-
tives, counseling and abortion agencies have
sprung up everywhere. And what was formerly
most sacred cherry of all, virginity, has found
the new meaning for many in today's world.
But the arrival of the sexual revolution still
puzzles us. We have a vague notion that it is an
outgrowth of the sixties but still regard it in
awe as it has not yet received an adequate ap-
praisal. Then, others maintain there simply has
been no drastic change in our sexual outlooks.
Amidst this uncertaintty, however, are two
specific reports on human sexuality which off:.
-ered us some solid ground for understanding
what came about in that most important decade.
These revolutionary studies, completed by Al -
fred Kinsey in 1965, followed by William Mas-
ters and Virginia Johnson in 1970, were the first
major scientific works regarding human sexual
physiology and response.
One of their breakthrough findings was that
all women's orgasms are caused by stimulation
of the clitoris, whether direct or indirect. Hence,
they dispelled the then-popular myth that fe-
male orgasms were caused by friction against
the walls of the vagina due to the thrusting
motion occuring during intercourse. Also, these
researchers found that a majority of the women
in their samples were unable to orgasm during
intercourse at all.
7[ODAY, AMERICANS are once again respond-
ing with fervor to a new nationwide study of
female sexuality ,which has its roots in these
pioneer reports but is actually quite different
in nature and method of data collection. New
Yorker Shere Hite has compiled a basically sub-
jective, non-statistical study and has released
her findings in her new book, The Hite Report.
Hite, who used an unique open-ended question-
naire, relies almost exclusively on quotes to
enable both women and men to learn about fe-.
male sexuality from first hand accounts.
Hite provides the forum for women to get
acquainted with each other; her book is not a
place to immortalize the sexual revolution or
measure the amount of actual personal change
it has brought about. Rather, it is an attempt to
extend "it, to allow people to ask themselves
those nagging questions which they have re-
garded with caution for so long.
Hite, 34, who received responses from 3,019
women ranging from 14 to 78, concentrates her
questions primarily on masturbation, orgasm
and intercourse. She asks detailed questions
about how women feel while experiencing these
acts-physically, emotionally and psychological-
ly. Some sample questions are: "Is having sex
important to you? What part does it play in
your life and what does it mean to you?" "Do
you enjoy masturbation? How many orgasms
do you usually have? How do you masturbate?"
"Do you like vaginal penetration/intercourse?
Laurie Young is a regular Daily staff writer.

person, then we are n
ing whether or not wv
are powerless.
"It is not a question
an orgasm, and then
or vice versa. Fixing
also keeps physical r
mechanical pattern.
always be directed a
genital stimulation. I
ways to relate physics
Male sexuality too mi
elude many more op
most hysterical emoti
course and o r g a s n
What is really needed
or that is, an un-de
and an expansion o
relations to another
Hite's theories on he
extend easily to the par
with lesbianism. In the
that mode of sexual e
offer a woman an oppo
taneous, caring experie
play-intercourse routin
Says Laura Sky Brow
of women which put o
"Leaping Lesbians,"
validates lesbianism b4
order to be sexual won
need a man. But its p
heterosexual women.
"In terms of lesbians
we've known all along v
And the important thi
go into our own sexua
that-but to build our
ture and political theor
litical interpretatio
not tell us anything a
from Kinsey and Mastc
Biology Prof. John A'
Hite Report "required
"Without those studies
Hite's study, which
per cent return on her
disappointing because
scientific technique. V
port to have created
she leads us to believ
substantiated. For on
bias to her findings be
questionnaires througl
such as the National
(NOW), Ms. Magazine,
women's groups and
Women who participa
are likely to be more v
late than the average
cent return is not an
just as 3,000 response
Jan BenDor, a coun
feminist counseling' s
that the language Hite
was often too confus
report over, I would in
language. Some questc
if I asked) 'Do you wal
tific technique if
that she uses her finc
political stance. It se
quotes and juggle her
says, "One has to ass
honest when he or :she
But Hite has some
her book to say and l

draws may seem. clear

Physically? Psychologically? Does it lead to or-
gasm usually, sometimes, rarely or never? Did
you learn to have orgasms during intercourse,
or did you always have them?"
Hite maintains that the present definition of
male and female sexuality is inadequate. She
bases her theory on these statistics: of the wo-
men in her population who masturbate, 96 per
cent of them orgasm, while only 44 per cent
orgasm by means of clitoral stimulation with a
partner. Likewise, Hite says, only 30 per cent of
her population who orgasmed and who has had
intercourse, orgasms during intercourse without
extra stimulation.
The report concludes that women know how
to orgasm but simply aren't being satisfied. She
blames norms which appear to be male-oriented
and dominated, best exemplified by the typical
sexual routine of foreplay-intercourse-orgasm
(male, that is)--roll over and go to sleep. She
says it not only deprives the women of the
chance to get-extra stimulation they might need
during intercourse but the routine,-intimidates
them to such a degree as to prevent most from
asking for it,
XTHILE HITE'S findings and conclusions are,
for the most part, reaffirmations of those
found in earlier reports, she uses them to sup-
port her feminist political theory:
"The right to orgasm has become a politi-
cal question for women. Although there is
nothing wrong with not having orgasms,
and nothing wrong with emphaizing with
and sharing another person's pleasure, there
is something wrong when this becomes a
pattern where the man is always having an
orgasm and the woman isn't.-If we make it
easy and pleapurable for men to have an
orgasm, and don't have one ourselves, aren't
we just 'servicing' men? If we know how to
have orgasms, but are unable to make this
a part of a sexual relationship with another

- of

The two strategies for preserving downtown's historic character are illustrated above. Miller-Main Shops (iet) are me prouuct uo
creative renovation of an old and disused building. The old' city firehouse (right) is an example of a structure whose original archi-
tecture has been left largely unchanged.

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