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September 04, 1980 - Image 96

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-04

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0

Page 6-C-Thursday, September 4, 1980-The Michigan Daily

A2 history: Growing with the

' '

By MARY FARANSKI
Lucy Morgan, a Connecticut native who came to
Ann Arbor in 1831 (seven years after the city's foun-
ding), once wrote, "It is the general opinion that there
is no better land than is to be found in Michigan. I do
not feel as if I should willingly return to either Ohio,
New York, or Connecticut to live. It is so much
pleasanter here."
This observation still holds true for many Ann Ar-
borites, though there are surely many from those
states who might think otherwise. Nevertheless, no one
can argue that this city combines the cultural diversity
of a large. metropolis with the ambience of a small
suburban town. Ann Arbor allows students, ranging
from your baseball cap toting fraternity man to your
Princeton-educated law student, to enjoy the num-
berous bars, restaurants, and cultural activities in a
setting devoid of excessive pollution and crime. .
Despite the fact that the University has played an in-
tegral role in creating this atmosphere, it remains
separate from the city, which is rare in a large college
town. However, the history of one is tied to the history
of the other in such a way that neither could have
grown to what it is today alone.
ANN ARBOR WAS founded in 1824 by two en-
trepreneurs, John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. Both low
in money and wanting to make quick fortunes on land
speculation, these enterprising men came upon a spot
45 miles west of Detroit, the only real village in the
Michigan Territory at that time. Together they pur-
chased 640 acres for the total sum of $800!
Several legends surround the naming of the city, but .
the most widely-believed is that "Ann" was chosen
because both founders had wives named Ann, and
"Arbor" referred to groves or shady "oak openings,"
one of which was believed to exist in the area.
Allen and Rumsey registered the land in Detroit.
Soon Lewis Cass, governor of the Michigan Territory,
virtually assured the survival of the new settlement by
making it the county seat of newly-established
Washtenaw County.
DETROIT NEWSPAPERS advertised the
availability of land in Ann Arbor, and one year after its
founding the city contained 30 to 40 families, some
mills, and a small school and soon after that, inns,
stores, and a blacksmith's shop.
The year 1837 was important for the village. First,
the University of Michigan, which was founded 20
years earlier in Detroit, moved to Ann Arbor after
legislative action. Five leading citizens of Ann Arbor
bought 200 acres of farmland east of State Street and
gave 40 acres to the new University. The first structure
associated with the institution were four professors'
houses and one classroom-dormitory structure which
was later called Mason Hall.
The next big event was statehood for Michigan. In
1836, in the three-year-old courthouse at the corner of'
Main and Huron Streets, a convention rejected the U.S.
Congress' proposal that Michigan give up Toledo for
the Upper Peninsula in order to win statehood. A later
convention in the courthouse reversed that decision
and in January, 1837, Michigan's star appeared on the
flag.
THE 1830 CENSUS showed a population of 973 in the
village, mostly people of British descent. However,
there was one five-member black family. In 1836 Ann
Arbor was the site of the passage of a resolution
espousing the cause of abolition and supporting free
blacks in gaining voting and educational rights through
the Michigan State Anti-Slavery Society.
Business and media exploded in the community, and
on October 17, 1939, the townspeople greeted the first
train to come to Ann Arbor on the newly-built tracks
which ran from Detroit. Soon after that, Huron Street
featured a boarding house catering to University
students.

Ann Arbor was incorporated as a city and gained a
charter and a mayor in 1851. By 1854, the city had
grown to a population of 3,339 and the University had a
student body of 224 with 17 faculty members. The
population was becoming more heterogeneous, with
Germans, Irish, and blacks moving in.
DURING THE CIVIL WAR, local businessman
George Hill offered a resolution that the people of Ann
Arbor "stand by the President of the United States in
the proper and continued performance of his duties in
executing the laws of the United States." Ann Arbor
did stand by the Republican Lincoln and continued to
be a Republican community until the last 1880s, when
prohibition became an issue.
A new city charter in 1867 extended city limits. Laws
expanded the area to have boardwalks and forbade the
slaughtering of animals within city limits.
In order to protect the morals of University students,
moves began to close gambling halls and brothels and

encouraging parents to keep the students' ears a
' home, forbidding driving near campus except by per-
mission, and drawing up laws prohibiting more than
two adults in the front seat and sitting in the driver's
lap.
Things had come a long way from the city's first
auto, built by Staebler and Son Cycle Specialists
(which was abandoned after it had difficulties clim-
bing hills).
The years of the first world war were characterized
by tensions in the city between the tight German con-
munity, founders of city breweries, and the rest of then
citizens. University enrollment declined as young men
went off to fight.
POSTWAR PROSPERITY made the city grow, and
the state's growing auto industry provided tax revenue
that was channelled into the University. Housing shor-
tages for students, so often thought of as a recent
phenomenon, plagued the 1920s students. Fraternities
and sororities were the predominant form of housing,

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THE FIRST CENTRALIZED headquarters of the Ann Arbor Fire
Department (above) was built in 1888. Before then, the department was
staffed primarily by volunteers, and its equipment was scattered in
various warehouses throughout the city. This building, located at the
corner of Huron and Fourth Sts., served as the downtown HQ for 89
years, and was retired in 1977 (just to the building's north, lies the new
fire department building-just a tad more modern). Local residents seem
to cherish the old structure, now an official "historical building" reg-
istered with the State of Michigan. In addition, money is being raised to
convert the building into a "children's hands-on museum." Fire Chief
Fred Schmid acknowledges the downtown landmark's popularity among
residentsi "The person that orders that building torn down would prob-
ably be hung."

to ban obscene materials. The number of saloons in the
city grew from 10 in 1860 to 49 in 1872. Police were
having an increasingly hard time controlling the
growing population.
The city was hit hard by the depression that followed
the Civil War, and many residents left the city. A north-
south railroad connecting Saginaw, Ann Arbor, and
Toledo was put off several times before its completion
in 1878. During one of the doubtful stages, the
newspaper Courier rationalized, "Every town cannot
be a manufacturing place. Our city is a literary city,
and as such we are proud of it ... should we attempt to
carry on all kinds of enterprise we should fail.
Everything for our educational interests and nothing
for outside wild speculators, is our motto."
PROSPERITY RETURNED later, and with it a
boom in the city and the ever-present University,
helped along by state grants. Before the turn of the
century the city's population doubled and the Univer-
sity student body tripled. Modern services like electric
lights, water, sewer systems, paved streets, and
telephones appeared. They were all supplied by
private companies, as city hall tried to keep taxes
down.
The city drew up a new charter in 1889 which gave
executive power to the mayor and legislative power to
city council. The Republican party briefly fell out of
- favor with citizens of Ann Arbor through their supphrt
of prohibition, but dominated City Hall until recently.
Student spending during the first two decades of the,
1900s stimulated local industry. Although the auto in-
dustry never succeeded here, heavy industry was
represented by the Hoover Steel Ball Company.
REFORM MOVEMENTS were big in Ann Arbor.
Committees for improving the city's appearance and
roads, groups stressing religious and moral values,
- and women's suffrage movements all appeared in the
city in the age of radios and horseless carriages.
Streets in the University area were unsafe for
pedestrians because of the increased number and
speed of cars. Student driving had to be controlled by

but dormitories and apartment houses went up at this
time, too.
The city underwent many public works improvemen-
ts during the Depression. University enrollment drop-
ped and construction of buildings for the institution,
which was a big part of the city's life during the 1920s,
came to a halt.
The mobilization for World War II helped Ann Arbor
recover. In 1945 a multi-lane highway to Detroit was
opened, and the city grew and diversified after the ar-
mistice. Technological advances at the University
played an important role both during and after the
war, giving the city the nickname "Research Center of4
the Midwest."
THE WAR ALSO marked the end of Ann Arbor''s
existence as a sedate college town. The population had
grown to 30,000 and the students numbered more than
12,000.
The Republican Party domination of local politics
began to falter in the 1950s because of the increasing
diversity of the city's population, and student votes
made the radical Human Rights Party a viable threat.
Skyscrapers and shopping malls changed the face of
the city in the late 60's and early 70's. Last Spring, the
University Board of Regents approved the controver-
sial option to buy a piece of University property on the
corner of Washtenaw and S. Forest Streets to local
developer John Stegeman. Stegeman has built many
apartment houses in the Ann Arbor area, including the 25
story Tower Plaza, located on the corner of E. William
and Maynard Streets. Stegeman; much to the dismay
of local politicians, residents, students, faculty, and a
few Regents, plans to build a 33 story multi-use com-
plex on the property. However, the plan must garner
the approval of the Ann Arbor City Council, which is
unlikely.
The Ann Arbor of today, not unlike that of the past,
derives its strength from diversity. The richness of the
University's campus and students, the culture and
uniqueness of the city-it all adds up to give this town
its individuality.

*

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,ad ;-
0

Briarwood shoppers paradise

301 S. State Street
Ann Arbor
761-4358

c Q4 "

2739 Plymouth Rd.
Ann Arbor
761-2518

(Continued from PageS)
Movie buffs will find that trips to
Briarwood become necessities, because
many first-run movies make their Ann
Arbor premieres in one of Briarwood's
four theatres. In the past year such
Academy Award winners as "Kramer
vs. Kramer" and "Apocalpse Now"
made their local debuts in a Briarwood
theatre. Also, "The Rocky Horror Pic-
ture Show" attracts hundreds of fans to
Briarwood each weekend for wild mid-
night shows.
CHORAL GROUPS and other

Distinctive Gifts

v

-I
3066 PACKARD ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN 48104 (313) 971-1355
would like you to
Sleep with the Best!

musical acts often provide entertain-
ment in Briarwood's spacious center
area, which also becomes the home of
Santa Claus every winter.
Getting hungry at Briarwood is never
a worry. Fast-food restaurants from
the Cathay House to Falafil Hut
abound, and Farrell's ice-cream parlor
is well-known for its unique sundaes
and enthusiastic birthday celebrations.
Briarwood can also offer students a
way to fill their wallets instead of em-
ptying them. "There are excellent part-
time job opportunities for students,"
says John Wagner, Briarwood
manager. Wagner estimates -that
nearly half of the mall's over 2000 em-4'
ployees hold part-time positions, and
adds that stores want more student
employees, especially in the upcoming
Christmas shopping season.
Briarwood is esay to get to. Students
with cars will find ample parking
available, and those without can just p
hop on the bus in front of the Union for a
direct ride to the mall.
t /
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AMONG THE business establishments
downtown that draw Ann Arborites out
of the suburbs is -the Downtown Rac-
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take advantage of the campus courts
for their competition.
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