PAGE FOUR THE MICHIGAN DAILY
TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 1953
TUESDAY. APRIL 21. 1953
Few Slums Dot Even Older
Area; Fine Homes Prevail
* .t *
By DOROTHY MYERS
Even a cursory glance at Ann
Arbor homes reveals that they are
built and maintained better than
in the average community of this
size throughout the nation.
Few slums can be found in the
city, and even in areas of low-cost
housing, built 50 or more years
ago, homes are clean and well-
kept. Lawns are mowed or raked,
depending on the season and
seldom are several large families
crowded into one small house.
* * *
ONE OF THE main reasons for
good up-keep of local homes is that
(Continued from Page 1)
parking space near major traf-
fic arteries, and maintaining a
rapid and efficient local road
and traffic system.
To alleviate these major prob-
lems, the commission report for-
sees the necessity of $7,000,000 in
sewer and water main expense.
Construction of 33 new schools
costing more than $29,000,000 in
1950 prices is regarded as a neces-
sity to provide adequate educa-
tional facilities for the 31,000 new
children expected to crowd schools
in the metropolitan area.
* * *
IN TERMS of space, 830 acres
(two and a half per cent of the
metropolitan area) is considered
a basic requirement for local
schools. Recreational facilities
taking up four and a half per
cent of the area are also recom-
The proposed Huron-Clinton
Metropolitan Parkway Author-
ity is seen as a recreational pro-
ject that might fulfill these
needs and accommodate both
the regional and strictly urban
Necessary expenditures of $12,-
000,000 for area streets and,high-
ways are also forecast in the re-
At present 52,000 registered ve-
hicles in the county swell the
steady local traffic stream, but by
1970, 70,000 vehicles will be regis-
AS THE anticipated population
growth brings problems in provid-
ing adequate facilities, it also
makes property valuations and tax
yields take a substantial jump.
A conservative commission es-
timate indicates that property
valuations for the area will rise
from the 1951 total of $152,-
000,000 to a figure of $317,000,000
On a 15 mill basis, county tax
tax net today is $2,280,000, but is
expected to increase to $4,755,000
by 1970. With these estimates in
Smind, county planners expect that
problems of providing the increas-
ed facilities can be met.
At any rate, by developing
county area studies local leaders
hope to ease the expected gigantic
transition now underway, and lay
a firm foundation for metropoli-
tan area prosperity as Ann Arbor
and Ypsilanti come increasingly
of age in the next 20 years.
Ann Arbor has always been noted
as a stable residential community.
(More then 50 per cent of the
metropolitan areas in Ann Arbor
and Ypsilanti are residential.)
While families have to pay
prices well above the national
average when they purchase or
build a home, they can be as-
sured of getting a high price for
the sale of the house several
Because there is relatively little
in the way of heavy manufactur-
ing in the area, Ann Arbor has
become a haven for retired people
who want to escape the din, traf-
fic and dirt of a large mertopolis,
and yet desire to have the cul-
tural advantages that the Uni-
versity town offers.
* * .
A HOUSING shortage, which be-
gan during the 1930's, but greatly
increased during World War II,
when building materials were re-
stricted, is. still a major factor in
the high cost of houses.
To alleviate the local cost
crisis, several local housing de-
velopments have been started in
the past five years.
Among the projects is the Ged-
des Road development, where an
economy-minded family can pur-
chase a small, 'but high-quality
home for a reasonable price.
Fortunately for Ann Arbor, the
builders of these developments
have not resorted to the "cookie-
cutter" houses so popular in other
* * *
AMONG the more expensive re-
sidential districts, for which Ann
Arbor is noted throughout the
State and nation, is Barton Hills,
a neighborhood of spacious homes
averaging about $45,000 each.
Even Barton Hill residents
have some cause of worry con-
cerning the future of their area.
With the growing shortage of
labor, it has become increasingly
difficult for owners to maintain
these luxurious homes.
Among the most interesting re-
sidences in the area is that of
Prof. Ralph Hammett of the Ar-
chitecture School and Mrs. Ham-
mett. This home, built 112 years
ago by the owner of a local anti-
slave publication, has a colonial
exterior and has been decorated
inside with modern and traditional
furniture. Articles from Asia give
a slight Oriental flavor to the
A deteriorating house on S. Main
is one of the oldest houses left
in the city. Constructed more
than 150 years ago, the home is
presently boarded up, with most
of its windows broken. Leaves,
trash and rain have sifted under
the basement and first-floor doors
and clutter the floors inside.
In the yard on one side of the
house is a century-old doll-
house made entirely of logs in
the traditional log-cabin style.
Part of an unsettled estate, the
would-be owners of the property
have now taken the case to court
so that clear ownership may be
* * *
CONSIDERED one of the out-
standing Greek-revival houses in
the State is the home of Mrs.
James A. Sallade. With its impos-
ing gray Doric columns and thick
stone walls, the house stands as
a manument to a by-gone age.
Modern architecture is well-
represented locally in the home
of Prof. William B. Palmer of
the economics department and
Mrs. Palmer. Designed by the
famed Frank Lloyd Wright, the
Orchard Hills Drive home was
just completed three months
STATELY IONIC PILLARS ADORN THE SALLADE HOME.
Stays at High
Local residents pay 20 to 25 per
cent more for Ann Arbor homes
than similar housing would cost
in Detroit and other Michigan ci-
According to several local real-
tors and contractors, prices for
Ann Arbor homes and apart-
ments have always been above the
state and national average. Both
realtors and contractors add that
Ann Arbor dwellers usually pur-
chase higher-quality houses than
people in other areas do.
KENNETH HEININGER, man-
ager of a local contracting firm,
said Ann Arbor's strict building
code accounts for much of the ex-
tra cost. Builders here must use
more expensive materials in house
construction than are required in
other cities, he, explained.
Last year the City Council set
up a special committee to study
and suggest revisions of the lo-
cal building code. Heininger, a
member of the committee, said
the group recommended that
the present code be abolished
and inspection of all construc-
tion works by a qualified civil
engineer be substituted.
The suggestion, which would re-
quire complete revamping of sev-
eral city departments and offices,
has never been acted upon by the
Council, Heininger said.
George W. Sallade, newly-elec-
ted President of the City Council,
said the new council will prob-
ably begin discussions on the pro-
posed changes in the method of
approving construction works in
the near future.
* * *
A LOCAL contractor reported
that labor costs are more expen-
sive in Ann Arbor because of
heavy competition between pri-
vate business and the University
to secure labor to work on build-
Contractors, he said, bid for
scarce local labor forces by of-
fering workers added travel and
health benefits in addition to
their regular pay.
Heininger commented that a
strictly-enforced union by-law
preventing sub-contracting of la-
bor also adds to the costs of build-
ing. Instead of hiring a carpenter
or painter to work piece-meal, he
explained, local contractors must
pay on the basis of hourly wages.
"This often means that there is
less incentive for labor to work as
quickly as possible," he concluded.
Another reason advanced for
the high cost of local housing is
the huge demand for new homes
which has overcome the limited
supply of housing in the area.
" * *
A MODERN HOME IN THE GEDIES RD. SUBDIVISION
* * . ,
One of Ann Arbor's most famous
landmarks will soon disappear as
the new $3,350,000 County Court
House rises on the site now oc-
cupied by the present building.
The old building will be used
while construction on the new
fireproof structure rises around it.
Under plans now being studied be-
fore construction begins, the Court
House will be a 'U' shaped affair f
with parking facilities for more
than 200 cars in the center.
IT WILL be bound by E. Huron,
N. Main, N. Fourth and E. Ann
and will provide room for the
operations and services now being
carried on in the old building and
for the county departments pre-
sently located in other buildings.
Present plans call for the
structure to have three floors
but it is designed so an addi-
tional three stories can be added
in the future. Once construc-
tion begins the building is ex-
pected to be completed in 14
An involved legal battle took
place before the site was approv-
ed. Factions from the southeas-
tern part of the county favored a
site on Washtenaw Ave., but lost
out in a heated Board of Super-
visors meeting last May.
Factors in favor of the Main
St. location included: nearness to
trains and bus depots, accessabil-
ity for townspeople and lawyers,
central location for the county's
population, present ownership of
property and location next to the
The present court house was
built in 1877. after the first one
burned in 1874. Fire officials
have called the building a dan-
gerous fire trap which might
easily burn to the ground before
its valuable contents could be
Approval of a bond issue to
cover the cost of construction was
given in the November elections.
Payments of the bonds will be
met through a millage increase on
property in the county.
+t $e *
.k * a
MRS. RALPH W. HAMMETT BLENDS MODERN FURNITURE
AND CHINESE ART INTO AN UNUSUAL INTERIOR FOR HER
GREEK REVIVAL HOME.
RELATIVELY FEW SUCH DECREPIT HOMES ARE FOUND IN
Wide Varieof Amusements
Of fered to Ann Arborites
Whether you want your culture
and entertainment highbrow or
lowbrow, you're sure to find some-
thing to your taste any day of
the week in Ann Arbor.
Ranging from chamber music
to Hollywood C-movies and from
Picasso to comic books, everyone's
tastes can be satisfied in any
number of ways.
WHILE the University is famous
for its May Festivals, concerts,
drama seasons, art exhibits and
lecture courses, a highly profes-
sional range of activities is also
carried on by Ann Arbor's citi-
The Arts Theater Club has been
to Ann Arbor for several years
and is growing in prestige each
The Civic Symphony Orchestra
is attempting to strengthen its
position by adding to its finances.
Recently the symphony opened a
subscription drive to raise $3,000
which will be used to establish
the orchestra on a more perman-
ent basis by allowing for an in-
crease in membership and repera-
Enthusiastic amateur groups are
active in producing plays in the
A thriving arts and crafts
group has centered around the
Ann Arbor Art Association and
the Potters guild, with local ex-
hibits of members' work bring-
ing attention to their talents.
Included in the ranks of these
groups are many University facul-
Ann Arbor Foundry
1327 JONES DRIVE
These homes, while not the only
note-worthy and beautiful resi-
dences in the area, serve as
examples revealing the individual-
ism and general high quality of
homes throughout Ann Arbor.
They have helped to establish
the communitie's reputation as
one of the finest residential areas
in the country.
" ART METAL FILES
" LOOSE LEAF BINDERS
* BODY REPAIRS
* WHEEL ALIGNMENT
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