Washtenaw County Historical Society

Washtenaw County Historical Society The mission of the WCHS is to educate and inspire our community to engage in the preservation and presentation of area history. Museum on Main Street 500 N.

Main St. (at the corner of Beakes & E. Kingsley Sts.) Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1027 Admission is free – Your donations are greatly appreciated and do support the Museum.

Mission: The mission of the Washtenaw County Historical Society is to educate and inspire our community to engage in the preservation and presentation of area history.

Operating as usual

An 1932 photograph of class 1B at Tappan School in Ann Arbor The photographer's name is printed on the bottom right corn...
10/01/2020

An 1932 photograph of class 1B at Tappan School in Ann Arbor The photographer's name is printed on the bottom right corner (Armstrong). The boy with the bowtie, middle row 5th from left, was named Patrick J. Markey and he was killed in battle at Iwo Jima during WWII.

Two finely-gowned ladies posing for their carte-de-visite photograph by John Haarer of Ann Arbor. Estimated year - 1870s...
10/01/2020

Two finely-gowned ladies posing for their carte-de-visite photograph by John Haarer of Ann Arbor. Estimated year - 1870s.

The Ice Cutter - This carte-de-visite photograph by John Haarer of Ann Arbor, shows an Ice Cutter. You can see tongs in ...
10/01/2020

The Ice Cutter - This carte-de-visite photograph by John Haarer of Ann Arbor, shows an Ice Cutter. You can see tongs in one hand and what might be a pike pole or axe in the other. John Haarer was one of Ann Arbor’s early photographers. At age twenty-one he immigrated to Ann Arbor, where he worked as an agricultural laborer and then as a section hand on the railroad. In 1861 he opened a photography business on the third floor of Mack and Schmid’s store on the corner of Liberty and Main. Ann Arbor’s first photos were taken by traveling daguerreotypists. Haarer started out making ambrotypes, a newer type of photograph that replaced daguerreotypes in the mid-1850s. Haarer took both carte-de-visite and cabinet photos. The carte-de-visite became popular after 1854. Haarer died in 1916 at age seventy-five. Pencil text suggests this is 1865.

09/30/2020
"Women on the Warpath", 1943

Speaking of Willow Run - Women on the Warpath was a film produced by Ford Motor Company in1943. It shows he contributions of women at Ford's Willow Run B-24 bomber plant, touted as the "world's largest plant producing a single item. US National Archives.

Willow Run Bomber Plant, Beginning Construction, 1940. Willow Run, also known as Air Force Plant 31, was an Albert Kahn-...
09/29/2020

Willow Run Bomber Plant, Beginning Construction, 1940. Willow Run, also known as Air Force Plant 31, was an Albert Kahn-designed World War II bomber plant near Ypsilanti, Michigan and the pinnacle of American innovation at the time of its construction. Between 1940 and 1945, workers built the plant and accomplished something truly astonishing: one B-24 Liberator rolled off the production line per hour. Its guns were immediately tested, and then the plane was sent into battle. This was accomplished with aircraft designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. and Packard engines, a titan of Michigan manufacturing. They rallied their workforces to create an incredibly powerful industrial complex nicknamed the “Arsenal of Democracy.” An adjoining airfield was used by Charles Lindbergh, hired by Henry Ford as a test pilot. (ypsireal.com) .Eck Stanger, Ann Arbor News photographer. (aadl.org/taxonomy/term/47620?page=0)

Ann Arbor Street Railway, South Main Street, c. 1908, with street car. From the Claude Thomas Stoner Collection at the B...
09/29/2020

Ann Arbor Street Railway, South Main Street, c. 1908, with street car. From the Claude Thomas Stoner Collection at the Bentley Historical Library.

Laying asphalt on Main Street, May 1939 (oldnews.aadl.org)
09/26/2020

Laying asphalt on Main Street, May 1939 (oldnews.aadl.org)

Can you picture it? - The Miller family farm, ca. 1902 at the future site of the University of Michigan Football Stadium...
09/26/2020

Can you picture it? - The Miller family farm, ca. 1902 at the future site of the University of Michigan Football Stadium. The buildings stand at the approximate site of section 23. John Miller, whose father built the house, was a ticket attendant at gate no. 6 on opening day and manned the post for fifty years. (Bentley Historical Library)

Another 1950s classic view of University Hospital in this kodachrome color 35mm slide
09/17/2020

Another 1950s classic view of University Hospital in this kodachrome color 35mm slide

On September 17, 1884 the question of the organization of a prohibition party and the bitter attack made by the extreme ...
09/17/2020

On September 17, 1884 the question of the organization of a prohibition party and the bitter attack made by the extreme prohibitionists on the present tax law, leads one to study up the figures a little. Thanks to the Ann Arbor District Library for digitizing early newspapers, we can read the actual article. (https://aadl.org/node/176800)

University of Michigan Hospital captured in Kodachrome -during the spring or summer of 1952, according to the info on th...
09/16/2020

University of Michigan Hospital captured in Kodachrome -during the spring or summer of 1952, according to the info on the slide.

A job as technical as this machinery appears to be requiring a lot of concentration by these two boys. The pair--Johnny ...
09/13/2020

A job as technical as this machinery appears to be requiring a lot of concentration by these two boys. The pair--Johnny Malott (left) and Donnie Spragg--are shown as they "supervised" operations at the Ann Arbor Construction C. parking lot at 221 Felch St. Photographer Ek Stanger captures it for the Ann Arbor News, November 13, 1954 (aadl.org/N018_0104a_001)

HOMECOMING HOOPLA: Recognize anyone? Students from Dexter High School were piled high in this old Dexter Fire Department...
09/13/2020

HOMECOMING HOOPLA: Recognize anyone? Students from Dexter High School were piled high in this old Dexter Fire Department truck during the homecoming parade. Spirits were dampened, however, when University High defeated Dexter. (Ann Arbor News, October 3, 1959, aadl.org/N001_0222_025

On Tuesday, September 5, 1882, the Central Labor Union celebrated the first Labor Day. The celebration included a parade...
09/07/2020

On Tuesday, September 5, 1882, the Central Labor Union celebrated the first Labor Day. The celebration included a parade, a picnic, a concert, and speeches. However, it almost didn’t happen. At first, only a few marchers showed up for the parade, and they had no music to march to.

William McCabe, the parade organizer was determined to hold the parade, despite the suggestions from the spectators to give up. Fortunately, Matthew Maguire told McCabe that almost 200 workers from the Jewelers Union of Newark Two had just arrived with a band.

The jewelers joined the parade and the workers marched through the streets, eventually joined by the spectators. By the end of the day, roughly 10,000 people took part in the festivities and laid the foundation for Labor Day across the U.S. Always observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day celebrates and honors the contribution of the American system of organized labor and workers to the prosperity and economic strength of the nation.

The women who ran the store, B. E. Muehlig Inc., March 1963. Shown here with years of service in parentheses - Front row...
09/03/2020

The women who ran the store, B. E. Muehlig Inc., March 1963. Shown here with years of service in parentheses - Front row left to right: Jeanette Hadley (16 yrs.), Delia Sauer (20 yrs.), Edna Groff (48 yrs.), Josephine Noll (30 yrs.), Marguerite Stull (5 yrs.), Cora Schmidt (20 yrs.), Elsie Magee (9 yrs.), Fay Muehlig (10 yrs.), Ruth Thomas (3 yrs.) Second Row: Mayme Lusk (4 yrs.), Irene Ball (5 yrs.), Mabel Luebke (5 yrs.), Gertrude Thomas (5 yrs.), Flora Shaltis (35 yrs.), Vida Oetjen (7 yrs.), Emma Schairer (19 yrs.), Irene Howell (10 yrs.), Gladys Lambarth (7 yrs.), Amelia Prieskorn (11 yrs.). Third Row: Bertha Horning (42 yrs.), Iva Binder (1 yr.), Katie Stadel (3 yrs.), Dorothy Diez (7 yrs.), Betty Noll (4 yrs.), Helen Coon (18 yrs.), Emma Crippen (6 yrs.), Freda Volz (30 yrs.), Amanda Myers (9 yrs.), Jane Regent (1 yr.), Anita Jacob (3 yrs.).

A group of Dexter boys were always on hand when free, sweet cider flowed from a 50-gallon barrel at the Otto Wagner mill...
08/30/2020

A group of Dexter boys were always on hand when free, sweet cider flowed from a 50-gallon barrel at the Otto Wagner mill, along the Huron river. In one afternoon these boys, together with other groups, consumed 16 gallons of free cider. The proprietor says that the boys would be there yet, with upturned mugs, the facial as well as the glass varieties, if it hadn't been necessary to close up the mill for the night. The boys shown in the picture are, reading from left to right: Charles Mosher, Jack Wall, Alvin Kolander, Arthur Bell, James Bell, and Vincent La Rosa. October, 1935. Ann Arbor News. aadl.org/N013_0348_001

Downtown Dexter, 1936 as viewed through the lens of Eck Stanger, Ann Arbor News photographer (aadl.org/N013_0349_001)
08/30/2020

Downtown Dexter, 1936 as viewed through the lens of Eck Stanger, Ann Arbor News photographer (aadl.org/N013_0349_001)

Gordon Gill, a descendant of one of the pioneer families of Superior township, operates a 250-acre dairy farm at 2575 Ri...
08/24/2020

Gordon Gill, a descendant of one of the pioneer families of Superior township, operates a 250-acre dairy farm at 2575 Ridge Rd. Dairying is an important business in this township, where life is influenced by the fertile soil which brought the "Superior" designation to the 36-square-mile area. Ann Arbor News, August 24, 1956. aadl.org/N015_0154_001

"FEW OF THESE IN WASHTENAW" - Ann Arbor News photographer Eck Stanger captured one in classic black and white.  J. C. Br...
08/24/2020

"FEW OF THESE IN WASHTENAW" - Ann Arbor News photographer Eck Stanger captured one in classic black and white. J. C. Bradbury, route 1, Dexter, shown here with a Dutch Belted cow, has one of the two herds of this unusual breed of dairy animal in Michigan and the largest herd in the state. The Dutch Belted cow was first brought to this county from Holland by P. T. Barnum of circus fame. January 1938 (aadl.org/N015_0064_002)

On August 24th, 1892 the Ann Arbor Courier shared "Many Ways to Serve Corn" with their readers. It's that time of year. ...
08/23/2020

On August 24th, 1892 the Ann Arbor Courier shared "Many Ways to Serve Corn" with their readers. It's that time of year. The clipped page also includes "Short Chapters for Farmers" (aadl.org/node/468033)

Stored corn may be a problem for Washtenaw farmers but for these small children it is nothing more than interesting loca...
08/23/2020

Stored corn may be a problem for Washtenaw farmers but for these small children it is nothing more than interesting locale for the afternoon's play. Left to right are Joan Tucker, 4, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Tucker on whose Macon Rd. farm the picture was taken, Nancy Girbach, 5, and her brother, Robert, 3, children of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Girbach of Mohrhart Rd. Their mothers were at the Tucker home attending a meeting of the South Saline Extension Club. Photo by Eck Stanger, Ann Arbor News, October 1953. Digitized by the Ann Arbor District Library.

Thanks to a friend of history, please enjoy this story by James Tobin.
08/14/2020
The late, great 'Cat Hole'

Thanks to a friend of history, please enjoy this story by James Tobin.

A woebegone corner of campus once attracted trysts, trash and, a magnificent plan for an amphitheater. And then we paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Washtenaw County Historical Society
08/14/2020

Washtenaw County Historical Society

St. Thomas Church viewed from Pontiac Trail, April 1950. Photo by Ann Arbor News photographer Robert La Motte Maiteland.

Washtenaw County Historical Society
08/14/2020

Washtenaw County Historical Society

Though modest, the Ashley Street station possessed a simple elegance. The waiting room had a fireplace, detailed woodwork, and pew-like wooden benches on wrought-iron frames. A telegraph operator and a stationmaster, both wearing green eyeshades, sat in a bay window overlooking the tracks, where they could see trains coming and going. Originally, a baggage shed stood to the south of the station, across an open stretch of platform; the two buildings were connected in the 1920s. Grace Shackman wrote a great article for the Ann Arbor Observer about "Ann Arbor's Little Railroad" read more at aadl.org/aaobserver/15414

Ann Arbor News photographer Eck Stanger captured the skyline of part of the University of Michigan Campus - University H...
08/13/2020

Ann Arbor News photographer Eck Stanger captured the skyline of
part of the University of Michigan Campus - University Hospital, Simpson Memorial Institute for Medical Research, and the Detroit Observatory in this undated picture. University Hospital was designed by Albert Kahn. The first part of construction was completed in the fall of 1921, but could not continue because of lack of funds. Construction resumed in fall of 1923 and was completed in August 1925. The Simpson Memorial Institute for Medical Research was presented to the University by Christine McDonald Simpson as a memorial to her husband, Henry. Designed by Albert Kahn, the building completed on June 29, 1926. The Detroit Observatory was completed in 1854. Today, the building stands essentially as it was in 1854. The original astronomical instruments remain intact and operational. (Bentley Historical Library}

Who knows about Ann Arbor hay balers?
08/13/2020

Who knows about Ann Arbor hay balers?

Anyone know anything about Ann Arbor hay balers?

Though modest, the Ashley Street station possessed a simple elegance. The waiting room had a fireplace, detailed woodwor...
08/12/2020

Though modest, the Ashley Street station possessed a simple elegance. The waiting room had a fireplace, detailed woodwork, and pew-like wooden benches on wrought-iron frames. A telegraph operator and a stationmaster, both wearing green eyeshades, sat in a bay window overlooking the tracks, where they could see trains coming and going. Originally, a baggage shed stood to the south of the station, across an open stretch of platform; the two buildings were connected in the 1920s. Grace Shackman wrote a great article for the Ann Arbor Observer about "Ann Arbor's Little Railroad" read more at aadl.org/aaobserver/15414

PONTIAC TRAIL LANDMARK BURNS FOR LAST TIME: This 13-room brick farmhouse at 3351 Pontiac Rd., in Ann Arbor township, an ...
08/11/2020

PONTIAC TRAIL LANDMARK BURNS FOR LAST TIME: This 13-room brick farmhouse at 3351 Pontiac Rd., in Ann Arbor township, an area landmark believed to be more than a century old, was burned by contractors last night to make way for construction of the US-23 Eastbelt Bypass. Just 50 years ago the house, which was then owned by W. H. Kappler of the Kappler Packing Co., burned and was later rebuilt. Kappler's daughters, Mrs. Kathryn I. Staebler and Mrs. Clara Greiner, occupied the house for the past 12 years until they sold it to the State Highway Department on June 25. Area residents were permitted to take what they wanted from the old home before it was set on fire about 6:30 p.m. yesterday. Ann Arbor News, July 28, 1961. Photographer: Duane Scheel.

William H. Kappler was president of the Kappler Packing Co. and a prominent Ann Arbor township farmer who lived at 3351 Pontiac Trail. He founded the packing company at 3356 Pontiac Trail in 1929. On Dec. 22, 1897, Mr. Kappler married the former Henrietta McAllister. They had 4 children, one son, William J.; three daughters, Mrs. Clara R. Greiner, Mrs. Ray F. Wurster, and Mrs. Katherine I. Staebler.

St. Thomas Church viewed from Pontiac Trail, April 1950. Photo by Ann Arbor News photographer Robert La Motte Maiteland.
08/10/2020

St. Thomas Church viewed from Pontiac Trail, April 1950. Photo by Ann Arbor News photographer Robert La Motte Maiteland.

Ann Arbor News photographer, Eck Stanger, captures the View from Cedar Bend Drive, Ann Arbor, September 1939. In July of...
08/06/2020

Ann Arbor News photographer, Eck Stanger, captures the View from Cedar Bend Drive, Ann Arbor, September 1939. In July of 1942 it was a popular spot to watch the City's Blackout. (oldnews.aadl.org)

Another "View from the Boulevard" real photo postcard (front and back) by Ann Arbor photographer A. S. Lyndon  from June...
08/06/2020

Another "View from the Boulevard" real photo postcard (front and back) by Ann Arbor photographer A. S. Lyndon from June 1911. Cedar Bend?

Ann Arbor, view from boulevard, Photo taken by the Detroit Publishing Co., between 1880 and 1899. loc.gov
08/06/2020

Ann Arbor, view from boulevard, Photo taken by the Detroit Publishing Co., between 1880 and 1899. loc.gov

Washtenaw County Farm Products Report - According to the thirteenth annual report of the Secretary of State on farms and...
08/05/2020

Washtenaw County Farm Products Report - According to the thirteenth annual report of the Secretary of State on farms and farm products, in August of 1891.there were 3,416 farms in Washttenaw County. The township with the most farms was Ypsilanti, which contained 266. The township with farms of the smallest average size was Ann Arbor, the average being 77 acres. The largest average farms were in Lyndon, the average being 168 acres. Reported in the Ann Arbor Argus, August 5, 1892. (aadl.org/node/107813)

08/04/2020
The Michigan Marching Band's Future Recruit

After attending his first University of Michigan football game, 9-year-old Henry Boyer knew he wanted to join the marching band one day. Now the band is encouring him to follow his dreams. Steve Hartman shares his story on the road.

08/01/2020
1969 - The first year the "M" floated

Watch this pregame performance by the Michigan Marching Band in Ann Arbor on November 22, 1969, in advance of Michigan's "upset of the century" over Ohio State. William D. Revelli directed the band, George Cavender was assistant director, Mark Brown was drum major, and H.H. Hanson was announcer. This was the first year for the "floating Block M" by the Michigan Marching band. (MMBFan1).

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500 N. Main St
Ann Arbor, MI
48104-1027

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Sunday 12:00 - 16:00

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My husband and I have purchased a parcel of agricultural land located at 1531 E. Northfield Church Rd in Washtenaw County. The property includes a wonderful barn that we hope to restore. We’re curious about whether there is any record of what the old farm was called. We checked some of the information linked to your web site and saw that Patrick Shehie and J. Kennedy owned it in 1874 and John and Louis Podewils owned it in 1895. I wonder if there is anyone who can assist us in finding out what the original farm was called. We'd be very grateful for any assistance readers can provide. Thank you.
Please share, we need all the help we can get! Jafet J. Rytkonen was born in Finland in 1879 and came to Negaunee MI to work in the iron mines in 1902. However, he quickly changed professions and became an entrepreneur. He built the Historic Vista Theater/PAAC in 1925-1926. This theater is well loved by its small community of Negaunee, Iron Town USA. Many updates had been completed and many more were on the cusp of happening until Covid-19 shut everything down. After recent heavy rains the roof drains clogged causing water to pool, the massive weight of the standing water took down the entire roof over the auditorium. The theater has been a home for so many struggling for a place to belong. Producing plays, musicals, readings, pageants, fundraisers, both showing and making movies, youth productions, concerts, workshops, and much more! Please help save the building before the winter snow hits! Any amount is helpful, thank you for your time and support, it's appreciated more than you know!
Anyone know anything about Ann Arbor hay balers?
Anyone know anything about Ann Arbor hay balers?
Interurban station with train tracks in Ann Arbor at West Huron and Ashley Streets. Undated photo from the Bentley Historical Library.
Your photo of downtown Milan shows it was taken before the street was paved (1912) and after the Stimpson Hotel was built, left foreground (1905) The IOOF building is shown, International Order of Odd Fellows, built in 1900.
A weekly Pass for the People's Motor Coach Co. in Ann Arbor dated 1927.....
Hello, I'm trying to find a possible obituary for an ancestor's death in 1857. Can anyone point me in the right direction? (I don't live locally to review local newspapers on microfilm) John McKernan- Died 21 Apr 1857, He was buried in the Old Joseph's Cemetery in Dexter Township.
So, we are all aware of currently existing historic landmarks in our towns. Such as the museums of the consortium. Name those buildings/landmarks that no longer exist because of 'progress' 'neglect' or any other number of reasons.
c.1880's cabinet card photograph by E.E. Shaver from Chelsea. Trying to identify person and information on band