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Famous Boarding House Razed For New Project

Famous Boarding House Razed For New Project image
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Unmourned by the present generation of Michigan students, who know nothing of its past, the large frame building at 1005 N. University Ave., which once housed Prettymans’ famous boarding house is rapidly being dismantled by wreckers to make way for University expansion.

Probably older than University Hall, the residence on N. University Ave. long housed a campus institution the like of which does not exist today.

Still Active In Business

With Horace G. Prettyman, sill an Ann Arbor business man, and his late wife, Jennie, presiding, the boarding house served wel over a million meals to University students between 1885 and 1914. An average of 250 students ate there regularly during the year. Forty to fifty roomed there and in two neighbording houses also owned by Prettymans, and 20 to 30 persons were employed to run the establishment. It was the scene of many campus banquets of the sort now held at the Michigan Union and Michigan League.

But beyond its acitivty as a boarding house, the Campus Club—as it was officially known—was a sort of parental influence for the larger segment of the student body with which it came in contact. Many a young man confided in Mrs. Prettyman as he would a mother and many, too, benefitted from practical counsel offered by Mr. Prettyman.

Alumni returning to the city invariably went back to see the Prettymans, where they were welcomed as guests, and in later years the couple found they had friends in farflung sections of the country.

Acquired House In 1885

When Mr. Prettyman bought the house in the summer of 1885, he had just graduated from the University. He and Mrs. Prettyman were married there that same year and started the boarding house immediately. There was a third member of the management, Mrs. Prettyman’s sister, Mrs. Mattie Calkins, who was best known for her delicious pastries.

Only two stories in height at the time the Prettymans took it over, the house was enlarged from time to time, a third story and a large kitchen wing being added. It was the first student rooming house in Ann Arbor to have modern plumbing and running water, Mr. Prettyman recalls. The plumbing was installed by Hutzel & Co.

Mr. Prettyman never learned exactly when the house was built, but believes it to be about 70 years old. It was erected by a contractor and builder named Marshall.

Sold To University

In 1914 the University bought the two houses (including one to the north on Twelfth St., also being wrecked) to use as nurses’ dormitories, and they continued in that capacity until this year. Now they are being razed to clear the ground for an addition to the Dental building.

Home of the first athletic training table for Michigan football and baseball teams, the southeast room in the Prettyman boarding house saw the historic conferences in 1901 at which it was decided to bring Fielding H. Yost here to take charge of the University’s gridiron destinies.

Mr. Prettyman himself holds the distinction of being the only man to captain a Michigan football team for three years, having played in the days when the sport was in its infancy.

Today he is president of the Ann Arbor Press and one of the proprietors of the White Swan Laundry, besides owning a large fruit ranch in the west. He lives at 602 Lawrence St. Mrs. Prettyman died in March, 1931, and Mrs. Calkins passed away in October of the same year.

IMAGE TEXT: As Prettymans’ boarding house for many years prior to 1914, this building at 1005 N. University Ave. was one of the best known places in the University community. Having since sunk into obscurity, it is now being wrecked to make room for an addition to the Dental building.