Each episode of Ann Arbor Stories ends with our email address: AnnArborStories@gmaill.com and an ask to you, our great listeners, for feedback, story ideas or shockingly personal questions. We personally answer each email, but some of these questions are too good to keep to ourselves. Behold, our first mailbag episode, sharing the best questions and answers to create a few mini Ann Arbor Stories.
Our email address is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So ask us anything. What was that old building back in the day? I heard about this murder—know anything about it?. What did Terry Whitman Shoultes really smell like? Ask anything, offer tips and share your feedback at AnnArborStories@gmail.com. We love you all.
Listener warning: This episode alludes to felching, giggles sophomorically at the word "Hiscock" and talks about freemasons.
Music by FAWNN, The University of Michigan Marching Band, Hollow & Akimbo, Lightning Love, and People Get Ready.
The woman the papers called "the pretty Michigan housewife" had never left the United States before planning her 1967 flight around the world. Not in a modern jet, but in a 30-year-old plane that had 14 previous owners, one crash landing, and most recently was set ablaze for firefighting practice.
This was the plane 30-year-old Ann Pellegreno used to fly around the world, following the path charted by Amelia Earhart 30 years before. This is the story of the amazing Ann Pellegreno and her flight around the world.
Music by Stepdad.
This episode is part of the 2017 AADL Summer Game. There are sound effects in this episode that offer clues to questions on the AADL Summer Game site. Get the questions right and earn points and a special badge in the Summer Game.
Learn more about Ann Pellegreno's flight around the world in the AADL archives.
This first Ann Arbor Stories walking tour is intended to be listened to while actually exploring a few city blocks in downtown Ann Arbor. It takes listeners from the corner of Huron and Fourth, outside the Embassy Hotel all the way to the corner of Liberty and Ashley and the C. Walker Building. There’s no right or wrong way to experience this story. Ideally, you’ll stroll along the same streets we’re talking about, looking at the same buildings we’re describing and letting your mind wander back in time. But you could still listen to this in your car or at home and check these sites out in person later. Use Google street view. We're not telling you how to consume your media.
Music by Frontier Ruckus.
Listener warning: This episode contains references to sex, pornography, murder, riots, death, ghosts, gay bars and bankers.
For those of you who want to experience this podcast at ground level, a few tips:
First, if you’re not standing at the corner of Huron and Fourth Street, then get there before you start the episode. This walking tour will take you from this point to the corner of Liberty and Ashley. It’s not a long walk, but you will have to cross some streets and some of the sidewalks might be busy so please please please keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings, as tempting as it may be to submit fully to my words and the siren of history.
It’s often easier to see some of the taller buildings from the opposite side of the street, but it’s up to you on how you want to do this. Get up close to the building and touch the old brick, or step back and peer up into the sky. Maybe both. But watch out for cars and people - we're serious, we don’t want anyone getting hurt.
One last thing. If it’s the summer of 2017 and you’re playing the AADL Summer Game, three of the locations on this walking tour have signs in the window that get into the history of those spots and have special game codes that can be inputted at play.aadl.org for points. Visit the AADL website and search for Ann Arbor Stories for more details.
Go at your own pace. Pause, rewind, stop halfway through for a drink at a famous establishment. This is your walking tour, not ours. Enjoy.
You can’t talk about the amazing life of Geraldine Seeback without talking about the Music Mobile, but you better not talk about the Music Mobile and gloss over the amazing life of Geraldine Seeback. Two stories in one! The story of Ann Arbor's First Lady of the Symphony along with her rolling musical masterpiece, a converted motorhome that served as a rolling music lesson on wheels in the 1960s.
This episode is part of the 2017 AADL Summer Game. Pay close attention to the sound effects in this episode to help you answer the questions in the Ann Arbor Stories badge. Get the questions right to earn points, glorious points.
Music by Tunde Olaniran.
Rugged pioneers John Allen and Elisha Rumsey founded Ann Arbor in 1824 and named their new town Ann Arbor because, 1.) Both of their wives had "Ann" in their names and, 2.) The wives frequently relaxed and chatted under a grape arbor the men had planted for their beloved spouses. That's the story most people get fed when they arrive in Ann Arbor. But it isn't the truth. The truth is a lot messier. The town founders more scofflaws than saints. This is the real story of the founding of Ann Arbor and a look at the true nature of our dirty rotten founders.
Music by Chris Bathgate, from his new album Dizzy Seas.
The Huron River travels 130 miles from White Lake Township in Oakland County all the way down to Lake Erie - meandering through Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Belleville, Flat Rock, and Rockwood. Since Ann Arbor's founding, the river has been used as a method of transportation and source of power, helping the city prosper and grow. Here's a dam fine history of Ann Arbor's dams, which includes death, floods, and the odds of a coming watery apocalypse.
Listener warning: This episode contains references to drowning, dead people, and liberal use of the word "dam."
Music by Chris Bathgate, from his new album Dizzy Seas
Ann Arbor loves hosting dignitaries, celebrities and heads of state like any other Midwestern city. In 1966, Ann Arbor had the pleasure of hosting newly-elected Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and his lovely wife Imelda. He wasn't a dictator yet. Hadn't murdered 3,257 of his own people. Tortured 35,000 more. That would come six years later. In 1966, when the president and his wife enjoyed lunch in the Michigan League, they still looked at him like Southeast Asia's JFK, rather than one of the most brutal modern-day dictators.
Music by Ben Benjamin, courtesy of GhoLicense
Parental listener warning: Contains references to torture, murder, beauty pageants and hidden World War II treasure.
See photos from Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' trip to Ann Arbor in the AADL archives
If you've seen the Embassy Hotel since 1951, you'll know it doesn't look like anything special. It's wrapped in dull grey siding and the signs on the side of the building are old, and its clientele probably wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms at too many other Ann Arbor hotels. But the Embassy is special. It's been a haven for people down on their luck since the Great Depression. It survived when so many other hotels in that area didn't. And it was once blessed by His Holiness, Baba Hardev Singh Ji. Take some time to get to know this historic diamond in the rough.
Music by Hollow & Akimbo
Parental Listener Warning: This episode contains brief references to prostitution, the Great Depression, and the problem of homelessness in America.
See photos of the Embassy Hotel building and learn more in the AADL Old News archives.
Dozens of cities tried - hundreds of lawmen failed. Ann Arbor was the only place in the world that could cage punk rock’s most anarchic, violent and revolting personality. Think Iggy Pop crossed with Charles Manson - the crossed with Charles Manson - the voice of Randy Macho Man Savage with enough of a connection with serial killer John Wayne Gacy to develop a father-son bond. Public animal number one. The man, the infamous legend: GG Allin.
Music by GG Allin.
Parental Listener Warning:This episode is definitely rated R and is not suitable for most people, let alone little ones. It contains swear words (even the big ones) and contains references to poo, throwing poo, eating poo, violence, torture, drug use, blood, suicide, and Peoria, Illinois.
Learn more about this story in the AADL Old News archives.
On February 23, 2017, Swisher Commercial listed the Blind Pig and 8-Ball Saloon for sale. 6,970 square feet, two stories, two half baths, no bedrooms, and no list price. Best offer only. Liquor license included. The origins of the building, the Blind Pig and how this isn't the first time Ann Arbor has freaked out about the future of the Pig.
Music by Lightning Love.
Parental Listener Warning: This episode contains references to alcohol, topless go-go dancers, Soundgarden, and blues music.
Learn more about this story in the AADL Old News archives.