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Legacies Project Oral History: Richard Nowland

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 11:04am

When: 2018

Richard Nowland was born in Ann Arbor in 1932. He grew up on Eighth Street. He recalls family stories about Lower Town, including his Irish ancestor Andrew Nowland who settled in Ann Arbor in the 1820s. After serving as a social worker in the U.S. Army, Nowland returned to Michigan and got his master’s degree. He was a counselor at Washtenaw Community College and a principal at Clague Middle School for twenty years.

Richard Nowland was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2018 as part of the Legacies Project.

Transcript

  • [00:00:08.93] SPEAKER 1: So please say and spell your name.
  • [00:00:11.27] RICHARD NOWLAND: Richard Nowland. Last name is N-O-W-L-A-N-D.
  • [00:00:17.18] SPEAKER 1: And so what is your birthday, including the year?
  • [00:00:20.59] RICHARD NOWLAND: August 6, 1932. 84 years old.
  • [00:00:25.43] SPEAKER 1: And how would you describe your ethnic background.
  • [00:00:28.30] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, on my father's side-- they were original settlers in Ann Arbor-- the settler Andrew Nowland came in 1824, soon after the two settlers of early Ann Arbor. His father came from County Cork, Ireland.
  • [00:00:54.64] My mother's side, I don't know as much, except I know my grandmother and her husband came from Germany and settled in Ann Arbor. I'm not sure where they came from in Germany.
  • [00:01:07.50] SPEAKER 1: All right. And so what's your religious affiliation?
  • [00:01:11.63] RICHARD NOWLAND: Catholic.
  • [00:01:13.67] SPEAKER 1: And was the highest level of formal education you have completed? And did you attend any additional school or formal career training beyond what you completed?
  • [00:01:22.29] RICHARD NOWLAND: I have a master's in Michigan.
  • [00:01:25.98] SPEAKER 1: What is your marital status?
  • [00:01:27.73] RICHARD NOWLAND: Married.
  • [00:01:28.59] SPEAKER 1: And is your spouse still alive?
  • [00:01:30.62] RICHARD NOWLAND: Yep. She's a couple of years younger.
  • [00:01:33.06] SPEAKER 1: And how many children do you have?
  • [00:01:34.82] RICHARD NOWLAND: I have two, a boy and a girl.
  • [00:01:37.17] SPEAKER 1: And how many siblings do you have?
  • [00:01:39.60] RICHARD NOWLAND: I have one who's passed away, an older brother. My wife is from a family of 12.
  • [00:01:47.38] SPEAKER 1: Really? And so what would you consider your primary occupation to have been?
  • [00:01:52.75] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, originally I was a psychiatric social worker. My undergrad was teaching special education.
  • [00:02:03.19] When I got in the Army, they made me a psychiatric social worker. I came back to Michigan, got my master's. I was a social worker in Dearborn Southfield in Ann Arbor, and then became a school principal in Ann Arbor.
  • [00:02:21.23] SPEAKER 1: And so now we're going to move on to some family history. So any stories about your last name or family name, family traditions, et cetera? So do you know any stories about your family name?
  • [00:02:38.34] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, from what I've been able look up on my father's side, it looked like they came from County Cork, Ireland. And they had a K in the front of their name from what I could determine. And then they dropped the K and were Catholics at that time, and then became Protestants.
  • [00:03:01.32] My grandmother's side, probably my mother's side, they were probably a Lutheran family from Germany.
  • [00:03:09.91] SPEAKER 1: And so are there any naming traditions in your family?
  • [00:03:16.38] RICHARD NOWLAND: Naming traditions?
  • [00:03:19.66] SPEAKER 1: Pause. So, sorry. Again, are there any naming traditions?
  • [00:03:27.96] RICHARD NOWLAND: No, I'm not familiar with.
  • [00:03:31.17] SPEAKER 1: And so why did your ancestors leave to come to the United States?
  • [00:03:35.18] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, I'm not sure on my father's side. I know more about that family just because of the history in Ann Arbor. But I think originally from what I can gather, Andrew Nowland and his family worked on the Erie Canal. And of course, in Ireland the famine-- people were leaving Ireland to try to get to the New World. And that's where they settled in upstate New York and were employed at that period of time.
  • [00:04:07.14] My mother's side of the family-- not sure, except her father was a builder in Ann Arbor and built houses in Ann Arbor.
  • [00:04:17.50] SPEAKER 1: And so do you know any stories about how your family first came to the United States?
  • [00:04:26.16] RICHARD NOWLAND: Not how they came-- I know how they came to Ann Arbor. But do you want to talk about that or not?
  • [00:04:33.72] SPEAKER 1: Yes, sure.
  • [00:04:34.69] RICHARD NOWLAND: OK. Well, Andrew Nowland came, like I said, from upstate New York, met John Allen and knew John Allen. And actually, Allen and Rumsey were the original settlers in 1824, in February of '24. And he married one of the Rumseys. It must have been a sister.
  • [00:04:57.42] And then Andrew came three months later in the spring of '24. And at that time, of course, Ann Arbor because of Huron River was a great facility, many Indian tribes. And Detroit was settled, semi-settled. And families came out to Ann Arbor. Obviously, it's a good place to farm. And at that period of time, I think I read in 1825, it would have been not quite a year later, there were seven houses in Ann Arbor.
  • [00:05:38.37] And Andrew came and had a tavern. And at that time, taverns were also the site for travelers who were traveling. They might have gone on to Jackson or somewhere else.
  • [00:05:51.47] And he sold real estate. And the travelers would stay above the tavern. And that was if you come down the end of State Street towards the river, there was a road called River. And that's where he had his tavern. John Allen had a tavern there. And Andrew sold real estate out of that tavern, and also had strands of horses that ran trade between Ann Arbor and Detroit.
  • [00:06:18.18] And that would bring in new people in and bring in trade. And he was quite an interesting fellow. I don't know if you want to talk about him or not.
  • [00:06:28.53] SPEAKER 1: I think that we'll just move onto the next question. What possessions did they bring to Ann Arbor? Do you know?
  • [00:06:40.14] RICHARD NOWLAND: I'm sorry?
  • [00:06:40.78] SPEAKER 1: Do you know any possessions they brought with them?
  • [00:06:43.19] RICHARD NOWLAND: Not much probably. No, not really.
  • [00:06:47.85] SPEAKER 1: And so which family members came along or stayed behind in New Yorker Island?
  • [00:06:54.51] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, no, Andrew-- I think he had two children at that time. And then once they settled here, I think he ended up having eight total. But John, one of the early settlers, one of the children, was born in Ann Arbor. And there's a grave up in Forest Hills Cemetery up on Observatory as the first white child born in Washtenaw County. So they settled here and developed their life here.
  • [00:07:26.69] SPEAKER 1: And so to your knowledge, did they make any effort to preserve any traditions or customs from back in Ireland?
  • [00:07:36.77] RICHARD NOWLAND: Probably not. I'm not sure from what I can gather. I can only know that one of my biggest concerns was that I didn't talk to my father more about his early childhood because they lived in what was called Lower Town, which is the other side of the bridge going north. And that was the seat of the city of Ann Arbor.
  • [00:08:03.58] And if you drive down there on the left side of the road, you'll see this big tall building, which I think houses some resale items. And Anson Brown built that. Early settler, also. And he became the postmaster.
  • [00:08:22.90] So when the postmaster was in that site, that's where the city was. He died at a fairly young age. And the postmaster moved to what was called the Upper City, which is the other side of the bridge. And that became the larger city.
  • [00:08:41.86] But the original settlers, if you look at the streets, there's Wall Street, there's Broadway, there's Maiden Lane. They're all New York City name streets. And so most of those at that time were from the New York area.
  • [00:09:08.22] SPEAKER 1: So what stories have come down to you about your parents and grandparents. So, if you want to talk about them.
  • [00:09:13.84] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, Andrew, we have a lot of history on that. He had, as I said, horse services and goods between Detroit and Ann Arbor. And of course, recognized there really weren't any roads. There were probably some dirt roads made by stagecoach-type moving back and forth.
  • [00:09:38.15] But he also gave a lot to the city. If you know where the Power Center, he gave that to the city for a cemetery, with two requests. One, that he would have tea with the city women. The second, he wouldn't be buried near the minister. Because when the devil came to get the minister, you didn't want to get him by mistake.
  • [00:10:02.78] So he was such a character. And he did a lot of things for the city and gave away most of what he had owned at that time. So there were a lot of histories about him and how, if he were taking goods between Detroit and deliver in Detroit, and you asked him to take anything to Detroit, and if you asked to have a receipt, he'd say no, my handshake is what the receipt is.
  • [00:10:31.06] So he was probably a tough kind of person, but in all the early history I have was highly respected in the city.
  • [00:10:41.16] SPEAKER 1: And so do you know any courtship sites where your parents, grandparents, and other relatives came to meet?
  • [00:10:48.80] RICHARD NOWLAND: No, not really. Some way, Andrew Nowland married a Rumsey, so there was a relationship. And that's probably why they ended up coming to Ann Arbor. And Ann Arbor was named because of the two original settlers' wives were Ann. And so the theory was, later on, they had Ann's Arbor, and had built arbors at that time. But that's how they were named.
  • [00:11:17.59] But I was looking at photos of my father the other day. And he was a pretty dude dresser. So I'm not sure how he met my mother, where they first got together.
  • [00:11:31.15] SPEAKER 1: Great. And thank you. I think that is the first part of the interview. How much time do we have left?
  • [00:11:38.58] SPEAKER 2: We've got 30 minutes.
  • [00:11:41.59] SPEAKER 1: 30 minutes. And so when is the bell?
  • [00:11:44.42] SPEAKER 2: At 49.
  • [00:11:46.15] SPEAKER 1: 49, that's right, two minutes. So we'll take a break now.
  • [00:11:50.86] SPEAKER 2: The phones rings at 12:06.
  • [00:11:54.98] SPEAKER 1: 12:06. What time is it?
  • [00:11:57.20] SPEAKER 2: Right now is--
  • [00:11:59.31] SPEAKER 3: [INAUDIBLE] lunch is 10:49.
  • [00:12:03.11] RICHARD NOWLAND: Is this your first time doing this?
  • [00:12:06.33] SPEAKER 3: This is the second interview, but first interview for these guys.
  • [00:12:10.01] RICHARD NOWLAND: Ah, OK.
  • [00:12:11.48] INTERVIEWER 4: And the first time I've used camera.
  • [00:12:16.27] SPEAKER 1: So where did you grow up? And what are your strongest memories of that place?
  • [00:12:24.20] RICHARD NOWLAND: I looked at my birth certificate the other day. And it said, we lived on Virginia, which is off Jackson Ave. And that really wasn't true because my father had that house built. This would've been in early 1930, '31.
  • [00:12:43.29] And because of the Depression, he lost the house. So we never lived in that house.
  • [00:12:51.13] So at that period time in '32 when I was born, which was the height of that period of time of the Depression area, we lived with my grandmother on my mother's side at the bottom of Eighth Street.
  • [00:13:06.67] And if you go by, it's a fairly large house. At that time, they were just starting to build Slauson. And it was a period of time Roosevelt tried to put-- President Roosevelt-- put everybody to work with the CCC, which were planting trees all over Northern Michigan. And Slauson was built through money from the Roosevelt period of time to put people to work.
  • [00:13:32.11] So we lived at the bottom of Eighth Street. And I don't remember much about it because it was a pretty tough time for our family.
  • [00:13:42.74] Later, my father got the job. He was a master plumber. He had left school very early at that period of time when junior high school was through the ninth grade.
  • [00:13:54.21] Early on, and way back in the '30s, a lot of people left school in the ninth grade. There was a feeling that was the end of their education.
  • [00:14:03.36] And he left school because he had a younger baby brother. His father had died, so he went to work, and ended up becoming a master plumber.
  • [00:14:12.69] But then later during the end of that Depression period, he was chief engineer in the Michigan Union, and handled all the maintenance and everything, problems with the Michigan Union.
  • [00:14:25.46] But from that Eighth Street, I went to Bach School and walked to Bach School, and remember my kindergarten teacher. But don't remember many of them after that. And I can talk a little bit about my schooling.
  • [00:14:43.32] Schooling was not early on very exciting for me. I had a lot of problems reading. I'd see reversals. Saw became was. I would remember very clearly the teacher putting dots at the top of the paper on the left side. That's where I had to start because I had so many reversals. And so my early elementary experience wasn't most exciting.
  • [00:15:15.42] SPEAKER 1: So how many people lived in your house when you were growing up?
  • [00:15:21.19] RICHARD NOWLAND: My brother was seven years older and was very involved in sports. Obviously went to Slauson, which was right next door to us.
  • [00:15:34.00] Across the street on Eighth Street, there is a park there now. That was a little lake there. And I have had some-- not sure I can find it-- my mother skating on that lake. There was a little waterfall coming down from the Slauson area.
  • [00:15:56.22] So I was involved watching. My brother was very involved in track and baseball. And so I got to spend time with him at that period of time.
  • [00:16:06.90] And I don't remember a lot about it. But I remember, it was some tough times. But I always remember my father, we tried to always have a bike and that sort of thing. So remember that area.
  • [00:16:21.64] SPEAKER 1: And so what languages did you speak in your household?
  • [00:16:25.74] RICHARD NOWLAND: What did we speak, the family?
  • [00:16:27.72] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [00:16:28.81] RICHARD NOWLAND: English. My grandmother spoke German. And I remember her telling me that she had trouble with other German families because they were Southern German and couldn't always understand other people from Germany. But that's basically that side of the family.
  • [00:16:54.12] SPEAKER 1: So what was your family like when you were a child?
  • [00:16:59.97] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, my mother graduated from high school. Probably, financially, had money would have gone on to college. Was very bright.
  • [00:17:10.82] Her father died very young after building-- there were about five houses at the bottom of Eighth Street. Pretty good sized homes that he had built. And so she went to work. And as I said, my father was working at that period time finally during the Depression.
  • [00:17:28.85] And I remember also on weekends he would do favors for friends with plumbing, and that sort of thing. So he helped out a lot of people.
  • [00:17:39.62] He was very active later in life with the American Legion as commander of the Legion. A lot of that was based, I think, on my brother, who was in the service.
  • [00:17:50.75] And in fact, when the war broke out in '41, he tried to quit high school and join the Marines. My dad would not sign for him.
  • [00:18:01.29] Then when he graduated in '41, most of the kids were drafted. And he was drafted into the-- well, he was hoping to get in the Marines. He ended up-- because he said they went Army, Marine, so forth, that's how they appointed you.
  • [00:18:20.42] And he ended up in the South Pacific. Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands, landing Marines during the invasions. And he always sent letters back saying how good it was that he had a dry bed to sleep in at night.
  • [00:18:37.68] And an interesting part, he became a radio man in the Navy because at Pioneer High School they taught Morse code. That was a class that you could take. So that's what they used during the war.
  • [00:18:53.22] SPEAKER 1: And so what's your earliest memory?
  • [00:18:58.51] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, as I said, I don't remember a lot about early childhood period of time. I remember obviously my experiences going to school at Slauson.
  • [00:19:12.50] Later on, we were able to buy a house up on Charlton, which is again off of Jackson Ave., and quite near where the house that my dad had built. In fact, was right around the corner.
  • [00:19:29.55] And I remember as junior high school, there were at least 14, 15, 16 boys within two grades of each other. And if you go in that area over there, there's a park called Virginia Park. And that was a city dump.
  • [00:19:44.96] And when we were kids in junior high age level, we turned that field into a football field, into pole vault pits. We went down in the sewer and got sand. There wasn't a lot of sand in the sewers. And we developed that into a really nice physical area. But there were so many boys at that time.
  • [00:20:09.66] The other thing I remember, I remember exactly when the war broke out, when Pearl Harbor happened. And the newspaper boys would go up and down the street with extras, calling about how the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. I remember that very clearly at that time.
  • [00:20:31.24] SPEAKER 1: And so if you can remember back to preschool, was like a typical day?
  • [00:20:38.82] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, as I said, there was really no preschool at that time. But I remember my kindergarten teacher. I always remember she had a dog. I think her name was Mrs. Robinson. But she was very active. But my elementary career-- I think I couldn't remember the teachers because it probably wasn't very pleasant.
  • [00:21:02.05] And an interesting little side of that-- in the third grade, I took some test. And I'm sure it's because my reading was really a problem.
  • [00:21:13.92] And later on when I was in the Army and I was a psychiatric social worker in the Army in Arkansas, the psychologist asked me if I would help him with some of the testing of trainees. And the tests that we worked on, Wechsler-Bellevue test, was basically an intelligent test. And I remember there were some of the same questions that I had experienced when I was in the third or fourth grade.
  • [00:21:40.70] But it was interesting because I remember one of the questions was, if you're looking west and the sun is setting, and you turn to your right, what direction is that. I had no idea. And that was on the test that I was giving trainees in the Army when they questioned whether they were able to stay in the service or not.
  • [00:22:06.49] SPEAKER 1: And so you mentioned going to Virginia Park. What else did you do for fun?
  • [00:22:15.04] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, we went to Slauson and we went to Pioneer High School. The high school is where the north commons is on State Street, right down from the State Theater. And that was Pioneer High School at that time.
  • [00:22:31.55] When we would have phys ed classes, we would go over to the park and participate over there. But think about now if you had a high school that was on State Street, because it was real convenient to be able to maybe someday not go to class and go to a movie.
  • [00:22:52.19] SPEAKER 1: Right.
  • [00:22:58.81] RICHARD NOWLAND: The other thing about high school, I was very involved in sports. And the baseball team played at West Park, which if you know that's on the bottom of Huron Street.
  • [00:23:11.92] And we would hitchhike from State Street to the ballpark. Can you think about doing that nowadays in high school? I mean, either that or we'd try to bum a ride with somebody who might have a car.
  • [00:23:27.28] But it was a fun place to grow up at that time. I also worked two lunch hours. I had two lunch hours. And I went to Michigan Union and served at the University Club where the professors ate.
  • [00:23:40.87] And so my lunches were basically working every day at the Union. And then on Saturdays, I'd serve breakfast and lunch at the Union.
  • [00:23:54.16] SPEAKER 1: So did you have a favorite toy or game or books?
  • [00:23:59.63] RICHARD NOWLAND: No. Obviously because of my reading problem, I didn't read much when I was a young kid. I read a great deal now. It's an interesting change in things.
  • [00:24:09.79] And but I don't remember. I really don't remember a lot of that period of time. I think I probably blacked out some of that time in my mind, because it was a hard time.
  • [00:24:22.24] And I remember my grandmother was very supportive. And again her husband had passed away. So this was a pretty good sized house that we lived on at my grandmother's. So there was a lot going on at that time.
  • [00:24:40.43] SPEAKER 1: Were there like any special days, family reunions, to set traditions that you remember?
  • [00:24:45.75] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, we have a family reunion. As I said, my wife is from a family of 12. From St. John's Michigan, which is off 27, just north of Lansing.
  • [00:25:02.59] If you ever go up 27, you'll see all these Willow trees. Her family, they were mint farmers. And you see a lot of gum and that sort of thing and toothpaste. And they talk about mint toothpaste and mint [INAUDIBLE].
  • [00:25:19.65] Well, nowadays, most of the mint is artificial. And there's not a lot of mint farms in St. John's like they used to be. But that was a big period of time.
  • [00:25:31.28] And the reason they had the Willow trees, the dirt was very loose muck. And it would blow off. And the Willow trees grew very fast, so that would keep the land so that the dirt didn't blow away.
  • [00:25:49.10] My dad was a family of four girls. And one, as I mentioned, the baby was much, much younger. And his name was Richard Nowland also. And we ended up living fairly close to each other. He was a graphic artist for Ford Motor Company.
  • [00:26:10.63] And when I was one of the principals at Clague School, he'd get some nice threatening phone calls from you guys. Or he'd also get invited to some nice parties. But except he didn't really know who these people were. Because we both had the same name.
  • [00:26:27.17] SPEAKER 1: Thank you. And so where did you go to high school? What do you remember?
  • [00:26:36.44] RICHARD NOWLAND: Pioneer, Ann Arbor Pioneer. I graduated in 1950. And as I said, Pioneer High School was a class A high school. Was probably 1,200 students at that time.
  • [00:26:52.39] Imagine yourself being on State Street as a student. And it was a neat place to have a high school. The gym was so small, they had track around the top of the gym. But if you could get a really good basketball player, they'd shoot from center court because it was so small.
  • [00:27:13.06] But it was up close group of people at that time. And my high school experience was basically a lot of athletics. I probably wasn't the greatest student in the world. But I was successful at that time. And as I said, Pioneer High was a fun time to be in.
  • [00:27:37.72] It was one of the bigger high schools at that time. We were in a conference with Battle Creek, Jackson, and Lansing schools.
  • [00:27:53.08] SPEAKER 1: So what type of career training did you go beyond high school? Or you went to Michigan, right?
  • [00:27:58.07] RICHARD NOWLAND: I went undergrad at Eastern.
  • [00:28:00.31] SPEAKER 1: Eastern.
  • [00:28:00.68] RICHARD NOWLAND: And I was in my brother was a director of special ed in Grand Rapids. And so I got involved in special education. And I wasn't sure I wanted to be a teacher at that time. But anyway, I went through that teaching program.
  • [00:28:19.35] And when I graduated from Eastern, I went and taught at a private psychiatric school at the top of Broadway Hills called the Ann Arbor School. And it wasn't Ann Arbor school district, but it was a private school.
  • [00:28:36.59] And then I taught there about a year. And then I was drafted in the Army. And I always had interesting experiences there. When they sent all of us to-- do you want to discuss that aspect of it or not? Is that all right?
  • [00:28:54.96] SPEAKER 1: To the Army?
  • [00:28:56.00] RICHARD NOWLAND: Service.
  • [00:28:56.27] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [00:28:57.56] RICHARD NOWLAND: We were sent to Leonard Wood, which is in the middle of nowhere in Missouri. And we were waiting for assignments.
  • [00:29:07.73] And I was remember we went through a program. And one of the people who I was interviewing said, well, once you get to your permanent base, they're going to make you a psychiatric social worker.
  • [00:29:19.61] So they flew us out to Fort Ord, California, which is right near Monterrey area. Really beautiful area. And as we went, one of the days we were all marched down to a place for assignments. And there were probably 50 or 100 people in line.
  • [00:29:36.53] I got up to the desk and whoever he was-- sergeant-- said, we have five choices. It's infantry, light artillery, tanks, heavy artillery. And there was another bad choice I didn't want.
  • [00:29:50.28] And so I said no, I'm going to be a social worker, psychiatric social worker. And he looked at me. And finally after a few minutes he said, get the hell out of line.
  • [00:30:00.95] And so I went back to the basic. And our basic training group were 60% college grads. And we had a captain who had just been a fairly recent graduate of West Point.
  • [00:30:16.97] Well, I went to his office-- everything was self-contained in the building-- knocked on the door, and asked to see him. And told him what had happened. And he said he knew somebody in personnel and gave me a note and sent me down the next day. And that's how I ended up becoming a psychiatric social worker.
  • [00:30:37.64] But the sergeant-- in the Army, you go through chain of command. You don't go to the top guy. And the sergeant was not very happy about the fact I had done that.
  • [00:30:49.94] And one of the things I've always to our kids, don't take no for an answer. Keep persisting and try to keep pushing on to find out more information. Don't just accept no in that situation.
  • [00:31:05.58] Well, then I was assigned in Arkansas-- Fort Smith, Arkansas. And it was a training base for the Army as a psychiatric social worker.
  • [00:31:14.72] When I got out of the Army after about 22 months, I came back to Michigan and worked on my master's here.
  • [00:31:24.59] SPEAKER 1: So you mentioned you played baseball. So what other types of sports did you do?
  • [00:31:30.80] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, I mean, look at my broken nose. I was a goaltender. And I was a goalie when nobody had a mask.
  • [00:31:39.18] And Jacques Plante was a goaltender from Montreal. He was the first goalie that ever wore a mask. And it was like a plexiglass. And they sold that. In fact, at one time the National Hockey League was not going to allow him to wear it.
  • [00:31:55.41] And so if you look at some of the old hockey players, you will see them all cut. Well, finally I got that mask. And I was a lot better goalie after I got that mask.
  • [00:32:05.97] And so I was involved in that. I was a baseball pitcher in high school and the American Legion. The American Legion baseball was very, very good throughout the country. Still is, but not as much in this area. And we had a very strong team. Went to the Four State Championships. And so I was very involved in sports in that way.
  • [00:32:31.44] In fact, our son Tom was a goalie at Michigan State. And in fact, I broke my nose twice. And the second time I broke it I could breathe a lot better, so I never had my nose fixed.
  • [00:32:46.71] SPEAKER 1: And so was there any differences from your school experience than what we do today?
  • [00:32:54.65] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, after being a social worker in Ann Arbor, Clague School was planning to open. And this would have been in '72.
  • [00:33:04.33] And one of the teachers that I knew, Jean Henny, had been a school administrator and had gone back to the classroom teaching at Tappan. And she suggested that we apply as a team to open Clague School.
  • [00:33:22.48] Clague was basically the same as Scarlett physically, with some improvements. And we had at that time a superintendent by the name of Bruce McPherson who really came down-- I was a change agent. And he thought this was a great idea.
  • [00:33:39.14] And so we suggested that each school would have three houses. And each class with middle school would be sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. And so basically that's how I got involved.
  • [00:33:55.06] I was very involved in the social work program in the Ann Arbor schools. I was head of our social group. And I always felt like if I was in a more administrative position, I might be able to make some other decisions that I was interested in.
  • [00:34:13.71] That wasn't always true, but I thought that way. But we had a great staff. We interviewed over 100 teachers. Ended up with about 40-some teachers. And many of the great teachers in Ann Arbor were original Clague teachers.
  • [00:34:31.03] And so I'm very happy about what happened. I enjoyed middle school-aged kids. They were very unpredictable. But I really liked that, and it was fun.
  • [00:34:42.64] But in '92, there was a lot more pressure academically, what was going on, there were more controls. When we opened up, the district gave us the amount of money that we were entitled to. And we could teach what programs we wanted to teach. That's not the case anymore.
  • [00:35:05.17] SPEAKER 1: So do you remember any popular music from your high school days?
  • [00:35:10.30] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, that's so interesting you said that because if I go to a football game with my daughter, they play different music. And I don't recognize all that.
  • [00:35:22.01] But when I was in middle school administrative, man, I knew everything that was going on at that time. And I still have so many records in my basement that were groups at that period of time.
  • [00:35:34.67] And so I think, I don't know your music anymore, where I used to be able to know it all kind of thing.
  • [00:35:44.04] SPEAKER 1: And so are there any particular dances associated with the music?
  • [00:35:49.09] RICHARD NOWLAND: No. I was not a very good dancer. I was shy. Maybe I'm not shy anymore. But I was shy at that time.
  • [00:36:00.94] I always remember my aunt was helping me to dance, teach me to dance. I thought, man, I don't want to do this. But there were more dances after football games, generally speaking.
  • [00:36:15.99] SPEAKER 1: So were there any popular clothing or hairstyles back then?
  • [00:36:22.05] RICHARD NOWLAND: It's a good question. I had a Princeton, which was short hair with a cut and with a part. And when I was in the Army, that was kind of a short hair with a part in it. When I went in the Army, I decided I'm going to go downtown. Fort Smith was pretty big, second largest town in Arkansas. I think, instead of an army haircut I'm going to go down and get a haircut.
  • [00:36:47.40] And I sat in that guy's chair and I said, I want a Princeton. The guy said, oh, you want a GI haircut. And I said, no, no, I don't want a GI, which means you cut everything off. I remember, the Princetons were kind of I guess at that time.
  • [00:37:03.20] I always liked clothing. So I always liked to be buying different-- financially had money to buy clothing.
  • [00:37:13.95] SPEAKER 1: And so, remember any other fads or styles from that time?
  • [00:37:21.08] RICHARD NOWLAND: No, I'm sure there were. And if I thought about it, I probably could come up with things at that time. But no, I don't remember much of that.
  • [00:37:31.59] As I said, I was very involved in sports, baseball. I followed the Tigers religiously. And I still find things, cuttings I had. I followed hockey because I was very involved in hockey.
  • [00:37:46.60] I ended up being on Adray's Scholarship Committee. Mike Adray was a person who gave tons of money to kids that had been involved in baseball and hockey. And I was on a committee with Ted Lindsay, who was a famous hockey player for the Red Wings. And so as a kid, I always followed sports and Gordie Howe at that time.
  • [00:38:12.86] SPEAKER 1: Were there any terms or phrases or words that aren't used anymore?
  • [00:38:18.90] RICHARD NOWLAND: Probably. But just maybe four. And I don't remember all that stuff.
  • [00:38:26.66] SPEAKER 3: I think that's a good place to stop.
  • [00:38:30.59] SPEAKER 1: So during our youth, which holidays did your family celebrate? And how are they traditionally celebrated in your family?
  • [00:38:40.54] RICHARD NOWLAND: Are we talking about as a child or later in life?
  • [00:38:45.31] SPEAKER 1: Middle or late middle school, high school years.
  • [00:38:48.90] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, I think my family was fairly active in the church. Went to Bethlehem Evangelical Church on Fourth Ave. And so religious holidays were celebrated. We were very involved. Christmas was very active.
  • [00:39:10.84] My mother's father, who was a builder and built the homes down on Eighth Street, the bottom of Eighth Street, at Christmas time he had a big display, which was a garden that the Christmas tree was put in. And it consisted of running water and small animals that basically filled up our living room at that time.
  • [00:39:42.14] So Christmas was a big time for us. I think our family always was into celebrating the holidays, Thanksgiving and Halloween and those periods of time. So we were very active in that.
  • [00:39:57.79] In fact, after we moved from Eighth Street from my grandmother's house, we moved up to Charlton, which is off of Jackson Ave. And my uncle was an artist with Ford Motor Company. And there was a contest. I always remember this as a contest the Annenberg News ran about Christmas displays.
  • [00:40:20.92] And on our short roof, we had a Santa Claus, Christmas trees. And my uncle had built all these-- I guess you'd call them dwarfs that were in Santa's Workshop. And so it was a big display with lights and everything else. And they won first prize, which was-- and I always remember-- it was a very advanced Zenith radio.
  • [00:40:48.79] I still have that in the basement. It doesn't work, but I still have it. So yes, we were very involved-- and still are-- as a family.
  • [00:40:57.63] SPEAKER 1: And so you mentioned your uncle was an artist Ford. So what did that entail?
  • [00:41:04.71] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, he was involved basically in the design of new cars where they would do the designing of potential new cars that they would want to work with. And on the side, he was a painter and painted quite a few mostly oil paints, and sold some of those oil paints. But yes, he worked on the new car productions and designing those cars as the future cars that we might be seeing at that time.
  • [00:41:41.23] SPEAKER 1: And so were there any special food traditions that your family had, or any recipes that had been preserved and passed down from generation to generation?
  • [00:41:51.26] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, after my dad lost the brand new house that he had built at the Depression time, we moved in with my grandmother in Eighth Street. Being German, my grandmother was a great cook. And my mother ended up being a great cook.
  • [00:42:13.54] And so we had a lot of German food. And I still enjoy going to Northside Grill, which is over in Lower Town, which has German potatoes, potato pancakes. I think at that period of time, my grandmother was very involved in cooking. So was my mother.
  • [00:42:35.50] SPEAKER 1: And so when you think back on your school years, what important social or historical events were taking place? And how did they affect your family?
  • [00:42:44.58] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, talked about elementary school, which was Bach School I went to, which I could walk from Eighth Street to Bach School, and we're very active. I enjoyed the early hours, early part of the school. But I think I was really a hyperactive kid and I had a lot of reading difficulties, reversals that I mentioned.
  • [00:43:08.65] Then when I went to Slauson, Slauson was right behind us on Eighth Street. And so I always remember, I think I made some decisions later in life that affected my junior high.
  • [00:43:24.76] My brother was in Slauson. And I was young at that time. There was a kindergarten. But I would wander up at the school. And if you go to Slauson, on some of the windows there are these benches.
  • [00:43:42.69] And so my brother was in a homeroom-- Mrs. Brown's homeroom, 208. And I'd go up there and look in the window. And then later when I went to Slauson, I ended up in her homeroom. And I always remember Mrs. Brown saying, you're nothing like your brother. I never perceived that as being a positive statement.
  • [00:44:04.14] But anyway, I think one of the features of that homeroom, it was key to us that we had a central place where we stayed in that homeroom all during our junior high years. And later, as I was involved in administration at Clague School, we used some of that concept, and we called it anchor teachers, where your anchor teacher stayed with you for the three years. And most generally, it was one of your teachers.
  • [00:44:34.26] And so I think back from the old homeroom style developed into the program. And similar to the program at Community now where they have this program where forum leaders stay with the students for the three-year period.
  • [00:44:57.40] I always remember as a social worker going into Slauson where I'd been a student. Mr. Logan was a principal when I was a student there. And then I was a social worker for Slauson. Walking in, I always remember, and as soon as I got there, it was the same period of time when JFK had been shot and killed. And that was a big impact at that time.
  • [00:45:25.82] SPEAKER 1: So now we're going to move on to adulthood-- marriage, family life. So after you finished high school, where did you live?
  • [00:45:37.23] RICHARD NOWLAND: Where did I?
  • [00:45:38.06] SPEAKER 1: Where did you live?
  • [00:45:39.24] RICHARD NOWLAND: When I finished high school, we lived on Charlton, which is actually off Huron Street, Jackson Ave. And at that time, as I mentioned, our high school age, we had many boys 12 to 14, boys all in the same two grade group. So it was a very active community, very involved in sports. And actually getting in a lot of difficulty, troubles at times too.
  • [00:46:10.70] But after that period of time, my brother was a director of special education in Washtenaw County. And so I got interested in special education. So I enrolled at Eastern in 1950, and enrolled in a program for mentally handicapped and emotionally disturbed.
  • [00:46:35.00] Went to school at Eastern, four years. After that I taught for a year at a private school for emotionally disturbed basically teenage high school kids here in Ann Arbor. It was up on the top of Broadway. It was called the Ann Arbor School. It wasn't affiliated with the Ann Arbor Schools, but it was run by a psychiatrist from the University of Michigan.
  • [00:47:03.08] Then I was drafted and went in the Army. And was at Fort Leonard Wood waiting for assignment. And I might have mentioned this before, but I think it's kind of important in my life. And I hope in our kids life was that when I was waiting to be assigned we went through a program waiting to be moved to a basic training area.
  • [00:47:28.42] And the people there said because of my background and undergraduate work in special education, they were looking for psychiatric social workers. So they flew us out to Fort Ord, California, out by Monterrey. And went through the interview procedure there.
  • [00:47:49.61] One day, you all got down, marched down to a personnel area and lined up. And there were probably 150 guys lined up. And you go in there and they tell you, now, here's the choices you can have-- Army, tanks, light artillery, heavy artillery. There was another one which I didn't like.
  • [00:48:12.16] And so I said, no, no, I'm not going to be that. I'm going to be a social worker. That went over real well.
  • [00:48:19.82] And I told the guy again. And course, there were tons of people behind me. And finally he swore at me and said, get out of line.
  • [00:48:28.91] So I went back. We marched back to the barracks. And our commander was a captain from West Point who had just been assigned running basic training for the Army recruits.
  • [00:48:42.59] And so I went and knocked on his door, because we were all housed in one big building, and told him what had happened. And he said he knew somebody in personnel. He gave me a note. And so the next day I went down, marched down by myself down to personnel, and was assigned a psychiatric social worker.
  • [00:49:03.62] Now if you're familiar with the Army, that's really a no-no. You go through the chain of command. And you were supposed to see our sergeant first.
  • [00:49:16.55] If I had seen him and said I want to see the captain, do you really believe I'd ever got a chance to see the captain? No.
  • [00:49:24.05] And so one of the things I've always encouraged our kids to do is don't always take no for an answer. Because I think you can continue to push. And sometimes it's successful.
  • [00:49:37.94] Well, from that point then I was assigned to Fort Sam Houston, which is the medical center for the Army. And went through a program of some involvement with the psychiatric aspects of the Army.
  • [00:49:55.07] And then I was assigned to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. Well, as I then got assigned to Fort Chaffee Arkansas, which is right near Fort Smith, which is second largest town in Arkansas.
  • [00:50:11.69] And it was fascinating in a way. We had recruits come in that were sent to psychiatric services. Each social work carried that recruit, took a family history, worked with them until some final decisions were made.
  • [00:50:32.47] The decisions sometimes were that they would continue to work with the trainees. It was a training base. Or if the person was so disturbed, they would either recommend other services or actually refer them back home and take them out of the Army.
  • [00:50:50.47] So for me, it was an experience of seeing young trainees-- and a lot of from the southern states-- coming in the Army. And they were really overwhelmed with what was happening in the Army. And many of them really fell apart.
  • [00:51:07.68] And so, many things that you read about diagnostically, it was happening in your reading material, I was able to see that. And I worked very closely. Every morning, we worked with a psychiatrist on going over our cases.
  • [00:51:23.06] So it was a good experience for me. Also, I was very involved in sports in Fort Chaffee and participated in many tournaments. We went to different parts of the country to be involved in them.
  • [00:51:37.91] So from that point, I then got out. It was a two-year commitment, and I got out about two months short of that to go to school in Michigan and get my degree in social work, my master's.
  • [00:51:53.32] And so I came here at that period of time, finished up the schooling, and then did my field work in social work-- school of social work in Dearborn. And that was a very big program. And then they hired me after my fieldwork was finished and I got my degree.
  • [00:52:15.34] And finished in Dearborn, worked there for a couple of years. And then with another psychologist and a social worker, three of us started a special ed program in Southfield.
  • [00:52:31.15] And at that time, I was married. We lived in Northville. And we spent a lot of time coming to Ann Arbor, going to football games, going to music programs here.
  • [00:52:44.56] And so when I had a chance to come to Ann Arbor to work with the social work program here in the public schools, I did. And then after a while, enjoyed Northville, but then we were coming back and forth, we ended up moving to Ann Arbor at that time.
  • [00:53:03.01] And interestingly, when the first community college, Washtenaw Community College, started, there were very few people hired, maybe three or four. And Lola Jones and myself were hired as the first-- she was a social worker also. We were hired as the first counselors.
  • [00:53:24.94] And our first office area was at Washtenaw Community College. My office was in the bowling alley. And the president's office was in the butcher shop.
  • [00:53:39.71] So if you drive out there now and you see it and you go, I can't believe here we started from a bowling alley and a butchers facility.
  • [00:53:51.73] And so I stayed there a couple years, and then decided to come back to Ann Arbor. And after working as a social worker, a lot of my time was at Tappan Junior High at that time. I met Jean Henny, who had been an--
  • [00:54:09.31] [ALARM RINGING]
  • [00:54:11.62] Administrator.
  • [00:54:13.12] [ALARM RINGING]
  • [00:54:17.77] How many does that ring?
  • [00:54:20.26] An administrator. And then she decided to go back into teaching. And then when the potential for Clague School, which was a brand new school basically modeled on the Scarlett School building, opened up, we applied, three of us, as the administrators at the school with the concept of developing three houses.
  • [00:54:44.18] And there were about 900 students. And at that time we had a pretty creative superintendent who thought this was a good idea.
  • [00:54:51.92] And I think about the anchor teacher we started. And I think back about when I was in homerooms at Slauson, which was a very important time because you had a teacher there who knew you and could follow up with you as what was going on academically.
  • [00:55:09.86] And so that was 1972. And so I was at Clague for 20 years for middle school.
  • [00:55:20.20] There was a period of time when the high school, Huron High School, they probably were overcrowded. Plus, they were not excited about ninth graders. That the ninth grade was sent back to Clague. And we became a junior high for a couple of years, which changed the climate of the school.
  • [00:55:43.31] But from that period of time after I retired, I had 36 years in education, I retired. I went to work for a company called National Center for Manufacturing Science off of Boardwalk by Eisenhower. And that program had technology trailers that we took to schools, that had CAD/CAM systems and lasers, different kinds of technology programs. And we went throughout the country.
  • [00:56:16.37] My job was organizing the trips to the schools. And our president really felt strongly that you didn't need a four-year degree to do many of the technical programs.
  • [00:56:30.41] And I think we're in that stage now. A lot of very high-tech programs can't find people to run their programs. And so I think he was a pacesetter in that area of trying to find people and get young kids interested in the technology aspects and using the computer systems.
  • [00:56:55.31] So basically I stayed with that program for three years. And then they sold part of the program to a company in Indiana. And I wasn't going to move there. So I finally retired at that time.
  • [00:57:13.44] SPEAKER 1: So can you talk a bit more about your time in the army, and at Sam Houston? Maybe what sports did you play?
  • [00:57:24.77] RICHARD NOWLAND: When we were at Fort Sam Houston, basically we were just doing probably six weeks of training. We really didn't do much. They were waiting to find out where they were going to assign us. And so that's when we were assigned at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas.
  • [00:57:41.69] And Fort Chaffee was a training base. So many of the sports programs, very active sports programs, were based out of things like the military police, different kind of units. And so the hospital always had sports programs.
  • [00:58:01.49] So I was very involved. We played flag football. We went to Fort Hood, Texas for the 4th Army Championship.
  • [00:58:10.97] I played a lot of golf. The golf course was across the street. I'd get out of work at 3 o'clock in the hospital. And I'd go across the street.
  • [00:58:19.61] I ended up playing a lot of golf with a former Walker Cup player, Mason Rudolph, who became a very top professional player.
  • [00:58:30.12] That period of time, I played baseball. There was an interesting story-- sounds kind of crazy. But there was a small games tournament which included ping pong, badminton, bowling, and something else. And I was playing badminton in pairs with another fellow from LSU who was a really great athlete.
  • [00:58:56.84] And we qualified. And the Army flew us all the way from Arkansas to Albuquerque, New Mexico to play badminton. So that was some of your money we were spending.
  • [00:59:08.76] And I always remember the stewardess. We had about 10 players that went on the trip to Albuquerque. I remember she couldn't believe that the Army was paying for us to fly out there. So I had a lot of involvement with that program.
  • [00:59:25.31] I also learned so much academically because I worked with the psychiatrist every day. And then we had also a staff psychologist. And so that led me into the idea of continuing my education because I really enjoyed doing that and was very involved as a student with the trainees.
  • [00:59:53.24] SPEAKER 1: What were you drafted for? Was this the Korean War?
  • [00:59:56.09] RICHARD NOWLAND: At the end of it?
  • [00:59:56.96] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [00:59:58.07] RICHARD NOWLAND: And at that period of time, I didn't realize-- I guess none of us realized till we got out to Fort Ord-- that we were required then six years of reserve training when we got out, which all of us said, wait a minute, we didn't know that.
  • [01:00:17.93] And I always remember they said, they read the rule, which none of us were aware of. Our training company probably had 150 trainees, somewhere in that range. Probably 60% of them were college grads.
  • [01:00:35.84] And I always remember when the captain read off this rule that we were going to be in the reserves for six years that we had to take one step forward to recognize that we had heard him read this. And you wanted not to take that step, but you had to.
  • [01:00:54.26] Anyway, when I got out of the service, I had to go to VA hospital once a month for, quote, "training," whatever that meant. And there were Army officers there.
  • [01:01:09.53] And I was always remember, they were a little more formal than my experiences in the real army. And so during that first summer, I was supposed to go to Fort Sill for I guess two weeks training, whatever that meant. And Fort Sill in the middle of summer is in Kansas. It's called The Bloody One, which is a horrible place to be.
  • [01:01:33.35] So thank goodness my boss in Dearborn where I was then working as a social worker put in a request that I had to stay because I was working with students during the summer, which I did. And I worked with students at that time.
  • [01:01:49.59] In fact, a little interesting sidelight to that is that Dearborn has a camp called Camp Dearborn, which is out quite a ways away. Beautiful facility, lakes, there's big golf courses there. And it's just a great facility, owned by City of Dearborn.
  • [01:02:11.75] And I was taking some of the students that I'd been working with out to Camp Dearborn. But because I didn't live in Dearborn, I had to get a pass from Mayor Hubbard.
  • [01:02:24.23] Now Mayor Hubbard, one of his claims to fame was that there were no minorities living in Dearborn. And so I had to go to his office. And went in there, and it was like going to a butcher shop. You got a number. And when my number was called, he came out of the office to make sure that I wasn't black or some other minority, because they did not want that to happen in Dearborn. So Mayor Hubbard had that reputation in Dearborn.
  • [01:02:56.66] Now of course if you look at Dearborn, it has the largest Muslim population in the country. And so Hubbard, I'm not sure if he was still alive how he would deal with that.
  • [01:03:13.95] SPEAKER 1: So when you came back to Ann Arbor to go to the University of Michigan after your time in Arkansas, what was different? What had changed in that time, or not much?
  • [01:03:32.63] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, when I was going to school, it was the whole anger and hostility about the US involvement in the war was happening. I always remember, one of my teachers, Don Bar-- I was very close to him, we were real good friends.
  • [01:03:55.10] There was an incident on South U. And the students were rioting against the war. And really was very actively involved. At that time, the Sheriff of Washtenaw County was Doug Harvey.
  • [01:04:14.42] And so they brought all the sheriffs, plus they had a militia group with them. And so South U. became a real warring area. And rifles were out, and riots took place at that time.
  • [01:04:30.62] And the town really was exploding of what was happening in the war that was going on. And the students were out really actively involved in that.
  • [01:04:46.16] And I always remember staying down there. And I always remember being involved in that and seeing the troops holding their rifles against the crowd, and being in the crowd myself.
  • [01:05:00.02] And one of the humorous things later, Bob Galardi, who happened to be later on a teacher at Clague School, and later on became principal at Pioneer, he'd just gotten out of the service. That was his first day out of the service. And he was there in the lines fighting against the war. And he was arrested. And so he got back to Ann Arbor one day, and was arrested. So it was interesting for him at that time.
  • [01:05:29.37] So there was a lot of things going on in this town that was fighting what was happening in the world at that period of time.
  • [01:05:38.92] SPEAKER 1: And so that would have been still during the Korean--
  • [01:05:41.58] RICHARD NOWLAND: After that time, it was Vietnam. They were reaching the Vietnam period of time. And in fact, the present that time was really able to work with the dissenters and come to some agreements on how protest could be handled.
  • [01:06:07.86] SPEAKER 1: Was there much protests against the Korean conflict, as opposed to the Vietnam?
  • [01:06:18.23] RICHARD NOWLAND: I think more in the Vietnam period of time, as I remember at that time, obviously, I think, because everything was going to hell in a handbasket. And there was so much going on.
  • [01:06:35.81] And also being a university town, we're talking about 50,000 students. Maybe there weren't that many at that time. But in this town, half of the population were locals and half were students at that period of time.
  • [01:06:56.34] I also remember, I might have mentioned, Ann Arbor being considered such a liberal town. But when I was in high school my dad, he was head of maintenance for Michigan Union, and they had big dances at Michigan Union. They had all the top bands-- Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, all at bands came in here to perform on a Saturday night in a big dancing program.
  • [01:07:28.28] And I always remember thinking about Ann Arbor, well, you're such a liberal town. Count Basie's band, which basically was almost all black, they couldn't house them in Ann Arbor. They had to find hotels in Ypsilanti.
  • [01:07:46.28] So there were a lot of things happening at that period of time that later changed the way things functioned.
  • [01:07:56.71] SPEAKER 1: And so back then, the band, the music, and the dances that went along with that were very popular. And so today's dances are obviously rather different. But what was the cultural difference between the two?
  • [01:08:14.66] RICHARD NOWLAND: Oh, yeah, they were swing bands. And like I say, all the great bands traveled. Great musicians, big bands. We're talking about 20 players, 25 players in the band, and traveled throughout the United States.
  • [01:08:32.66] And as I said, most of them came to Ann Arbor. And most of those bands were famous. And also later on continued to be very famous.
  • [01:08:46.58] The dancing was maybe called jive, but also very formal dancing too. Music was real swing music.
  • [01:08:58.32] In fact, one of our teachers, Rusty Schumacher, who I think is involved in this program also, her husband, Hazen Schumacher, was the head of radio and TV at the U of M broadcast program. And he had a program called Jazz Revisited that ran nationally. And he had one of the great collections of all these bands and their music.
  • [01:09:28.58] SPEAKER 1: And so I think we're going to go on to a bit of family life now. So could you tell me about your spouse?
  • [01:09:39.11] RICHARD NOWLAND: Yeah, I met my wife Rita during that period of time when I was going to school, at the end of that period of time. One of my friends was Skip [? Rinkenberger, ?] who worked for one of the airlines.
  • [01:09:56.96] It was the day before New Year's-- not New Year's night-- the day before. And he had a party, and I had a blind date with this young lady. And I always kid her because at that time I was driving a green MG. And so she liked the MG, but I don't think that's true. But, anyway.
  • [01:10:21.90] And we met at that time. She was from Saint Johns, Michigan, which is north of Lansing. Her family-- big family, 12 children. Her dad was a mint farmer.
  • [01:10:34.34] And if you drive up 27, you'll see all these Willow trees. If you're driving that area, they're there basically because mint is raised in this muck. And if the wind blows, it would blow the muck away. So all these Willow trees, which grow very fast, help to block that area.
  • [01:10:57.09] And so she was teaching in Saint Johns in a parochial school at that time. And then after a period of time, we ended up getting married. And she ended up finishing her degree at Eastern. She'd been at Central and at Aquinas, and finished her degree.
  • [01:11:19.25] Basically then, once I came to Ann Arbor, as I said, we lived in Northville, had our first child, our daughter, Liz Margolis. Then we moved to Ann Arbor.
  • [01:11:35.65] SPEAKER 1: So the focus for this is we're going to do the evolution of Ann Arbor told through your family, from the first settlers who came here all the way up to now.
  • [01:11:47.37] And so before we start, just everybody make sure that you have your cell phones turned off. We'll do that right now. And then you can call for a break anytime you want.
  • [01:11:57.99] RICHARD NOWLAND: OK, fine.
  • [01:12:00.73] SPEAKER 1: Here we go. We want to tell your story about one of the first settlers in Ann Arbor and the influences your family has, and continues to have, on our city. These questions might be similar to questions we've asked before. And what we're doing is to focus in on the primary points in your story with a few questions for that.
  • [01:12:24.95] So the first set of questions relate to the early history of Ann Arbor as told through the stories you know about your ancestors. So when did your ancestors first come to Ann Arbor, emigrate, where did they emigrate from, and when did they arrive?
  • [01:12:38.14] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, the Andrew Nowland family came originally from, what we can figure County Cork, Ireland. And I tried to follow through. And we think they came in, that family, into Baltimore.
  • [01:12:53.35] But anyway, most of Andrew and a lot of the people actually who ended up coming to Ann Arbor later came from the Seneca Lake area in northern New York.
  • [01:13:07.37] And Andrew then was at that time then the opening up of the West was happening. And I think he came roughly three to four months after the Allens-- John Allen-- came to Ann Arbor.
  • [01:13:24.74] And at that time, he then developed a tavern above the Gandy Dancer, that area above the Gandy Dancer. And taverns at that time were basically places where people could stay upstairs. Obviously, they had food and alcohol and beer in the ground level.
  • [01:13:49.00] But also Andrew Nowland and many others at that time-- there weren't that many there, John Allen and them-- sold real estate. At that time, an acre of real estate you could buy from the government for $1 an acre.
  • [01:14:02.27] So we think Andrew had at least 300 to 400 acres. And he had, as I mentioned before, the horse services between Ann Arbor and Detroit, bringing people who wanted to go on a new frontier, and also then bringing goods from Detroit. So at that time, those early times, I think there might have been five or six homes, if you want to call them homes, but log cabins.
  • [01:14:30.57] SPEAKER 1: And so down by the Gandy Dancer, that entire area was where Ann Arbor first develops.
  • [01:14:38.50] RICHARD NOWLAND: Right, that was the earlier settlers up in that hillside area. It was convenient because obviously the river, Huron River, and all the trade that went on with the Native Americans, and also any of the goods that could be floated down the river.
  • [01:14:59.50] Also at that time on the other side, which is called Riverside Park now, I think there's some ball fields there, that area became more of the slaughterhouse area. And that's part of Lower Town where you get on the other side of the river.
  • [01:15:16.31] SPEAKER 1: You mentioned trade with Native Americans. So do you know anything more about what the interaction was like between those settlers?
  • [01:15:22.75] RICHARD NOWLAND: I think it was pretty [? solid. ?] There were a lot of different American Indian tribes that lived in the area, again, because it was such a productive area for use of the water. And most of the trading took place between animals and goods that way, and back and forth between the early settlers.
  • [01:15:46.72] I think the relationship, from what I can gather, was pretty good kind of thing. There was one story about how there was some anxiety about a tribe who had some hostility about early settlers. But nothing really from what I could read came of any hostilities at all.
  • [01:16:09.10] SPEAKER 1: Do you know of any buildings or monuments in that Lower Town area where we can look at [INAUDIBLE]?
  • [01:16:15.32] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, if you go across the bridge on the left side right now, it's St. Vincent de Paul-- big, tall building. And that was really one of the early settlers that built-- not the real early settlers, but that was where Lower Town started being built up.
  • [01:16:37.76] And if you look at the streets, Wall Street, Broadway, Maiden Lane-- these are all New York streets. And so we surmise that most of the people who came in that Lower Town area were from the New York area.
  • [01:16:52.24] And that was the center of town, that building. And Anson Brown was the gentleman who had that. And he was the postmaster, which, of course, being the postmaster-- this is later on when the town was being built up. When the postmaster was there, that's basically the center of town, because that's where the mail comes in.
  • [01:17:15.25] He died at a fairly young age. And then the city postmaster went across the river to Upper Town. And basically then, Upper Town developed more in the earlier years.
  • [01:17:29.60] SPEAKER 1: And do you know what life was like for the Nowland family and people around here at that time?
  • [01:17:34.23] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, I think, as I said, Andrew Nowland basically had maybe one of them, but teams of horses that traded between Detroit and Ann Arbor.
  • [01:17:50.23] And then people would come into Detroit looking to buy land. And there were other developments. Jackson had a development where early settlers would come in and farm. Actually, we're talking about farming.
  • [01:18:03.34] And then Andrew Nowland at that time was one who had this tavern and also sold real estate out of the tavern, built the first gristmill up the river on the Huron River. And so that group was pretty productive.
  • [01:18:20.25] SPEAKER 1: And so you mentioned Andrew Nowland. Andrew Nowland had a few children.
  • [01:18:28.05] RICHARD NOWLAND: Had quite a few. And one of their early child, John, was one of his son's son, and was the first white child born in Washtenaw County or Ann Arbor area.
  • [01:18:48.21] And if you go through the cemetery by the observatory, historically it's a great cemetery to go through. But anyway, John's burial is there. And on one of the photos I had was of John being the first white child born in Ann Arbor.
  • [01:19:11.76] Somewhat disputed about the time, but supposedly I read that one of the family members read the date of birth in the Bible. So that's how we assume that John was one of the first white children born here.
  • [01:19:31.32] SPEAKER 1: So what year was that, the date of birth?
  • [01:19:34.46] RICHARD NOWLAND: I think it was '36. I have to look and see. In fact, I think on the photo, the date. I have it, but I didn't bring that information about the birth.
  • [01:19:46.07] SPEAKER 1: Cool. Product [? dashes ?] [INAUDIBLE] you're thinking as well? OK, sweet. So you mentioned your father fought in World War I. First in the Army, and then in the Navy.
  • [01:19:59.42] RICHARD NOWLAND: Actually, his dad lived on Wall Street. They all lived on Wall Street, the family did, right where the Kellogg Center is now.
  • [01:20:08.70] And his father was involved in horses also, in raising horses, training horses, because of course carriage were used mostly at that period of time.
  • [01:20:19.78] And so supposedly, I read that my dad's father was very good-- like you've heard of the dog whisperer who treats dogs in a quiet way. Supposedly, he had a real good sense with different horses and didn't mistreat them.
  • [01:20:38.76] But my dad grew up on Lower Town. And basically when the war came, he went through the eighth grade because later one of his brothers, who was a late child, Richard Nowland also named, his father died. And so he ended up leaving school.
  • [01:21:06.51] And at that time, eighth and ninth grade was the end of a lot of kids' schooling because they went to work for their families. And that's what he did.
  • [01:21:19.05] But he would join the Army right at the beginning. And we have a picture of him at the Gandy Dancer. And it's ironic that you could carry a gun and walk out there waiting for the train to take him.
  • [01:21:31.77] And I don't know-- probably went to Fort Custer in Battle Creek. That was an Army post. In fact, it's still an Army post there.
  • [01:21:39.63] But I understand that he might have had a hernia. Some way, they discharged him. Then that was taken care of. And then he joined the Navy nearing the end of World War I. And he never went overseas with the Navy. It was always in the Great Lakes area, which was a Navy training center.
  • [01:22:04.22] SPEAKER 1: And so what did the founding of the railroad station at the Gandy Dancer and railroads, how did that change the use of horses in Ann Arbor? Was it still used to get around town usually?
  • [01:22:20.90] RICHARD NOWLAND: I remember my dad told about one time a 4th of July there was always a big party at the bottom of Broadway Hill in Lower Town. And where Plymouth Road comes, there was a church there now. I think it's some kind of a store there.
  • [01:22:35.34] And they would go with a horse and buggies and go up to the university area and pick up old wood that was being discarded. And they'd bring it back with tar. And then they'd have a huge bonfire.
  • [01:22:50.46] So there are a lot of usage of the horses in those early days. Certainly, the train systems. I don't know the date when actually the trains came active, but it was clearly a way to move up and down the river. In all these places, Jackson, Battle Creek, if you follow through, most of those early settlements were near the water.
  • [01:23:15.65] SPEAKER 1: And so the university came here in 1837. And so now it's such a huge part of Ann Arbor's culture. Was that the case back then? Or was it more of a city with a university?
  • [01:23:28.72] RICHARD NOWLAND: I think it was more of a city. And the university was obviously important coming here.
  • [01:23:33.70] When I was a kid, there was always this concept between the townies and the university. Now recognizing Ann Arbor was very small, and the university was small at that time. But there was always those conflicts between the townies and the university students. So the university was just building at that early period of time.
  • [01:23:56.43] SPEAKER 1: And so then moving-- you were a teenager during Second World War. Or you were a bit younger. But what was that like?
  • [01:24:10.23] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, it's interesting you ask because since we started this interviewing, my grandmother had a house at the bottom of Eighth Street between Washington and Liberty. And my grandmother's husband built about six good-sized homes down there. If you drive down Eighth Street, you'll see probably six or seven really nice homes there. Then he died very young of cancer.
  • [01:24:41.71] But anyway, my grandmother sold the house to Al Wheeler, who was a professor at Michigan and became the first black mayor. The only one of Ann Arbor. And we were able to visit the house, well, I guess, about last week.
  • [01:25:00.73] And tried to remember when I was a kid there because my father, they lost their home that he was building during the Depression. And so we moved in with my grandmother.
  • [01:25:14.09] And so when I went in the house, I remembered some of it. But it was really very nice inside. Great wood buildings. And it looks small now compared to where our houses are. But I think it was quite adequate at that time.
  • [01:25:34.84] But it was fun to go through the house. And the Wheeler family allowed us there. And we had a chance to talk with them, as they were early living in that area.
  • [01:25:51.19] And also, my grandmother had gotten some flack because it was the first black family that had moved into the west side. And they mentioned how, when they moved in there, they were little girls. The daughters were [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:26:06.97] The people were kind of cold to them. But then they really got friendly with them. And next door, I remember there were these two little people, two women living next door. And they were still there when the Wheeler family moved in. And they became good friends of theirs.
  • [01:26:24.55] And I might have mentioned the humorous part about that was since everybody hung their laundry outside, there were no dryers at that time. And I remember some kids at Halloween running through the back yard and got caught because of the poles and everything. They couldn't reach the high hangers on the poles when they hung their laundry. So kids would run through that yard and, all of sudden, there was the rope that they were hanging their laundry on.
  • [01:27:00.53] SPEAKER 1: And so after the war, what was a life like in Ann Arbor?
  • [01:27:05.98] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, we then moved up on Charlton, which was based off Jackson Ave. before you got to Beth park on the left side of Jackson Ave.
  • [01:27:20.35] And there were a lot of kids there. I think at one time there were 16, 17 boys within the age of two grade levels. So sports-wise, we were very involved.
  • [01:27:31.84] Virginia Park now was the city dump. And at that time, then they moved that out of there. And the kids would take over that area. We built a softball and baseball field. We'd go down in the sewers to get sand to build a high jump pit and a pole vault pit.
  • [01:27:51.97] My brother was a pole vaulter for Pioneer High School. Very good one, held the state record for a while. And so that was a very active time for the kids. Mostly were junior high school at that period of time-- late elementary, junior high.
  • [01:28:07.91] SPEAKER 1: And so you guys played baseball together. And you played baseball in high school, right?
  • [01:28:12.37] RICHARD NOWLAND: I played baseball in high school. I was a pitcher in high school. At that time every once in a while I'll see, there will be pitchers in the major leagues that throw underhanded, almost like a softball. And at that period of time, that's the way I used to pitch.
  • [01:28:32.25] And also, we had great American Legion teams because American Legion with Ford Motor Company sponsored the teams. And Ann Arbor had a very good team, and went to the Four State Regionals. Got beat out, but we went there. It was held in Battle Creek.
  • [01:28:48.60] But that was very involved. And played a lot of hockey where the McDonald's is on Stadium Boulevard was a big lake. And we would walk through White Woods, Eber White Woods, which is on Liberty, and go play hockey there all day in the wintertime.
  • [01:29:09.44] SPEAKER 1: So that high school experience was a lot of athletics. What are the differences that you see between then and now?
  • [01:29:21.04] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, one of the things we did as kids, kids always built balsa wood airplanes. You'd cut them out with a razor blade and build these planes. And we'd build a lot of planes that were war planes.
  • [01:29:39.00] And I remember we'd build the Japanese Zero, which was a fighter plane for the Japanese. And we would build those. And then we'd take them to the dump. And they would fly by rubber bands, twisted rubber bands.
  • [01:29:53.88] We'd light them on fire. And I thought, that was crazy. Take you a long time to build these. And then we'd light them on fire, and so they'd crash kind of thing.
  • [01:30:02.82] But everybody seemed to be building those kind of planes. And that was a fun time.
  • [01:30:10.65] I think now sports-wise, our kids are always involved in sports. But it's all organized.
  • [01:30:19.02] At that time, we did our own thing. I mean, other than high school, whether it was sports, everything else-- junior high school also had sports. But during the summer and everything else, we would plan our own programs. And we didn't have any adult supervision at that time.
  • [01:30:40.86] I remember, everybody had a BB gun at that time. And a Red Ryder, I always remember. In fact, I still have one. And my son bought it for me one time for Christmas.
  • [01:30:54.63] But we'd get in BB gunfights with each other. It was kind of dumb to do that. But it was the things we did at that period of time.
  • [01:31:03.47] SPEAKER 1: And so it was a lot more playing outside then.
  • [01:31:08.72] RICHARD NOWLAND: At that period time, junior high, early high school, you'd get up in the morning, you'd be out, you'd be gone all day doing some activity. Not always the most productive.
  • [01:31:20.14] But I remember one time there was a farmer who-- because that area was also a farm area-- and he had watermelons. And I remember, I'm not sure I was involved with it. But all of a sudden, people were shooting the watermelons with their BB guns.
  • [01:31:39.48] And it got in the Ann Arbor paper that the Charlton Street Vigilantes struck last night and ruined so and so's watermelon. Well, that got our names in the paper. That was a good deal. So we did a lot of fun things, not always productive ones.
  • [01:32:01.20] SPEAKER 1: And so moving on to working with AAPS. You worked at Clague, right?
  • [01:32:18.90] RICHARD NOWLAND: When I was in the Army, I had a degree in special education. And they made me then a social worker because they said I'd been working with special needs kids, which was a good experience then.
  • [01:32:30.93] When I got out of the Army, I worked in a psychiatric section as a social worker. Any time a trainee came in, a social worker was assigned to them, as long as they were there in the hospital unit.
  • [01:32:44.55] And then I came back and got my degree at Michigan. And then I did my fieldwork and social work in Dearborn. And then they hired me there.
  • [01:32:52.86] And from Dearborn, which was a big program, good program, we opened up a program with a psychologist, a special ed program in Southfield. We were living in Northville, my wife and myself. And we spent a lot of time in Ann Arbor, so then I ended up taking a job as a social worker in Ann Arbor.
  • [01:33:16.68] And after that period of time when Clague was going to be built in '72, I was a friend of Jean Henny's, who was a former administrator in the district, had gone back to teaching. We then applied for that principalship at Clague.
  • [01:33:37.90] And it was a team approach. There was not one principal. There were three basic principles. We had no assistant principals.
  • [01:33:46.51] And we developed the house program where, let's say, there were 750 kids at the opening of Clague. We would divide that into three different houses. And each administrator had a house.
  • [01:34:03.73] So I was there from '72 to '92-- 20 years. So that was a great time. I really loved middle school. I liked the kids, because they were pretty unpredictable.
  • [01:34:17.53] There was a period of time when Huron High School was overcrowded and they sent the ninth grade back to Clague and the sixth grade back to elementary.
  • [01:34:28.03] And our daughter, Liz, had the unfortunate chances of staying four years at Clague, because she came in as a sixth grader and stayed all the way through as a ninth grader.
  • [01:34:41.83] Clague was a different kind of program. Administratively, we had no counselors. Teachers basically functioned as counselors. We had one person who helped them to be better counselors with their kids. But it was a unique program. Very similar to what Community looks like now.
  • [01:35:01.20] SPEAKER 1: Would you say that that system that you helped to develop at Clague transferred over to Community? And that's why it's--
  • [01:35:09.41] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, I think they have advisors there. Even though they might be a teacher that teaches your student, they stay with them as the advisor all the time they're in high school.
  • [01:35:23.38] And that's similar to what we call anchor teachers. They were people who would stay with a given student as the advisor for three years. Might teach them for a couple years, but would stay with them. So there was a direct involvement with the relationship between the anchor teacher and the families and the students.
  • [01:35:45.70] I still get people who ask me, were you at Clague. And I'd say, yeah. And I always ask them, who is your anchor teacher. Doesn't matter how old they are, they always remember that person. Not always whether they liked them or not, but they always remembered that person had them accountable for what was happening.
  • [01:36:04.76] And I think Clague set some guidelines of small house concept. Instead of a big 800 middle school, you could divide it up into really three different house structures.
  • [01:36:20.05] SPEAKER 1: That's interesting. That's a structure we have here.
  • [01:36:23.14] RICHARD NOWLAND: Similar, yeah, I think that's right. And kids moved with that advisor. We didn't know what to call them, but teachers were involved in the beginnings of this.
  • [01:36:35.08] And I remember when Clague opened, I think in April I was released from my social work job to start planning for the new school. Well, we interviewed about 110 teachers that wanted to come. Ended up about 45 teachers. And they had a real input in what the school was going to look like.
  • [01:36:59.48] And so it's funny that I think when Skyline was open, the administration had about a year and a half to plan. We had basically from April to September to plan our program.
  • [01:37:14.92] SPEAKER 1: And so working with the school system at Clague and developing that house system, what was the most rewarding experience that you had?
  • [01:37:26.46] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, I think it was interesting because then the district went through a period of time. Basically if you brought the ninth grade back, you had certain requirements by the state level that you had to have ninth graders take units, and that sort of program. Well, that screwed up the house program.
  • [01:37:54.14] And so it was uniquely different-- Clague was-- in the sense that there was a lot of pressure because it was different. Some people didn't like the idea. But there was a big support from the families.
  • [01:38:11.06] And we actually did a survey of how our students did later on. We didn't have a lot of ability group classes, like in mathematics in sixth grade. Everybody was in the same math class.
  • [01:38:25.28] And we found the sixth graders that went into high school and did a survey, and found that our students had been very successful at Huron High School. And so there was a lot of positive feedback like that.
  • [01:38:37.91] And there was a lot of conflicts with the board and the parents at Clague because bringing the ninth grade back to Clague really changed some of the structure. And actually it ended up the ninth grade had their own house. And they had certain things that they had to meet-- requirements by the state level. But then Clague stayed on, I think, two or three years with ninth grade. And then went back to a middle school.
  • [01:39:08.45] I'm totally convinced that sixth through eighth grade is the appropriate age level to be together. Seventh and ninth graders are about as far apart as you could find. And so I'm a big supporter of the middle school concept.
  • [01:39:26.93] SPEAKER 1: And so we were talking earlier about this relationship between townies and people who work or they support the university. And so Ann Arbor is growing in size, clearly. It's like 110,000 people now. So what do you think about Ann Arbor becoming a more urban center?
  • [01:39:49.57] RICHARD NOWLAND: I think Ann Arbor is a great place. We both, my wife and myself, we love going downtown. Like to go down to the restaurants, the [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:40:01.13] I have some friends who are my age who don't even want to go downtown because it's not like it used to be. And that's true. But I think a very positive what's happened.
  • [01:40:13.43] At that earlier period time, Ann Arbor was dry. There was no alcohol in Ann Arbor. It was a dry city. The only place that sold alcohol was the American Legion, Eastwood Clubs, the VFW. And there was a facility-- I think it was on Washington-- called the Town Club, which was private membership. That was the only place that in Ann Arbor you could have any alcohol.
  • [01:40:39.29] And basically there was still a lot happening in town. And I enjoy the way the town has built up. I don't see it as a negative thing.
  • [01:40:51.90] I think traffic can be a problem, and parking. But it's still I think a vibrant community. I mean, there's a lot of things to still identify Ann Arbor from the earlier period of time.
  • [01:41:09.29] SPEAKER 1: That's all the questions I have written down. I'm going to check time. We're going to keep going. I have some other stuff that I was going to ask you about. But let me just-- how are we doing? I can't [? find ?] my glasses.
  • [01:41:24.01] SPEAKER 3: It is--
  • [01:41:26.46] SPEAKER 1: 9:37. OK. So we'll keep going. So [INAUDIBLE] for a second.
  • [01:41:45.43] RICHARD NOWLAND: One of the other things, we talk about schooling. Everybody walked. I remember in junior high school, we were way up by the fairgrounds or Beth Park-- we walked to Slauson. And you found your own way to get to Pioneer.
  • [01:42:04.07] Pioneer High School, when I was in high school, was at the corner of State and Huron Street, which is now a dorm room for the university. And our physical ed classes, which everybody was required to take, we held those at the Power Center, which if you'd see it then, it was full of trees, like it is now. And so you'd go over there, and that was part of your phys ed class at that time.
  • [01:42:38.28] In fact, that site where the Power Center, Andrew Nowland that was his property. And he gave it to the city for a cemetery. And the only restrictions I think I mentioned before was that he wouldn't be buried near the minister because when the devil came to get the minister, he didn't want to get him by mistake. So he was an interesting guy.
  • [01:43:05.45] One of the other features that he gave that as a cemetery was that he would have tea with the ladies of the town. So he was an interesting character that had all this horse services between Detroit and Ann Arbor.
  • [01:43:21.50] And if you go across the street by Rackham, there is a small little area there. That was a Jewish cemetery. The Jewish families were not buried in the same one as the Power Center is, that cemetery. And so it was an interesting period of time.
  • [01:43:41.57] He'd also given some money where the city hall is now. If they had moved the city hall, some of that property would have gone back to our family. But they built around the city hall, and then tore city hall down inside of the building. And so they stayed on that same site.
  • [01:44:05.89] SPEAKER 1: And so going back to Andrew Nowland a little bit, this is like the mid-18th.
  • [01:44:14.60] RICHARD NOWLAND: Early 18th.
  • [01:44:15.80] SPEAKER 1: Early 1800s. And so when the university decided to come here is because of Canada, and the British and Canada, if I remember correctly from what I've read. And so do you think that Andrew Nowland's trade routes between Detroit and Ann Arbor helped the university decide that Ann Arbor would be the best place to come from Detroit?
  • [01:44:40.46] RICHARD NOWLAND: I'm not sure exactly why they moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor. Maybe it's the fact there was land where they could do building.
  • [01:44:50.84] It was clear that Andrew Nowland is an example. He didn't just bring people from Detroit to Ann Arbor. He also would take them through Jackson and Battle Creek. All along the river area was building at that time.
  • [01:45:06.11] And so obviously the roads were-- you might not call them roads-- but they were able to get their horse teams through. And so I'm not sure why Ann Arbor was picked for the university. Maybe the access to the river and that aspect of it was part of it.
  • [01:45:29.84] But clearly that period of time where Ann Arbor moved in, the community was very interested in education and schooling. And some of your early schools were named after families in Ann Arbor.
  • [01:45:56.15] SPEAKER 1: So after Andrew Nowland, can you tell us a bit about the next few generations of your family before your dad?
  • [01:46:09.44] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, Andrew Nowland's family, his children, one of them went to the gold rush in California. Actually from what we gathered did pretty well. Came back and bought property. Again, many of them were farmers at that time. Died fairly young, whether it was from diseases or whatever happened. But had some money and was active. And there were some activity in the city government. Not sure what area.
  • [01:46:43.93] But I found out later on, one of Andrew's children had the land where Clague School was built. And again, that was all farmland. And so many of the children ended up as farmers in the community. And that's basically what Ann Arbor was at that period of time.
  • [01:47:04.10] But it was a vibrant town. I mean, Lower Town has been lost in the track of what happened to Ann Arbor. But that was an outgoing community that really ran the town and the leadership until it moved across the river to Upper Town area.
  • [01:47:25.72] SPEAKER 1: And so that area down by where Pontiac Trail intersects just coming off of the bridge, that's where [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:47:33.27] RICHARD NOWLAND: There's a parking structure on Wall Street right across from the Kellogg Center. And they have put up some of the early photos of that area. The house that my dad lived in was torn down to build part of Kellogg University. The university bought that land and tore most all of it. I think there might be one house down there now.
  • [01:48:00.17] But those were all dirt streets. And there were boards sometimes for sidewalks. There was a school called Donovan School, which my dad went to, which was up on the same site where the Kellogg Center is. And in fact, I think we have some pictures of them in early childhood.
  • [01:48:20.90] There were black families that lived in Lower Town at that period of time. So integration in the schools were actually happening, because I saw a photo of a class that had some black youngsters in Donovan School.
  • [01:48:38.32] SPEAKER 1: So the house you were talking about that didn't get torn down when they were building.
  • [01:48:45.06] RICHARD NOWLAND: That's on Wall Street. I think there's still one house there. Very small at that period of time.
  • [01:48:54.38] Also, during the Civil War many of the escaping slaves heading to Canada came through Ann Arbor, the Underground Railroad. And again, the access to the water was important.
  • [01:49:11.51] And there is a home up on Pontiac Trail, which has some hidden walls where people could house slaves as they were trying to get into Canada. And one time we went through that house. And you could see where there were hidden walls that were happening at that time.
  • [01:49:33.24] Another feature-- my dad was in the Navy. They have the pictures. And as he came back from the Navy, he ended up being a master plumber. But Bennett was then the head of security for Ford Motor Company.
  • [01:49:53.93] And that was a period of time when the Reuther brothers were trying to develop a union. And Harry Bennett lived at the top of Geddes, right across from Radrick Golf Course. And it's a huge home back in there. It goes back to the river.
  • [01:50:13.13] And he tried to get my dad to work for him in security because at that time Henry Ford was building cars, and you didn't get a break. You didn't have lunch time or anything else.
  • [01:50:30.56] And security basically ran roughshod over the workers. They were the ones who threw Reuther off the bridge when they were trying to unionize, and actually ended up getting a union.
  • [01:50:44.60] But Harry Bennett then, as my dad said, was always a mean kid when he was growing up. Well, he became very powerful. When Henry Ford died, he came within a few days of taking over Ford Motor Company.
  • [01:50:58.43] And so we had a chance to go through that house. I had a friend, his name was Stark, his family had bought the house-- it was called Stark Tools family. And we had a chance to go through it.
  • [01:51:10.16] And it was fascinating because there were all these hidden rooms that you could go down a back stairway behind a bookcase, and it would get you down in the basement. And they had a tunnel to the river. So if there were people trying to get to Harry Bennett because, as I say, he hired Navy veterans and people who had been in jail. And so he was a very frightening guy.
  • [01:51:42.05] Well, you could get in those tunnels and it would take you right to the river. And he had boats where you could escape if there was somebody coming after him.
  • [01:51:50.12] There was also a rumor, whether it was true or not, I think it might have been-- but there was an outhouse that also had a tunnel coming into the home. And supposedly, he had a couple of lions there. And if they were being chased, he could lock off one set, and the lions would come into the tunnel.
  • [01:52:09.78] Now I don't know if that was totally true or not. But it was a fascinating home, just to see how Harry Bennett was concerned about people coming after him.
  • [01:52:21.00] SPEAKER 1: And so this is the early 1900s during the union battles. So can you just tell us again what Harry Bennett did?
  • [01:52:38.16] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, he was the right hand to Henry Ford. Henry Ford was an interesting person. He was first one who built the lines that took place in cars. And he employed the workers, but he also was very rigid with them. If you spent more time in the bathroom, they'd come in and grab you off the toilet seat to get back to work.
  • [01:53:05.46] Bennett had these thugs that basically controlled the plants that they worked at. And so he was very strong. And Henry was really very supportive of him. Like I say, he almost ended up taking over the company at that period of time.
  • [01:53:25.89] Another interesting feature-- my father became a fee deputy sheriff. Meaning that when there was needing somebody, they would come by and pick him up at the house, if there was something going on where he was paid an hourly. Not during work time but at evenings or if there was accidents, or whatever there might be.
  • [01:53:53.01] But at that time, my dad loved to be involved in that. And the sheriff was a Republican. And when Democrats took over, then they hired all new fee deputies.
  • [01:54:10.26] But my dad was involved in taking him. There was a murder in Ypsilanti, more murders. And this young college kid had murdered some women, young college students at Eastern Michigan. And he ended up taking him to Jackson Prison because he was incarcerated at Jackson at that time. But that was a little sidelight the things my dad liked to get involved in. And it was a little extra money that was available.
  • [01:54:47.19] But at that time also during the war, Willow Run was the first place that built B-24s. And I think one came off the line every 90 minutes.
  • [01:54:59.74] And so that area where there's a golf course there now was housing that they built. And the workers worked usually six days and had one day off, and worked more than eight hours a day. And so there was a lot of goings on.
  • [01:55:18.34] That was a period of time where black families came up from the South to work at the bomber plant. So there was a lot of conflict at Willow Run at that time. And sometimes he was involved with going out there and trying to keep the peace, which was going on. But there was a highly pressurized time during the war when the 24's were being built.
  • [01:55:40.86] Actually, they started building those planes before the war started because Roosevelt really understood that we were going to end up getting in the war anyway.
  • [01:55:51.40] SPEAKER 1: And so with Willow Run picking up during the war, did Ann Arbor have any of that tension? Or was Ann Arbor still mainly just--
  • [01:56:04.79] RICHARD NOWLAND: No, I think clearly at that period of the war, all the young men basically were drafted or volunteered. My brother wanted to join the Marines when he was a senior in high school, but my dad wouldn't sign for him. He ended up going to the Navy when he graduated. They drafted him right away, which he later on said that was a good situation because he always had a place to sleep.
  • [01:56:36.33] And they landed the Marines at all the major war areas in the South Pacific-- Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands. So he saw a lot of action that was happening. In fact, their ship was attacked by a kamikaze plane and didn't sink it. But they had to go into New Zealand for repairs during the war.
  • [01:57:02.76] SPEAKER 1: And so [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:57:05.45] RICHARD NOWLAND: The other thing about kids at that time, for kids like us, you see some of the ration books, that everybody had a ration book. That's the only way you could buy anything. And when you used those stamps up, you didn't get any others. And you got a new ration book every month.
  • [01:57:27.84] And so everybody was involved in the war effort. I remember as kids, we would keep balls of yarn. We would bring tin in, metal in, for war efforts. And everybody, if you had some money, were buying war bonds, which you could buy for let's say $17. And then later when they became due, you could get $25 for them. But all that money was for the war effort.
  • [01:58:00.48] SPEAKER 1: What's up?
  • [01:58:02.88] SPEAKER 3: 9:54.
  • [01:58:03.87] SPEAKER 1: 9:54. OK, we have 20 minutes.
  • [01:58:10.08] So we're counting down over most of what we want to talk about from Andrew Nowland and his sons to your father. And I think we've got a lot of good stuff there. So I think we're probably good. Is there anything else you want to talk about?
  • [01:58:35.73] RICHARD NOWLAND: No. I always loved to go downtown and try to see some of the same sights. Michigan Theater is a great example. What a gorgeous theater.
  • [01:58:51.96] And I remember going there as a kid and watching stage shows. I remember watching Blackstone the Magician. And in fact, I was with another couple guys and we stayed on for the second act-- there were two showings of it-- to see if we could figure out how he did certain tricks. But he was a famous traveling magician.
  • [01:59:18.31] And there was also the Whitney Theater, which was on Main Street as you move down towards going north on Main Street across from the city hall. That was a huge vaudeville theater. They had two balconies. It was a great facility. And they had world-wide singers, talent that came in there. And it was sad that it fell in disrespect.
  • [01:59:49.78] There was also a theater around the corner from the Michigan Theater called the Majestic. And that was right by the parking structure across from the new Knight's restaurant.
  • [02:00:04.26] And I always remember mother said her and her husband went there a lot of times Saturday night for movies. But that was the thing to do at that time. On Main Street, there was the Wuerth Theater and the Orpheum. The Orpheum now is the restaurant Gratzi. And those were some of the early things.
  • [02:00:26.04] When I was a kid, we would walk up to the Wuerth Theater on Main Street. We would go at 12:30. We'd see a serial, maybe like Batman or Captain Marvel. And then there would be a couple other serials on news. There was always what was going on in the war effort. And then there was a double feature.
  • [02:00:48.39] So you'd be there from 12:30 until 5:00. And that's what kids did a lot at that time.
  • [02:00:57.24] SPEAKER 1: So that was like the entertainment.
  • [02:00:59.41] RICHARD NOWLAND: Yeah. And that was very active, it was cheap. I mean, I don't remember what it cost to go there. But every Saturday, kids would go there at that time.
  • [02:01:14.03] SPEAKER 1: One more thing I want to touch on. We got to it a little bit. So Lower Town was the center of Ann Arbor.
  • [02:01:22.50] RICHARD NOWLAND: Early on.
  • [02:01:23.04] SPEAKER 1: Early on. Correct. And so the primary structure you mentioned there. I had one quick question. Do you know anything about the lot as you go down Wall Street to the left?
  • [02:01:32.97] RICHARD NOWLAND: Yeah. That was the big empty lot.
  • [02:01:35.34] SPEAKER 1: Yeah, yeah.
  • [02:01:36.27] RICHARD NOWLAND: Well, boy, I think it was a Kroger store. I'm not sure. Or A&P maybe. That was a big grocery store. And that was a very active facility.
  • [02:01:49.92] And then they closed it down. And there was supposed to be a big high-rise building. Nothing went in there.
  • [02:01:58.54] I don't know whether there is some thought about it happening now or not. But that would have been later on. But that was where you'd buy your groceries and things of that sort. It was very active that period of time down there.
  • [02:02:15.30] But it's been vacant for years, that lot has been. I haven't driven by. Maybe they're planning on building something there. I don't know what.
  • [02:02:24.59] SPEAKER 1: I'm not sure either.
  • [02:02:25.74] RICHARD NOWLAND: But it is right down at the bottom of Broadway Hill.
  • [02:02:29.91] SPEAKER 1: And then a question I had about the Native American tribes in the area. So with the center of Ann Arbor being Lower Town, and the river goes through pretty nearby there, on the other side near Kellogg Center. And then so I know there were a few Native American tribes in what was now Barton Hills, Right
  • [02:02:55.53] RICHARD NOWLAND: Up in that area.
  • [02:02:56.39] SPEAKER 1: Yeah. Was that the epicenter?
  • [02:02:58.53] RICHARD NOWLAND: Yeah, I think so. There were different tribes that lived in that area and all through the Detroit area, all through northern Detroit area. There is a cast lake which is off of, let's see, it must be Pontiac Trail. That was a site.
  • [02:03:19.50] I can't remember. There was a little island in the middle of the lake. And I can't remember now what in Native American Indian tribe, they would stay there on the island during the wintertime.
  • [02:03:38.07] But the relationship from all I could gather between the townspeople and the tribes was very positive. There was not a negative thing.
  • [02:03:52.46] And I think, there was always a story. The Indians wanted some of the fire water which was whiskey being sold in town. And there was some conflicts. But I don't know if there's much truth to that or not.
  • [02:04:10.36] But anyway, that was good relationships between the local people. But of course, the white man was taking over the property. I mean, if you could buy an acre for $1, you could build a pretty good farmland on 30 acres.
  • [02:04:33.25] SPEAKER 1: So probably want to start setting up? Yeah, so I think we're getting there.
  • [02:04:43.34] RICHARD NOWLAND: I just wish that I had spent more time talking with my dad about early things. And he had so many great stories about his life. I never was able to sit down and videotape any of it. Or not at that time, video taping. But record some of his experiences because he was very active.
  • [02:05:10.13] He was the head of the American Legion, the commander of the American Legion, which was right on Main Street, just before you get to the stadium. It was a big hall there.
  • [02:05:22.74] And he was the head of the program, part of the American Legion, called the Forty and Eight. It was named after World War I where on a boxcar during the war, they would have 40 soldiers and eight horses on the boxcar because that's the way they moved people throughout Europe on the train system.
  • [02:05:48.30] And that group became called the Forty and Eight. And I always remember they had an old train boxcar that they traveled in. They had converted it into a car system. And they would travel to reunions and that sort of thing.
  • [02:06:04.02] And I know my dad was in a marching band at the American Legion. And of course, after the war, American Legion, VFW, were very active places for veterans to go.
  • [02:06:16.21] SPEAKER 1: And then actually, one more thing. So there's the two highways that wrap around Ann Arbor now. Were those built under Eisenhower?
  • [02:06:26.47] RICHARD NOWLAND: I don't know. We were talking the other day. I have a grandson that goes to Western. And you think about 94 now.
  • [02:06:35.89] Well, there was no 94. You had to drive Jackson Road all the way into-- if you were going to Chicago, that's the road you had to drive, a two lane road. And so people can complain about the highways and how bad of a shape they're in, which they are.
  • [02:06:53.55] But think of those days where going to Chicago was an ordeal. You had to go on a small two-lane road. So when you think about it, you get on Jackson and you go, I'm going to be able to drive to Chicago with that?
  • [02:07:16.97] SPEAKER 1: And then did the highways change Ann Arbor much? Or was it not really a big thing.
  • [02:07:23.77] RICHARD NOWLAND: Obviously, the more accessibility of people to move to different areas and go different places. My wife talks about where they lived-- she lived in Saint Johns, which is the other side of Lansing. It's on 27 going up north.
  • [02:07:42.38] Well, they would go visit friends at Grosse Ile, which is down at the Detroit River. Well, that was an ordeal. That took you a long time to get there because the road systems were not upgraded the way they are now. So you could travel, but like I said, it was not easy to do.
  • [02:08:03.54] SPEAKER 1: All right. I think that's the whole thing.
  • [02:08:07.87] RICHARD NOWLAND: OK. Well, we'll be looking forward. I don't know, I'd go, oh my god, did I say that.
  • [02:08:14.46] [LAUGHTER]