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Baumgardner's Barn, 1887

Baumgardner's Barn, 1887 image

301 North Fifth Avenue

Baumgardner's Barn, 1887

This plain brick barn with an 1887 date stone under the eaves is the last surviving building of a complex that once dominated this small triangle of land. The buildings were all part of John Baumgardner's stone and marble business that specialized in sidewalks, tombstones, and sills and lintels for buildings. His business was the successor to that of his stepfather Anton Eisele and examples of their work can be seen on the Eisele house across the street at 216 Catherine Street. The entire complex later became the Wurster Dairy and the barn was used to stable the horses that pulled the milk wagons.

By the Depression of the 1930s, the other buildings in the complex were razed for a gas station. In the 1950s both gas station and barn served as a used car lot and paint and bump shop and were almost demolished by urban renewal. Today the barn is a rare survivor of another era in the heart of a thriving revitalized commercial district.

Though the hayloft door remains intact, the large garage door below was replaced by a window and entry door after a car smashed into the southeast corner of the building in 1978. The original windows were replaced during a renovation in the 1980s. The building recently housed an Italian grocery store run by the Argiero family who operate a restaurant in the former gas station next door.

Rights Held By
Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.