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Ann Arbor's first City Hall, 1907-1963

Ann Arbor's first City Hall, 1907-1963 image

Completed in 1907, Ann Arbor's first City Hall provided first-floor office space for expanding public services and a council chamber above. The eight-man Police Department had a separate entrance on Fifth Avenue. The Fire Department was already located across Huron Street in the landmark 1882 Firemen's Hall. After incorporation in 1833, the village council met sporadically in the Courthouse office of Ann Arbor's founder, John Allen, the first village president. Ordinances adopted at the first meeting dealt with matters of public safety, such as the discharge of firearms, and hogs and dogs running wild. In 1836 the village established a volunteer fire department. Putting out fires and providing cistern water to fight them cost over a third of the village's total 1848 income of $2,152. The village hired workers to ring the Presbyterian church bell to mark the hours, erect and light street lamps around the Courthouse, and repair the dirt streets. The 1851 charter made the village a city governed by a mayor and aldermen with enlarged taxing powers. The first paid police force was organized in 1871, funded by license fees on saloons and billiard tables, which were considered "sources of disorder." Until 1895 the city continued to lease space in the County Courthouse. Expanding services then made it necessary to rent offices on North Fourth Avenue in the new "City Building" and by 1907 to build a new City Hall.

Frame location: On City Hall lawn, northeast corner of Fifth and Huron, inside sidewalk crossing and south of large spruce tree, facing southwest

Collection info: Sturgis Collection

This image may be protected by copyright law. Contact the Bentley Historical Library for permission to reproduce, display or transmit this image. Repository: Bentley Historical Library