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Ann Arbor Yesterdays ~ How We Got To Here

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 7:44am

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On February 12, 1960, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/20415|Lela Duff] launched a column in the Ann Arbor News called [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/20411|Ann Arbor Yesterdays] that became so popular with readers that it ran for 75 weeks covering every aspect of local history in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. Ms. Duff was well known to thousands of Ann Arbor High School students but after [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19520614-miss_duff_ends_teaching_career|34 years] of teaching English she retired and began her "second career" as a local historian.

Ann Arbor Yesterdays began, fittingly, with a discussion of the history of the naming of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19600215-ann_arbor_yesterdays_that_puzzling_name|Ann Arbor]. Her research was impeccable, using every available University, City, County and private [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19600307-ann_arbor_yesterdays_a_word_about_source|archive and collection] to tell the story of our development. Although [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19600425-ann_arbor_yesterdays_lets_take_a_walk|historic buildings] where a continual topic of the columns, Ms. Duff gave readers a rich tableau that included the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19601010-ann_arbor_yesterdays_coming_of_the_germans|immigrants] who settled the area, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19600229-ann_arbor_yesterdays_those_old_time_plays|theater]and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19600321-ann_arbor_yesterdays_the-red-cross|civic organizations], [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19600502-ann_arbor_yesterdays_memories_of_may_festivals|music] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19610116-ann_arbor_yesterdays_old_time|recreation]. The story of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19600523-ann_arbor_yesterdays_the_lower_town_story|Lower Town] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19601128-ann_arbor_yesterdays_new_city_hall|Downtown], the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19600606-ann_arbor_yesterdays_campus_white_house|University] and the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19610612-ann_arbor_yesterdays_century_of_business.jpg|names] that made them possible. Ms. Duff devoted five columns to the early churches of Ann Arbor, from [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19610220-ann_arbor_yesterdays_our_early_churches_the_presbyterian|First Presbyterian] to [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19610320-ann_arbor_yesterdays_st_thomas_the_apostle|St. Thomas].

There were humorous columns on [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19600822-ann_arbor_yesterdays_from_genesis_to_homer|crime] and youthful [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19601031-ann_arbor_yesterdays_when_boys|shenanigans]. Two of the most heartfelt columns were a remembrance of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19601107-ann_arbor_yesterdays_armistice_day|Armistice Day], 1918 and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19601226-ann_arbor_yesterdays_not_for_self|Albert Warnhoff] who made sure Christmas came to all children. Ms. Duff bid Ann Arbor News readers [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19610710-ann_arbor_yesterdays_a_farewell_miscellany|goodbye] in July, 1961 and was immediately [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N071_0467_003|honored] for her columns by the Historical Society of Michigan. And by [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19621003-lela_duffs_book_out|October] the columns became one of the most popular and enduring local history books in Ann Arbor. You'll want to check out a copy of [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1021933|Ann Arbor Yesterdays]from AADL to see the added illustrations and photos that bring to life the buildings and people from her columns. Ms. Duff continued to fight the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19701010-preview_at_kempf_house|good fight] for historic preservation throughout her life. The [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19830428-historys_grand_lady|"Grand Lady"] of local history died in 1983 but her legacy lives on in her columns, her books and her commitment to our past.