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Felch Park Was Not Gift To City

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Felch Park Was Not Gift To City

Gallup Reviews History Of Property Sought By ‘U’

Records in the city clerk’s office show that Felch Park was not a gift to the city, as has been contended by some Ann Arbor citizens protesting possible sale of the property to the University for $30,000.

The University presumably would utilize the park in its building expansion program.

Emphasizing that "I do not want to take sides in the discussion about Felch Park,” E. A. Gallup, superintendent of parks, issued a statement today “to clarify the facts about the park’s history.”

‘Free From Restrictions’

The records show that the city purchased the park property for $1,300 from Charles Whitman in 1891, and “received a warranty deed free from any restrictions as to use.”

Some of the statements in letters protesting the proposed sale “do not correspond with the facts shown by the deeds on file with the city clerk,” said Mr. Gallup, since the writers believed that the property had come to the city as a gift.

Following is the complete statement relative to the history of the park’s ownership, including the transactions by which ownership was transferred:

Formerly A Cemetery

“According to the copies of the deeds, Andrew Nowland and Polly Nowland sold part of the land to Henry Rumsey, supervisor of Ann Arbor Township, in July, 1834. The cash consideration named in the deed was $23. In October, 1834, Andrew Nowland joined with Lorrin Mills and James Allen in deeding an adjoining parcel which provided a lane from North University Ave. The consideration in this transaction was $30.

“The land was used for burial purposes for several years but on the formation of the Forest Hill Cemetery Association interest lagged and the old cemetery was neglected. Many of the remains were removed by survivors and descendants to Forest Hill cemetery.

“In 1889 Charles Whitman purchased the old cemetery grounds from the Township of Ann Arbor. In 1891 the city purchased Mr. Whitman’s interest, opened Huron St. and 12th St. (now called Fletcher St.) and created Felch park. The city paid Mr. Whitman $1,300 for the property and received a warranty deed free from any restrictions as to use. The Board of Public Works was directed to remove the remains from all marked graves in a careful and respectful manner. The remains and headstones were removed to a plot in Fairview cemetery where they have been maintained.”