In a lively city the sound of hammers and the whirr of saws can be heard the year round. This is the case with Ann Arbor. The approach of winter does not deter her busy masons and carpenters. They lay brick and drive nails at all seasons of the year, regardless of the weather - indeed they are compelled to do so, otherwise prosperous Ann Arbor would too soon outgrow its clothes. We cannot claim for this city a "boom," nor do we care to do so. Booms are suspicious. They are frequently fashioned of the things that "dreams are made of," and when they fade away they leave little or nothing behind them. Ann Arbor's growth is a conservativo and safe growth. The needs of business men and residents are continually expanding and must be provided for, but speculators do not find in this city a paradise. An expenditure of $535,945 in one year is by no means a poor showing for a town of 10,000 people. This was Ann Arbor's record for 1890. It is doubtful if many cities in Michigan, with less than 30,000 people, do better than this. The Humber of new residences erected was not less than 106. They cost $224,025 - an average of $2,113.44 apiece. There were few palatial houses in the number and equally few small or cheap houses. The University spent last year 829,000 and themanufacturing establishments 832,000. The new electric railway was built at an expense of $70,000. The extent of the improvements may be well seen in the following table, which was carefully compiled by The Register in January last: New residences 1224,025 General repairs on houses and Btores- estimated 70,000 Church improvements- including the McMillan Hall 36,600 Stores and important improvements 20,660 Manufacturing Improvements 82,000 University improvements.. 29,000 Gas Company - repairs 8,000 Ann Arbor Water Co 7,000 Railroadimp., Michigan Central 12,003 „ T. &A. A. Ry 670 Ann Arbor street railway 70 000 Hamllton Park 2,500 Michigan Telephone Company 560 Street improvements- crosswalks, etc 9,200 Electric llght improvements 8,000 Schools, new building and repairs 8,650 County buildings- repairs 2,140 535,915 It is, of oourse, too early to compile at this time an equally exhaustiva table for 1891. The building season is but fairly begun and many new structures, not yet touched, will be commenced within the next few months. Xevertheless, it may safely be affirmed that the total value of improvements will not be less than it was last year. The number of new residences will proach 150, at least, and many place the tigure as high as 200. The general repairs on houses and stores will amount to as much as they did in 1890, as will also the manufacturing and street improvements. The new hospitals, now completed, have cost over $80,000, and other University buildings, to oost not less than $45,000, will soon be commenced. In every part of the city the greatest activity can be seen. One addition, that of Mrs. O. B. Hall, is almost entirely covered with buildings, although it was platted only a little over a year ago. Even in the Pifth ward, the oldest portion of Ann Arbor, new houses are springing up like magie. Many of the residences completed this year cali for especial mention. That of Hon. Charles R. Whitman, state railroad commissioner, has cost between $15,000 and 820,000. It is colonial in style. The lower part is built of native stone and the upper part is finished in California red wood shingles. There are three stories, each one of which is finished off in the best woods obtainable. The residence of David Rinsey was completed in the early spring. It cost between $8,000 and 810,000, and is a model of beauty and convenience. The new home of Mrs. C. A. Wright stands at the corner of State and Hill-sts. It is built of stone and wood and cost upwards of 810,000, Another fine residence is that of Miss S. M. Gardner on Washtenaw-ave. In the early spring Donald Mclntyre completed a 84,000 house on west Huron-st., and Prof. W. W. Beman recently took possession of his new $5,000 house on North-st. C. H. Cady is now building a residence on Packard-st, which will cost about the same. Clark Cornwell's new house on Cornwell Place will be a fine building. E. B. Hall is erecting a residence on Hill-st, worth between $4,000 and 85,000, and Mrs. O B. Hall is building another, equally fine. on Washtenaw-ave. Martin Haller has completed a house on Main-st which will cost over $3,500 And so the story runs. We might mention also the following new residences, either finished or begun this year: Those of N. W. Cheever, $3,500; F. A. Wilson, $3,500; F. G. Schleede, $3,000; Fred Rettich, $3,000; Mrs. A. L. Behr, 83,200; G. M. Henion, 83,000. The number of the new houses costing upwards of $3,000 is so largethat it would be useless to attempt giving details. Existing business buildings have undergone considerable improvement, and some new ones have been erected. The store of Mack & Schmid has been re fitted from top to bottom, a new front has been put in and a bay window has been built on the second floor. The Maynard block, the store of C. W. Wagner & Co., the building now occupied by Frank O'Hearn's billiard hall, the stores of L. Gruner, Bach & Abel, E. F. Mills & Co., Wadhams, Kennedy & Reule, an d Schuh & Muehlig, have all been considerably improved and the Cook hotel has been renovated from the basement to the roof. Prof. F. M. Hamilton has about completed a two-story brick block on William-st., near the University. In the near future the "Blackstone block" will be erected on the corner of Fourthaye and Ann-st. It will be two stories high, with a steep roof, forty feet wide and architecturally unexcelled. Street improvements include, besides the usual number of culverts and repairs, several important additions. Work has already begun on a magníficent bridge across the Hurón which will cost upwards of $3,000. Division-st has been widened and graded at a large expense. The Toledo, Ann Arbor &North Michigan railroad has already begun preliminary work looking to the erection of a fine steel bridge over the Hurón river and the tracks of the Michigan Central railroad. It will be about 900 feet long and will cost not less than $á0,000. The engineer was instructed to prepare plans for a structure whose equal could not be found in Michigan. Among the church improvements may be mentioned the completion of McMillan Hall, which cost over 820,000, the erection of the new Bethel A. M. E. church, at an expense of nearly S4,000, the completion of the Second Baptist church, the finishing and fitting up of Newberry Hall, the building of a 82,500 hall for the Roman Catholics, and the repairing of the Baptist and Presbyteian churches. The total cost of church improvements cannot be less than Sïo.m. The manufacturing establishments also, have been active in the building line. A large addition to the furniture factory, to cost 810,000, is now under way. All the other establishments have done a large amount of repairing. In a rough and unsatisfactory way, we have attempted to give a stranger a little idea of what Ann Arbor is doing this year in the way of building. A drive around the city would satisfy the visitor that we have not exaggerated in the least.