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For The Public Weal

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The Business Men's Association of Ann Arbor was organized in the spring of 188Gj its first officers being the following: President, Henry S. Dean; vioe president, Thomas J. Keech; corresponding secretary, Charles E. Hiscoek; recording secretary, G. F. Allmendinger; treasurer, Christian Mack; directora- Dr. W. F. Breakey, Nelson J. Kyer, Junius E. Beal and Kendall Kittrodge. These men, witli many others, who were united in the association wlth them, resolved to do what could be done to change the stagnant condition in which the city rested, apparently content, and to make an effort to overtake some of her sister cities, which, while less favored, had passed her in growth and in availing themselves of natural advantages. They resolved to do this work as an association, as members of other organizations and as individuals. It had become habitual in certain quarters to speak of the city in a d tory manner. This practice was frowned upon and many articles from the pens of its memlxrs were published to set in their true light the many advantages of which the city was possessed. In the same line of work caine a publication of an edition of 10,000 copies of a pamphlet entitled "Ann Arbor Illustrated," at the hands of a oommittee of the association, of which A. W. Hamilton was chairman, ts other members being Edward Duffy, John J. Robison and several of the officers mentioned nbove. These were widely circulated, and there is abundant evidenoe that good has resulted to the city from the publication. A direct result of the work of the association was the establishment of the Ann Arbor Engine Works, which make a specialty of building one of the finest types of Corliss engines. The association also built a building costing several thousand dollars for a capsulo factory, and organized later the Advance Refrigerator Co., with a capital subscribed of $50,000. ïhese last two ventures have not borne the best of fruit and have prejudiced the association against imported concerns, which came solely for a bonus. The policy has been adopted, rather, of fostering and strengthening enterprises already existing and of starting others under the management of our own citizens. In this way members have, since the organization of the association, assisted in incorporating the Ann Arbor Fruit and Vinegar Co., The Allmendinger Piano and Organ Co., The Crescent Clasp Co., The Thompson-Heuston Electric Light Co., The Ann Arbor Street Railway Co. and Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti Motor Kailway Co. While assisting the manufacturing interests of the city, the association has been mindful of the fact that Ann Arbor is peculiarly a residence city, and that everything done to add to its attractiveness would increase its desirability for residence purposes. The old city charter had been outgrown. A committee of the association assisted in the preparation of a new one and in securing its passage at Lansing by the state legislature. One of the creations of the new charter was a board of public works. The first board selected was comprised of Thomas J. Keech, Herman Hutzel and J. F. Schuh, all members of the association, the tirst named having been for two years its president. These men have don an immense amount of work in opening streots, straightening streets, building sidewalks and making various other improvements, which have transformed the city into a park. In the way of sidewalks, about thirty miles have been built in the past three years. What other city of 10,000 people, without a "boom" and simply pursuing the even tenor of its way, can show such a record? The city was disfigured by a number of old and dilapidated buildings. Under powers possessed by the council, these were ordered torn down, and their "room" has indeed proven preferable to their "company." As members of the school board and as trustees of the churches, members of the association have taken a prominent part in theornamentation of public grounds and particularly in securing for these grounds the "lawn extensions" which are so marked a feature of Ann Arbor's streets. The citizens as a whole have been quick to follow the example set, and today Ann Arbor challenges the world to show a city of its size having the mileage that it has of neatly-kept streeta and the extent of ornamented grounds. The present board of officers comprise the following: A. L. Noble, president; J. F. Schuh, vice president; G. F. Allmendinger, recording secretary; S. A. Moran, correspouding secretary, and Frederick Sohmid, treasurer. The association is striving to créate sentiment favorable to the construction of sewers according to the plans of Prof. C. E. Greene, a vote on this question being unanimously adopted in favor of the plans at the annual meeting of the association held in July. To those members of the city council, who are retarding the construction of this needed ïmprovement, it may be said that their attitude gives the friends of sewerage no concern. The Business Men's Association has never yet advocated any measure which it has not ultimately carried to a sucessful termination. Still another project, which is now in the hands of a competent comrnittee of the association, is the organization of a "School of Music," for which Ann Arbor has an unsurpassed location. The prediction is here recorded that in the near future Ann Arbor will have a school of music, destined to increase in attendance at the same astonishing rate of growth which has made the State University a wonder, even to its friends. nFromthe above it will be seen that the Business Men's Association of Ann Arbor is not an adjunct of any booming movement. It concerns itself only wilh solid and substantial growth. It has materially aided in establishin: a healthful feeling as to the city's possibilities and today no one speaks of Ann Arlxr with the sneering accents so often heard in the olden time. On the contrary, the belief of its citizens is voiced by one of its clergymen, who has remarked, "It is a natural feeling which induces men to th'ink the town they live in to be the beet in the world. We in Ann Arbor, however, know it to be true regarding our city." Such has been the work of the associntion, and in its future efforts itdeserves the support of every live citizen of Ann Arbor.


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