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All Aboard the Freedom Train

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 12:47pm by oldnews

Freedom Train

On August 18, 1948, the Freedom Train pulled into Ann Arbor at Ferry Field. This traveling museum of the most important documents in American history gave people a rare opportunity to view and learn about America's founding documents, historic events and guiding principles. Washtenaw County decided to celebrate the exhibit in a very big way with a week of parades and events leading up to the train's arrival.

There was a Veteran's Parade, a Children's Parade, a Community Organization's Parade, a Voter Registration Day, parties and speeches throughout the County. The Ann Arbor News covered the events extensively and put out a special Freedom Train edition. Old News has published the photos the Ann Arbor News photographers took -- not just the few that made it into the paper. There were floats galore, bands aplenty, excited kids, a sea of bikes, long lines at Ferry Field and in the Exhibit.

An interesting part of the special edition were the ads by local merchants tailored to the exhibit. Each ad highlighted an important freedom like trial by jury and unlawful search and seizure, or a civic duty like voting and volunteering. The focus of many of the ads and speeches were those running for office, exhorting them to be fully educated to our Constitution, Bill of Rights and civil liberties. 1948 was a Presidential Election year and the Freedom Train's travels throughout the 48 states surely had an impact on candidates and voters.

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Sneak Peek at Performance Network at its Dawn

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 1:15pm by oldnews

The Performance Network, formerly an Ann Arbor professional theater group, enters Old News in 1982 with the article Their corner of the world’s a stage. “Our immediate aim is to be studio or work space,” explained David Bernstein, one of Performance Network’s co-founders. For the first two years, Performance Network was a place for directors, playwrights, actors and stage crew to develop their professional skills. A unique feature was the “Works-in-Progress” series, stage readings of plays followed by a discussion with the playwright. Among them was Rachelle Urist, a reporter for the Ann Arbor News, who had her play, "Just Friends,” stage read and later developed into a full production. Opening their doors was the play, "We Won’t Pay, We Won’t Pay,” which heralded the era of Performance Network. Stay tuned for additional articles, photographs, programs, and more, from Performance Network's long history.

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Summer Is Here And So Are The Fireworks

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 9:26am by oldnews

Image removed.

Independence Day, the Fourth of July, or July 4th, however you wish to refer to the nation’s official founding day, it is the one and only big summer holiday. It rings in the country’s separation from the British Empire (a sort of Brexit of our own), and, for some, the start of summer. With BBQ’s, picnics, fairs, parades, and fireworks, fireworks, fireworks being sold and shot off all around town, now is a great time to look back on our own history of Fourths’ gone by. There's no better place to see some great pictures as well as articles from the historic Ann Arbor News than the library’s very own Oldnews site. If you remember a guy who dressed up as a clown nurse or another who brought a skunk to the parade, you can see them on Oldnews.

Wonder what fireworks were available back in 1961? See them on display here. Remember the Buhr Park fireworks? Relive a moment in time from one of those events in 1963 or read the article about it. And of course there are plenty of parades. You can see the Ypsilanti High School's Girls Drum & Bugle Corps or the Boy Scouts, Troop 88 float in different Ypsilanti parades. But by far the favorite is the Greenbriar Subdivision kid’s parade. But if enjoying the beach is more your speed, Groome's Beach circa 1963 may give you ideas for celebrating the Fourth in a more relaxed manner.

Any way you celebrate, enjoy a safe and happy holiday!

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Blog Post

The University of Michigan Zoo

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 5:46pm by oldnews

Wolverine

If you were in Ann Arbor between 1929 and 1962, you had the opportunity to visit the University of Michigan Zoo. On October 11, 1929, an article in the Michigan Daily said the zoo would open “in about three weeks” and would boast a weather vane by famed UM sculptor Carleton Angell. A December 11, 1929 Michigan Daily article reports animals moved in "last week". The tiny zoo enclosure was constructed behind the Alexander G. Ruthven Museums Building, what most of us think of as U of M's Natural History Museum. (The giant pumas that guard the front doors of the Natural History Museum were sculpted by Carleton Angell too!)

Inside today's museum is a memorial to the zoo which explains "...In 1929, a University of Michigan alumnus anonymously offered a collection of live native Michigan animals. It was the donor's hope that the animals could be enjoyed by children staying in the hospital then located across the street. A circular animal house and pond known as the "Museum Zoological Park" were constructed behind the Museums Building." Old news articles and photos show zoo residents like badgers, a bobcat, red foxes, skunks, otters, raccoons, several pairs of black bears throughout the years, and a wolverine named Biff. At some point a "reptile pit" was added, which included snakes and turtles.

In 1938, elaborate plans surfaced for a forty acre zoological garden to be located near the University of Michigan hospital. A WPA grant was "expected to provide the finances" for a wildlife utopia, where animals of the tiny U of M Zoo would be turned loose to live with no cages. The location of this dream zoo, which never came to fruition, seems to be the edge of what is now Nichols Arboretum.

Despite the popularity of the U of M Zoo, it was torn down in 1962 to make room for an addition to the Ruthven Museums Building. A few Ann Arbor City Council members, as well as many Ann Arbor townspeople, appealed to the University Board of Regents to save and/or relocate the beloved 30something year old zoo, but eventually the animals were relocated and the zoo became a memory. By today's zoological standards, the animals of Ann Arbor lived in fairly terrible, tiny, cramped quarters. The "Animal House", as it came to be called, never grew to be a wildlife utopia, but certainly provided countless Ann Arbor children and their families the opportunity to appreciate Michigan wildlife up close.

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Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe Dies at 88

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 11:27am by oldnews

In November, 1997 Gordie Howe visited Ypsilanti High School and Washtenaw Community College to raise funds for the Rotary Scholarship Fund, one of hundreds of organizations and causes Mr. Hockey supported throughout his life. He thrilled the students, signed sticks and challenged all who met him to achieve, inspire and contribute throughout their lives as he did.

We Red Wings fans (and probably most hockey fans) consider him the greatest hockey player in history. The NHL has put up a great tribute to Gordie. Be sure and watch the CBC throughout the weekend as Saskatoon's greatest is honored.

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Memorial Days Of The Past

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 2:58pm by oldnews

Memorial Day Dad

Who doesn’t love a parade? And Memorial Day certainly is full of them. Ann Arbor is no exception either. Whether it is the Ann Arbor High Marching Band or Brownie Scouts or just groups of kids watching the parade, we have gathered some wonderful articles and photos. In addition to parades there are other commemorations for this holiday and for Armed Forces Day as celebrated in Ann Arbor. You can find them all here.

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60th Anniversary of 'New' Ann Arbor High School, April 1956

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 10:07am by oldnews

Hallway

This week marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of the 'New' Ann Arbor High School in April 1956. Old News has published the photos and articles that tell the story from students campaigning for new digs in February, 1953 to the first commencement in June, 1956. Voters had barely passed the bond when the earth movers starting clearing the old Stadium Hills Golf Course to make way for the new high school. There are great shots of the construction and the various buildings that make up the complex. A cornerstone ceremony was held in December, 1954, led by the AAHS Marching Band. By May, 1955, the building was ready for a Student Council inspection and in November, 1995, the School Board sponsored a public tour that brought a real crowd to the site.

Moving-in started in earnest in February, 1956. On March 30th an army of student volunteers turned out to help AAHS staff to fight the mud and get the school ready for opening day, April 9, 1956. Students filled the halls, tested the equipment, hit the books and had some fun at the not-quite-finished school. Check out the lunch room. While the new school filled up, 'Old' Ann Arbor High School at State & Huron emptied out and silent hallways awaited remodeling by the University of Michigan as the Frieze Building.

The official public tour of the new high school was held on April 15, 1956 and thousands turned out. Guests were welcomed at the door, toured a sleek new lobby, and attended a formal dedication. You can view the original Dedication Program on Old News.

On June 14, 1956, the first Commencement was held at the new high school, featuring both an 1891 graduate and an engagement. Many of the photos we've published on Old News never appeared in the Ann Arbor News so be on the lookout for townies you know.

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Blog Post

Building the Ann Arbor News Building

Wed, 03/16/2016 - 3:50pm by andrewjmac

Media Player

2016 marks the 80th anniversary of the former Ann Arbor News Building at 340 E. Huron St. - the only commercial building in Ann Arbor designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn. Watch the above slideshow to see the construction of this iconic art deco-style building, week by week, from the first shovelful on August 28, 1935 through its completion at the end of January, 1936.

Between January and April 1936, the News building was outfitted with furnishings, equipment and a new printing press. On May 21, 1936, an open house was held for the public. Longtime News photographer Eck Stanger took dozens of photos of interior spaces and staff after construction was completed, including the News room and equipment operators, and he continued to shoot photos of staff at work writing, composing, printing, and delivering the News through 1937.

The Ann Arbor News occupied the building until the paper's first print-run closure in 2009. It is now owned by the University of Michigan Credit Union.

View all photos of the new Ann Arbor News building.

You can also catch a related exhibition, "Albert Kahn: Under Construction", at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), now through July 3, 2016.

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Oldnews posts articles, letters to the editor and photos on the history of the Pall-Gelman dioxane groundwater contamination

Tue, 03/08/2016 - 7:32pm by amy

Editorial Cartoon, 1992

The Pall-Gelman 1,4 dioxane groundwater contamination has a long and troubled past in Ann Arbor history.

AADL Archives staff, with the assistance of Scio township resident Roger Rayle, founder and leader of Scio Residents for Safe Water, has posted over 1,000 historical articles, editorials, letters to the editor and photos from the Ann Arbor News covering the history of the Pall-Gelman dioxane groundwater contamination cleanup from the late 1960s, when Gelman Sciences (now the Pall Corp.) pumped contaminated water into a holding pond at their 600 S. Wagner facility, through the close of the first iteration of the Ann Arbor News in 2009. Coverage includes not only attention-grabbing headlines but considerable detail about the company's earnings, personnel changes, and related environmental concerns at the state and local level throughout this period.

The discovery of the 1,4 dioxane in water wells in the 1980s caused a public outcry and set off much finger-pointing and several legal battles between the Pall-Gelman Corporation; Scio township residents; the city of Ann Arbor; and the state of Michigan concerning responsibility for the cleanup that's now stretched over three decades. Former Ann Arbor News assistant metro editor Lynn Monson has written a special feature story for Oldnews to bring readers up to date as the dioxane plume continues to spread toward the Huron River.

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Blog Post

Leni Sinclair, 2016 Kresge Eminent Artist

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 1:15pm by amy

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Congratulations to Leni Sinclair, recently named the 2016 Kresge Eminent Artist!

AADL was privileged to work with Leni on the events and website surrounding the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in 2011. You'll find several of Leni's photographs relating to the Rally and her years in Ann Arbor on AADL's Freeing John Sinclair site. Here you can also listen to an interview with Leni in which she recalls the origins of the Detroit Artists Workshop and their strategic retreat to Ann Arbor following the Detroit Riots, or a joint video interview with John Sinclair on their memories of the 1971 Rally. Read Leni's essay about her life in Ann Arbor's Hill House commune, or check out her work in Detroit Rocks (2012), co-authored with Gary Grimshaw.