Posts of interest to local history buffs, written by local history buffs!
Fri, 02/24/2017 - 6:18pm
In 1951, President Harry S. Truman created the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA). This was the Homeland Security Department of its day and it churned out films, brochures, and other propaganda materials purporting to protect Americans from nuclear bombs (as well as other fallout from the Cold War) in the name of national security.
From the 1950s through the 1970s, Americans turned away from the more practical civilian endeavors of the WWII era such as scrap collecting and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/39666|bond drives] to [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/108315|build fallout shelters] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N024_1102_001|stockpile supplies] or engage in atomic air raid and other [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N024_1099_002|civil defense drills]. They even staged [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/108781|mock disasters].
In retrospect, some of this emergency preparedness seems a bit silly, but at least it gave Americans something to do in a time of international uncertainty - and Ann Arbor was no exception. Here is the Ann Arbor News’ [http://oldnews.aadl.org/civildefense|“Civil Defense” photo negative collection] for your viewing pleasure.
Wed, 02/08/2017 - 11:12am
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/55652|Our Own Thing] organization here in Ann Arbor. With Black History Month upon us, now is a great time to acknowledge the work of this incredible group started in 1968 by Dr. Willis C. Patterson, Singer A. "Bucky" Buchanan, Jon Lockard, and Vera Embree. Countless African-American students in the area have benefited from the cultural arts instruction provided by Our Own Thing, as well as their scholarship program which has sent numerous young artists and musicians to Interlochen Arts Academy. [http://www.aadl.org/aachmvideos/willis_patterson|Watch the interview of Dr. Patterson] from the AACHM (African American Cultural & Historical Museum) Living Oral History Project for a deeper look into the organization and the amazing man behind the scene.
Fri, 01/27/2017 - 9:01am
History is a mystery, even when you have direct access to media coverage of an event.
The first Ann Arbor Folk Festival was held June 13, 1976, headlined by John Prine and Leon Redbone. The show was hosted by the Power Center and, as always, it was to benefit The Ark, which was just 11 years old at that point and still in its original location, a house at 1421 Hill St.
Doug Fulton’s June 14, 1976, Ann Arbor News review of that first fest really only covers the early part of the evening -- newspaper print deadlines, you know -- and Prine and Redbone are mentioned with no commentary.
But Fulton did write a sentence that would reappear -- in slightly altered forms -- through much of The Ark’s existence: “The occasion was a benefit for the Ark, one of the few remaining 'coffee-houses' in the country still specializing in folk music of all kinds, and lately in financial trouble.”
In fact, The Ark could have just changed its name to Financial Trouble since the venue was constantly in jeopardy through the mid-'80s until this 1986 article declared otherwise: "The Ark No Longer Needs The Festival To Stay Afloat".
Since that first festival, and two moves later, The Ark is one of the most respected and well-oiled folk- and roots-music concert venues in the country, though the nonprofit still counts on the Ann Arbor Folk Festival for part of its operating revenue. This year’s edition, held January 27 and 28 at Hill Auditorium, has one of the festival’s biggest lineups yet, featuring headliners Kacey Musgraves and Jenny Lewis on Friday and the Indigo Girls, Margo Price, and Kiefer Sutherland (yes, him) on Saturday. (If you're somehow still undecided about going, The Ark has also compiled playlists for night one and night two of the fest.
But if the festival started in 1976, why is this weekend’s celebration its 40th, instead of the 42nd?
According to The Ark’s website, which lists lineups from every year of the festival, the event didn’t happen in 1977 or 1978. It came back in 1979 and has continued ever since. In 1982 the fest moved from the Power Center to the Michigan Theater and then in 1985 found its annual home at Hill Auditorium (save for one return to the Michigan in 2003).
The Ann Arbor News covered the festival every year -- we imagine. The library acquired the News’ archives in January 2010 and has been working on organizing and digitizing it, with updates at oldnews.aadl.org.
Since there are many moving and missing parts to the News’ archive, we couldn’t find Folk Fest articles and photos from every year. But we did find a hodge-podge of images that might jog your memories, plus a few YouTube clips from recent years. If you want to check out the what we've archived so far from the News' Folk Fest coverage at Old News, click here. Plus, you can check The Ark's own history of the Folk Fest here.
Jay Ungar and David Bromberg were there from the start.
OK, this news report is not about the Folk Fest, but it does show the state of The Ark at the time.
Twins Sandor and Laszlo Slomovits perform as Gemini.
Percy "Mr. Bones" Danforth gets loose with his rhythm sticks.
The MC for this year was mime O.J. Anderson. We'll leave you to your nightmares now.
David Bromberg has performed at the Folk Fest 10 times.
Pretty sure Steve Goodman just saw a mime.
Arlo Guthrie made a surprise appearance at the 1985 Folk Fest, but he returned as the scheduled headliner this year.
A clipping from The Ann Arbor News.
Michigan bluegrass legends The RFD Boys twanged the night away.
Storyteller Jackie Torrence lets loose one of her captivating tales.
John Prine helped launch the Folk Fest in 1976 and returned to headline 13 years later.
It's entirely possible that this Riders in the Sky member created beautiful music with his lasso.
Even at 71-years-old, guitar pioneer Chet Akins brought the house down with his fierce fingerstyle playing.
Laura Love signing posters backstage.
Michael Hedges in rehearsal before the show.
A clipping from The Ann Arbor News.
Carrie Newcomer smiles at the folk(s).
A moody moment backstage with The Raisin Pickers.
An animated Anne Hills entertains Hill Auditorium.
We swear that's Eric Bibb under the hat.
David Grisman and Doc Watson rehearse before the gig -- as if these masters needed to do that.
Christopher Porter is a Library Technician and editor of Pulp.
The 40th Ann Arbor Folk Festival happens Friday, January 27, and Saturday, January 28, at Hill Auditorium. For the full lineups, times, tickets, and more information visit theark.org.
Thu, 12/08/2016 - 8:21pm
John Glenn, American hero, U. S. senator, WWII and Korean War veteran, and icon of the Space Age, on the day he became the first American to orbit the earth.
[http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19620220_p1-glenn_goes_into_orbit|Read the article].
Wed, 12/07/2016 - 2:17pm
Today we remember and honor the U. S. citizens who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Here in Ann Arbor, a strange piece of Pearl Harbor history was paraded through our streets in the summer of 1943. Give a listen to the Ann Arbor Stories Podcast, [:node/342957|The Suicide Sub Comes to Ann Arbor] for the quirky details, and take a look at the newspaper's coverage of the [:taxonomy/term/93954|Japanese Suicide Submarine Tour].
Mon, 11/07/2016 - 6:28pm
80 years ago, on November 3, the News posted this "Electoral Thermometer" on the outside of its new building at 340 E. Huron St. Total electoral votes were then 531, with 266 needed to win. At this point in the day, candidates Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) and Alf Landon (Republican) are neck and neck. The car parked at lower right with ladders sticking out the back is from the Ann Arbor Window Cleaning Co, which is presumably how they adjusted the "thermometer" as returns came in.
(You can click on the image to bring up a slightly bigger version, then click on the image once more and choose the "X" in the lower right-hand corner to enlarge it further.)
Mon, 10/24/2016 - 2:06pm
Activist, lawmaker, [a:Hayden, Tom|author], and politician [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/4363|Tom Hayden] died yesterday at 76. Hayden took the hard route towards politics with his involvement with the University of Michigan's [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/4673|Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)] and helped write one of the most significant 20th century political manifestos: the [w:Port Huron Statement]. His participation in the disruption of the 1968 Democratic convention as one of the fabled "[http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/4998|Chicago Seven]" made him an international celebrity. Visits to Hanoi during the Vietnam War brought attention to the conflict in ways that were unpredictable at that time, and his marriage to [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/4999|Jane Fonda] gave him a celebrity-status he never quite lived down.
Right or wrong, Hayden proved that one voice can make a difference in American politics. Conventionally unsuccessful, he nonetheless served as a model for democratic political participation in ways that more orthodox politicians would never have dared to attempt.
Watch AADL's 2014 video [http://www.aadl.org/aadl_events_20140914-tom_hayden|"A Call to Battle Against the Climate Crisis"], Hayden's discussion on how Michigan and the Great Lakes region can move the U.S. towards the protections of a clean energy economy.
Wed, 10/05/2016 - 7:49am
On November 3, 1964, the voters of Ann Arbor came to the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N034_0888_004|polls] to vote for President of the United States . . . and they [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N034_0888_008|came] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641103-city_voters_crowding_polling_places|they came]. When the City Clerk finished counting, a new [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641104-city_turnout_hits_29409|voter turnout] record was set at 29,409. The Ann Arbor News [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641104-washtenaw_vote_tallies_for_four_offices|tallies] for Washtenaw County showed a 16,000 vote advantage for President Johnson over Barry Goldwater, a trend that was mirrored nationwide. Ann Arbor and the County also set a record for ticket-splitting, handing Governor Romney a sizable victory over Ann Arbor's [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/2299|Neil Staebler].
In the lead-up to the election, the News published a voter education guide, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641012-what_you_should_know_to_make_your_vote_count_p1|What You Should Know To Make Your Vote Count In 1964]. The Guide featured [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641012-what_you_should_know_to_make_your_vote_count_p5|profiles] of the federal candidates and statewide [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641012-what_you_should_know_to_make_your_vote_count_p5|candidates] for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. You'll see some very familiar names on the page. Included were civics lesson on [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641012-what_you_should_know_to_make_your_vote_count_p10|Courts] in Michigan, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641012-what_you_should_know_to_make_your_vote_count_p3|local elections] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641012-what_you_should_know_to_make_your_vote_count_p2|general elections.] The 1964 election stood out for another reason: for the first time voters would elect the Governor and Lt. Governor as a team from the same political party. There was only one statewide [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19641012-what_you_should_know_to_make_your_vote_count_p4|ballot proposal] and the question will be very familiar to voters in 2016.
Fast forwarding to 2016, the Michigan League of Women Voters has produced a non-partisan Voter Guide that is available at all [http://www.aadl.org/aboutus/hours|AADL] branches. The [http://www.lwvannarbor.org/|Ann Arbor League of Women Voters] has been conducting local candidate forums that are available from the CTN [https://a2ctn.viebit.com/|Video On Demand] page as well being rerun throughout the election cycle on Channel 19.
The [http://www.a2gov.org/departments/city-clerk/Elections/Pages/Voting.aspx|Ann Arbor City Clerk] has a web site with all the info you'll need to vote. The last day to [http://www.a2gov.org/departments/city-clerk/Elections/Documents/MI%20Voter%20Registration%20Form%2097046%207.pdf|register to vote] is Tuesday, October 11, 2016. If you're not sure if you're registered or your voter information is up-to-date, check it out on the SOS [https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/|Michigan Vote] site. If you'd like to vote absentee, you can print off the [http://www.a2gov.org/departments/city-clerk/Elections/Documents/Clerk_Absent_Voter_Ballot_Application%20AA%20NEW.pdf|Application for Absentee Ballot] directly or stop by one of AADL's branches and we'll be happy to print it out for you.
Mon, 09/26/2016 - 7:44am
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.
Thu, 09/22/2016 - 7:50pm
On March 8, 1935, the frozen body of seven-year-old [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/15389|Richard Streicher Jr.] was found under a [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N038_1250_001|bridge] in Island Park in Ypsilanti by another youngster, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N038_1250_002|Buck Holt]. The [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19350308-seven_year_old_ypsilanti_boy|brutal murder] remains unsolved to this day. Local law enforcement quickly developed a profile of the killer and the lurid [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19350309-sex_maniac|headlines] of follow-up articles left nothing to conjecture on the part of readers. The Mayor of Ypsilanti went so far as to [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19350312-ypsilanti_parents|warn parents] to keep their children indoors with a "maniac" on the loose. Richard's [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19350314-parents_questioned|parents] and relatives were brought in for questioning and the Michigan State Police were [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19350313-state_to_make|called in] by Governor Fitzgerald to assist in the investigation.
Lead after [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19350315-tip_in_indiana|lead] went dry, suspects were interrogated and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19350319-convict-released|released], and new [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19350325-police_slowed|clues] failed to develop. In August, Circuit Court Judge George W. Sample took the unusual step of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19370820-grand_jury_ordered_in_streicher_case|convening] a one-man grand jury to air all the evidence thus far to put an end to the "intense feeling and suspicion within the community" regarding the investigation. The grand jury stretched to three weeks as local law enforcement officials were [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19371007-southard_returns_to_witness_stand_for_streicher_jury|grilled] and reluctant witnesses held in contempt but in November, 1937, proceedings were [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19371106-officials_study_jury_testimony|indefinitely suspended]. Leads in [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19380329-streicher_jury_to_be_reopened|1938] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19390204-streicher_case_tip_proves_fruitless|1939] proved fruitless as well.
Although Ann Arbor News coverage of the Streicher case all but ended in 1939, interest in the case continued in the county. A 2007 [http://ypsigleanings.aadl.org/ypsigleanings/15356|article] in Ypsilanti Gleanings asked readers for any information they might have on the case.
Recently, an [http://obits.mlive.com/obituaries/annarbor/obituary.aspx?n=richard-streicher&pid=181471612|obituary] appeared on MLive announcing a formal graveside service and that funds had been raised to provide for [http://www.rbfhsaline.com/obituaries/Richard-Streicher/#!/PhotosVideos/c0295523-fffa-42c7-8096-c2db3ded6c9d/6f968b88-7980-48e1-811a-2e31a94330ee|a beautiful headstone] for young Richard Streicher Jr.