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Posts of interest to local history buffs, written by local history buffs!

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Inaugural Gowns - 1933

Mon, 01/21/2013 - 2:51pm

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On March 4, 1933, the Ann Arbor News ran photos of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/19330304-select_gowns_for|Eleanor Roosevelt and Anna Roosevelt] in the gowns they would wear for the Inaugural Balls. The designer of the gowns was [http://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/16/obituaries/sally-milgrim-103-a-clothes-designer.html|Sally Milgrim] and the light blue gown you see in the News photo of Mrs. Roosevelt was considered one of Mrs. Milgrim's triumphs. Later tonight we'll get the first glimpses of Mrs. Obama's [http://dc.about.com/od/specialevents/a/inauguralballs.htm|Inaugural Ball] gown. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Wu|Jason Wu] designed the 2009 Inaugural gown which is now part of the [http://americanhistory.si.edu/first-ladies/introduction|First Ladies] collection at the Smithsonian.

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Professor Shaun Jackson - Inventor and Mentor Dies at 63

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 11:14am

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As reported in the [http://www.michigandaily.com/news/art-and-design-prof-shaun-jackson-dies-after-plane-crash|Michigan Daily], Prof. Shaun Jackson died Tuesday from burns suffered in a plane crash last weekend. We've digitized Ann Arbor News articles about [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/24499|Prof. Jackson], an award-winning designer and inventor who inspired generations of students at the [http://art-design.umich.edu/news/shaun_jackson_1949_-_2013|University of Michigan School of Art and Design.]

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Frank Lloyd Wright's Legacy in Ann Arbor

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 5:05pm

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[http://aaobserver.aadl.org/aaobserver/15609|Frank Lloyd Wright in Ann Arbor], a Then and Now article by local historian [http://oldnews.aadl.org/search/node/%22Grace%20Shackman%22|Grace Shackman] detailed history of the house, and the continued efforts of the architectural community to restore and conserve Ann Arbor's beloved Frank Lloyd Wright home - one he built for Bill and Mary Palmer, just because they asked, known locally as the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/node/11004|Palmer House].

Though he never built another home in Ann Arbor, his legacy is woven into the fabric of the community. Many of the local architects, among them [http://aaobserver.aadl.org/aaobserver/15608|Alden Dow] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/23649|Lawrence R. Brink] were students of FLW, while others like [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/23433|George R. Brigham, Jr.] were known for designs inspired by FLW's philosophy.

This generation of architects in turn passed along the FLW influence to the next generation - well-known architects [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/23432|Robert Metcalf] was in fact, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19980530-mentors_sabbatical|a protege] of George R. Brigham.

Read up on local [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/1073|architects] and browse through [http://oldnews.aadl.org/gallery/buildings/hhaa133.gif.html|AADL's Architecture Archive] to discover more of Ann Arbor's architectural history.

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Powering Ann Arbor: The Huron River Dams

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 10:42am

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Ann Arbor may be known as "Tree Town" but it was the Huron River and it's potential for industry and commerce that brought settlers to the area. Grace Shackman's Then & Now article [http://aaobserver.aadl.org/aaobserver/15596|The Broadway Bridge Parks] provides a succinct history of dam-building on the Huron beginning with Anson Brown's in 1830. Old News has assembled [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/1280|articles on the dams] including the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/19810809-a_tale_of_drama.jpg|tragic tale] of a 1913 accident at Barton Dam and the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/19810809-survivor_a_very_game_girl|lone survivor.]

Architect [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/20465|Gardner S. Williams] designed nine dams along the Huron River including Barton in 1912, Argo in 1913 and Geddes in 1919. The dams were on-again, off-again sources of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/20104|hydroelectric power] for the city. Read Shackman's article on the old [http://aaobserver.aadl.org/aaobserver/15536|Municipal Beach] at Argo Park, the precursor to the great recreational facilities now available at [http://www.a2gov.org/GOVERNMENT/COMMUNITYSERVICES/PARKSANDRECREATION/CANOELIVERIES/Pages/RiverTrips.aspx|Argo Park.]

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Ann Arbor Goes to the Movies

Wed, 12/19/2012 - 7:31pm

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In 1908, 5 cents would get you into a movie at The Casino. The Theatorium on Maynard, built on a former skating rink, showed one-reelers. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/22596|The Majestic], a [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/22700|W.S. Butterfield] theater, opened on December 19, 1907, quickly followed by [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/21754|the Whitney] on Main Street the next January. The chain also operated [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/1639|the Michigan], [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/21751|the State], [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/20853|the Wuerth], and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/21722|the Orpheum].

On Saturday afternoon September 11, 1915, 2000 Ann Arborites poured into the new [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/22722|Rae Theater] (capacity 385) on Huron Street to see Pearl White in the Iron Claw. But the big hoopla occurred on Sunday September 12, when the first legal and public showing of a motion picture took place on a sabbath day in Ann Arbor history, and it took a special election to accomplish that.

The Old News team has digitized many of the news articles on the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19560204-ann_arbors_early_theater_history|early history] of Ann Arbor's [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/1661|movies theaters].

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Blog Post

Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain

Thu, 11/08/2012 - 1:00pm

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Forty-four years ago, on November 10, 1968, Neil Young (whose critically-acclaimed autobiography, [b:1415106|Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippy Dream] is currently a New York Times bestseller) recorded the song "Sugar Mountain" here in Ann Arbor at the now-legendary Canterbury House, then located at the end of [http://www.aadl.org/gallery/pictureAnnArbor/a2signs/A2signs287.jpg.html|this alley] at 330 Maynard.

Recorded between the time of Young's membership with [a:Buffalo Springfield] and [a:Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young], this [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_Mountain_(song)|ode to lost youth] written four years earlier was acknowledged by fellow Canadian [a:Mitchell, Joni|Joni Mitchell] (who also played the Canterbury House) as the inspiration for her similarly-themed, [b:1103641|The Circle Game]. It's one of Young's earliest and more traditional folk songs, and the sincerity evident in this live recording is underscored by its remarkable intimacy.

Check out [b:1326115|Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House] in our CD collection and some of our [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/5479|Oldnews articles about Ann Arbor's Canterbury House], at the time a coffee house music venue and center for outreach programs associated with St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Local writer Alan Glenn wrote [http://michigantoday.umich.edu/2012/05/story.php?id=8370#.UJqiPeOe_i5|a great article about the Canterbury House] in a recent issue of Michigan Today.

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AADL Talks to Argus Employees and Museum Curator

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 10:57am

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Do you ever wonder what it was like to work for one of the largest employers in Ann Arbor and one of the most prestigious and well-known camera manufacturers in the world?

AADL [http://www.aadl.org/node/218814|talked to Art Parker], an avowed “Townie” who spent nearly 20 years with Argus Camera. Art talked about his family’s long history with Argus and the company’s social life that included Christmas parties, teen dances, summer camp, scholarships and profit-sharing.

We also [http://www.aadl.org/node/218815|talked with Milt Campbell, Art Dersham and Elwyn Dersham] about their years at Argus during its heyday in the 1940s and 50s and the challenging years of the 1960s and 70s as the company’s fortunes declined and Argus left Ann Arbor forever.

[http://www.aadl.org/node/218739|Cheryl Chidester], the Argus Museum curator shared the history of the company, its products and innovations, and its role in United States’ victory in World War II. We also learned about the founding of the Argus Museum, its missions in preserving the history and material culture of this early Ann Arbor industry significant to generations in the community.

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AADL Talks to Cheryl Chidester, Argus Museum Curator

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 4:12pm

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We would like to thank the [http://arborwiki.org/Argus_Museum|Argus Museum], located in the original Argus Building at 535 W. William St. for generously sharing its resources, artifacts, and archival materials in preparing this AADL exhibit on the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/6715|Argus Camera, Inc.]

A special thank you goes to Cheryl Chidester, the Argus Museum curator. In this podcast, she shared the history of the company, its products and innovations, and its role in United States’ victory in World War II. We also learned about the founding of the Argus Museum, its missions in preserving the history and material culture of this early Ann Arbor industry significant to generations in the community.

We can see [http://www.aadl.org/photo_search?keys=%22Argus%20Museum%22|photos] of the Museum and its exhibits as well as samples of the Argus Eye, a monthly newsletter produced by the Argus employees from the Museum’s archive.

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AADL_Talks_To-Cheryl_Chedister.mp3 13.14 MB

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AADL Talks to Argus Camera's Milt Campbell, Art & Elwyn Dersham

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 8:08am

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In this episode, AADL talks to former employees of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/6715|Argus Camera.] In 1931, a group of Ann Arbor businessmen got together to address the problem of unemployment amid the Great Depression. They raised stock and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19750323-an_erratic_genius|formed a company] that would become Argus Camera. Argus went on to become one of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19531024_p10-local_men_and_ideas|largest employers] in Ann Arbor and one of the most [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19560308-argus_cameras_dsiplay_dominate…|prestigious] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19560306-argus_stock_goes_on_big_board|well-known camera manufacturers] in the world.

We talked with Milt Campbell, Art Dersham and Elwyn Dersham about their years at Argus during its heyday in the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19500708-Two_Local_Plants_Have_War_Work|1940s and 50s] and the challenging years of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19591027-argus_firm_has_no_plan|1960s] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_197406024-Struck_Firm_Shut_Down|70s] as the company’s fortunes declined and Argus [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19630316_p16-U_acquiring_former_argus|left Ann Arbor] forever.

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AADL_Talks_To-Argus_Employees.mp3 15.21 MB

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AADL Talks To Argus Camera's Art Parker

Tue, 10/23/2012 - 8:18pm

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In this episode, AADL talks to Art Parker, an avowed “Townie” who spent nearly 20 years with [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/6715|Argus Camera.] During its heyday in the 1940s and 50s, Argus was one of the largest employers in Ann Arbor and one of the most prestigious and well-known camera manufacturers in the world. Art talks about his family’s long history with Argus and the company’s social life that included [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19491208-employes_of_argus_will_be|Christmas parties], teen dances, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19520711-argus_leases_summer_site|summer camp], [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19620608-Four_Argus_Scholarships_Awarded|scholarships] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19471118-Profit-Sharing_Plan_At_Argus|profit-sharing].

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AADL_Talks_To-Art_Parker.mp3 18.13 MB