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Grisly Local History: Wicked Washtenaw County

Thu, 11/18/2010 - 2:00pm


For those of you who enjoy history with a morbid twist, the AADL now offers [b:1369178|Wicked Washtenaw County: Strange Tales of the Grisly and Unexplained]. This new collection of short stories from local Ypsilanti historian [|James Thomas Mann] offers up true tales of murder, mystery, grave robbing, scandal, etc. culled from old newspapers of our area. Mann's book is a short, quick read garnished with photos and drawings of the people and places involved. It gives a glimpse into Washtenaw's darker history, like the unsolved 1913 murder of a Chelsea woman who was strangled and found buried under a pile of cornhusks in her barn.

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Dexter, Chelsea, Manchester and Saline: Then & Now

Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:19pm

[img_assist|nid=36609|title=Dexter village|desc=|link=url|url=|align=left|width=100|height=61]

Thanks to local historian Grace Shackman, we've recently added to [|Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now] dozens of past articles from the Community Observer tracking the histories of our neighboring communities Dexter, Chelsea, Manchester and Saline. Some articles, including one about [|the origins of area libraries], another on the county's [|one-room schoolhouses], and a third detailing [|Christmases past] cover the history of the subject in all four locations. You can also read many feature-length articles about the architectural landmarks, businesses and people that characterize the towns, from the [|Chelsea Private Hospital] and the [|Dexter Underpass] to the [|Manchester Mill] and [|Saline Valley Farms]. Grace has also written about the smaller villages of [|Dixboro] and [|Delhi].

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Anybody Lose a Cow: Ann Arbor Classifieds Then and Now

Sat, 05/08/2010 - 12:57pm

[img_assist|nid=35905|title=lost cow|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=135]

The classified ads are a window into what's going on in a community. For instance, even though most of the ads on [|Ann Arbor Craig's List] are about lost pets and used things for sale, a post like [|this] gives us hints to the exciting night life that our town has to offer:

Two dimes and a nickle - found (A2)
Date: 2010-04-16, 1:27PM EDT

I found two dimes and a nickle on the sidewalk in front of the Arena last night. If you
lost two dimes and a nickle please contact me, I would be delighted to return
them to you. Please be prepared to identify said coins.

Well, things were no less different in Ann Arbor in the mid-nineteenth century. Do you know about [|The Signal of Liberty], Ann Arbor's historic abolitionist newspaper. We have the Signal on our website, and it's a great resource for learning about the history of anti-slavery in this area.

BUT, it also includes many classified ads that offer an intriguing look into what Ann Arborites were up to in the 1840's.

Here's one from the [|September 22, 1841 issue] from Michael Puttel.
Let's hope that Michael and Eliza patched things up.

These two from [|July 7th] and [|August 4th] seem to be 1841's version of a lost pet ad.
[img_assist|nid=35907|title=lost cows|desc=|link=none|align=bottom|width=200|height=266]
[img_assist|nid=35908|title=Lost mares|desc=|link=none|align=bottom|width=200|height=154]
How does one lost a cow... or multiple horses? These two ads also contain the recurring offer for a free Signal subscription in return for Wood! Wood! Wood!

This ad, also from [|July 7th] but recurring throughout the paper's run, is here simply to beg one question: What is a "smut machine"?
[img_assist|nid=35909|title=Threshing machine ad|desc=|link=none|align=bottom|width=300|height=1572]

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Forest Hill Cemetery Interpretive Tours

Wed, 10/21/2009 - 2:18pm


Founded in 1857, [|Forest Hill] is Ann Arbor's oldest cemetery, rich in history and remarkably colorful this time of year. Indeed, it's a perfect time for an interpretive tour of the graveyard with local historian [|Wystan Stevens], who leads groups through the grounds with stories of Ann Arbor's history every [|Sunday from Oct. 4 - Nov. 8 starting at 2pm]. Be sure to catch him this time around, for Stevens will end his popular 30 year tradition this year. The tours are $10 for adults and free for children, and they begin at the cemetery gate on Observatory, north of Geddes. Additional information is available at 734.662.5438. For a further glimpse into the lore of Michigan's past, try the books [b:1311015|Ann Arbor Area Ghosts], and [b:1083091|Ghost Towns of Michigan].

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Celebrate the AA Farmers Market

Sat, 08/01/2009 - 3:52pm


A 90th birthday celebration for the venerable ['%20Market.aspx|Ann Arbor Farmers' Market] is Saturday Aug. 8. Stop by for gelato, music, birthday cake, and kids' activities. Vendors and market goers will tell stories at the Oral History Booth from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To get excited about market history, see [|The Farmers’ Market Bounces Back] and [|Reinventing the Farmers' Market] in [|Ann Arbor Observer: Then and Now], a rich collection of more than 100 articles recently archived by AADL.

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The Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now

Mon, 06/22/2009 - 11:16am

[img_assist|nid=19060|title=Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=93]

This Wednesday, June 24, we'll be launching [|Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now], a new site with searching and browsing access to over 130 full-text articles on local history written for the [|Ann Arbor Observer] over the past three decades by local historian and author, Grace Shackman. Stop by for a demonstration of the site, refreshments, and [:events/list?id=5050|a lively discussion] by Grace and Observer editor, John Hilton, at 7:00 p.m. in the Downtown lower level Multi-Purpose Room.

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Riverwalks Ann Arbor: Walking Loops Along the Huron River

Fri, 05/29/2009 - 12:22pm


Brenda E. Bentley has enhanced walker’s enjoyment of the Huron River through Ann Arbor by writing [b:1337378|Riverwalks Ann Arbor: Walking Loops Along the Huron River]. The walks are introduced by a geological, historical, cultural, and natural history of the river. The book has interesting reproductions of historical maps; old postcards and photographs; new crisp, clear maps with contour lines, major roads, park areas, and elevations; and current photographs. Each walk is a loop. Sometimes they can connect with other loops. The walks start at Barton Pond and move east along the river to Parker Mill. The descriptions of the walks are enhanced by historical asides, among others, on the Public Land Survey System, the ice trade on Argo Pond, and Superintendent of Parks Eli Gallup.

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Cobblestone Farm Museum’s Country Christmas

Thu, 11/13/2008 - 10:49am

[img_assist|nid=12398|title=Cobblestone Country Christmas|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=76|height=100]

Sunday, Dec. 7th noon to 4 pm
2781 Packard Rd., Ann Arbor
(734) 994-2928
Suggested donation of $1.50 kids, $3 adults, $7 family for program support

Cobblestone Farm will be presenting a 19th century Yuletide celebration featuring live dulcimer music with the Village Strings, a chance to meet Father Christmas, see holiday cooking on a wood stove, and go on tours of the decorated farmhouse with costumed interpreters.
The museums will also have an exhibit commemorating Pearl Harbor Day (December 7th) and showing examples of a 1940's era Christmas. The gift shop will be open and the animals in the barnyard will be out for the kids to see.

For more information on an old fashioned "country Christmas," check out [b:1034343|The Pioneer Lady's Country Christmas: a gift of old-fashioned recipes and memories of Christmas Past] by Jane Watson Hopping.

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More History on the Streets

Tue, 09/30/2008 - 1:39pm


The [|Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit] will be unveiling three new plaques that expand on the history of the German community on Thursday, Oct. 2nd at 5 p.m. outside [|Sweetwaters Cafe] at Washington & Ashley. The contributions of Germans to Ann Arbor are fully developed in the many books and articles available through the [|Making of Ann Arbor].

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Cobblestone Farm is having a Fall Harvest!

Sun, 09/14/2008 - 3:10pm

[img_assist|nid=11323|title=Cobblestone Farm|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=75|height=100]

Sunday, October 12 at 12 (noon) to 4pm -- Located at 2781 Packard Road, Ann Arbor
Admission is $1.50 for kids, $7 for the family (Cobblestone Farm Members free – memberships available at event)
Hosted by Ann Arbor Department of Parks & Recreation and the Cobblestone Farm Association

Celebrate autumn with the 1850’s living history program! Experience the delicious aroma of cooking on the wood stove, a costume parade with prizes, or try your hand at pumpkin decorating. You can take pictures with the Headless Horseman or visit the animals in the barnyard. Play 19th century lawn games for children, take a tour of the farmhouse, or have cider and doughnuts! Want to learn more about the Headless Horseman? Check out [b:1107327| The Legend of Sleepy Hollow] or [b:1176240| The Headless Horseman & Other Goulish Tales]!