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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for December 2020: Martin interviews Graydon M. Meints, author of Pere Marquette: A Michigan Railroad System Before 1900.

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 8:25am

The Pere Marquette Railroad has not one but two histories—one for the twentieth century and one for the nineteenth. While the twentieth-century record of the Pere Marquette Railroad has been well studied and preserved, the nineteenth century has not been so well served. Pere Marquette: A Michigan Railroad System Before 1900 is the latest book by railroad aficionado Graydon M. Meints which aims to correct that oversight by focusing on the nineteenth-century part of the company’s past, including the men who formed and directed these early roads, and the development of the system. 

The Pere Marquette Railroad was formed in 1900 by a merger of three Michigan railroad companies and lasted forty-seven years, disappearing in June 1947 by merger into the maw of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. Prior to the 1900 merger, the Pere Marquette Railroad’s predecessors made up a motley collection of disconnected and unaffiliated short, local rail lines. After the financial panic of 1893, and with some commonality of ownership, the companies worked together more closely. Before the end of the decade, the three main railroads—the Flint & Pere Marquette; the Detroit, Lansing & Northern; and the Chicago & West Michigan—had decided that the only way to maintain solvency was to merge. 

Using a plethora of primary sources including railway timetables and maps, this work lends insight into the little-known corporate business history of the Pere Marquette Railroad.

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AADL Talks to: Jay Stielstra

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 10:11am

In this episode, AADL Talks to Ann Arbor playwright, coach, teacher, and songwriter, Jay Stielstra. Jay discusses his life and work as a teacher and a coach in the Ann Arbor Public Schools; how he became a playwright without ever having been backstage; and how a kid from Ludington, Michigan who just wanted to be a football coach ended up being one of Ann Arbor's most prominent singer-songwriters.

Historical articles and photographs about Jay Stielstra in our Community Collections 

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Culinary Historians | Detroit Prohibition with Mickey Lyons

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 10:48am

Rumrunners and bootleggers and speakeasies, oh my! Mickey Lyons of DetroitProhibition.com takes us through Detroit's intoxicating history during the prohibition years, from sloshing the stuff across the Detroit River to raiding the liquor cabinets and speakeasies with a whole lot of intemperance. 

Mickey is a Detroit-based author and researcher on Detroit Prohibition history. Her upcoming book, City on a Still: Detroit During Prohibition, is in the works. In the meantime, she spends her days trudging through old bars and buildings and sifting through old newspapers.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Fred Lang

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 10:03am

Ernst Frederick “Fred” Lang was born in 1916 in Detroit and grew up on Van Dyke Avenue. As a young man he played ragtime and jazz piano in Detroit speakeasies. He attended the University of Michigan LSA and the Medical School. After graduating in 1941, he married his longtime sweetheart, Virginia, and they raised four children. Lang was a radiologist at Harper Hospital in Detroit for 40 years and served as editor of the American Journal of Radiology. He passed away on September 26, 2014.

Fred Lang was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2008 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: David Northcross

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 9:56am

David Northcross was born in 1937 and grew up in north central Detroit. His grandfather David C. Northcross Sr. established the first Black-owned hospital in Detroit, Mercy General Hospital, in 1917. His grandmother, father, and aunt also worked at the hospital. Interested in pursuing a different path, David Northcross graduated from Michigan State University and joined the Marine Corps. He was one of three or four other Black officers at Camp Pendleton in California. After a few years, he and his wife Shirley moved back to Detroit and Northcross started his lifelong career as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch.

David Northcross was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Stars Rising: Why U-M's Detroit Observatory Matters and Where It's Going

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 8:49am

Why is an observatory in Ann Arbor named for Detroit? What made the Detroit Observatory a milestone for the University of Michigan and American higher education? How was the Observatory central to the growth of American astronomical science, when did it lose that role, and how did it get it back? And who were some of the people who made it all happen? Gary Krenz of the University’s Bentley Historical Library will explore these and other questions in this talk. In its 165-year history, the Observatory has gone through many transformations, and it is currently going through another—the construction of an addition to improve access, education, and programming. Krenz will also look at what that project entails and what lies ahead.

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Author Event | Linda Solomon: The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 9:24am

The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait is a book full of firsts, as photojournalist Linda Solomon was invited not only to capture historical events in Aretha’s music career showcasing Detroit, but to join in with the Franklin family’s most intimate and cherished moments in her beloved hometown.  In this talk she reflects on this book which documents Aretha's life and career.

Linda Solomon met Aretha in 1983 when Linda was beginning her career as a photojournalist and newspaper columnist and was hired to capture the singer’s major career events, and to also document everything else.  What developed over these years of photographing birthday and Christmas parties, annual celebrity galas, private backstage moments, photo shoots with the iconic pink Cadillac, and more, was a friendship between two women who grew to enjoy and respect one another.

Martin Bandyke, morning drive host on Ann Arbor's 107one, hosted this event.

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Author Event | The History of Tiger Stadium: A Love Letter to Baseball at Michigan & Trumbull

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 8:33am

After writing 9 books about the joy of canoeing & kayaking rivers, lifelong Michigan resident Doc Fletcher moves to dry land for his latest book: The History of Tiger Stadium: A Love Letter to Baseball at Michigan & Trumbull, honoring The Cathedral at The Corner where - together with great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, siblings, children, godchildren, & friends - we have cheered our Detroit Tigers. Although the structure is gone, the memories remain...

"It was a night game, the field a shade of green that was the most beautiful color I'd ever seen, the smells, sounds, and sights of the pre-game action delightfully overwhelming... the air filled with the bouquet of hot dogs, spilt beer, and a cigar aroma much like that of the House of Windsor stogies preferred by my Dad. Cries of the vendors peddling those items pierced the air. Several Tigers were engaged in a game of pepper along the box seats down the right field foul line, as nearby Bill Freehan tossed a ball back 'n forth with a teammate, entertaining the fans by playfully catching the ball behind his back."

Doc shares stories from the book of the characters on the field, in the stands, and those in the neighborhoods surrounding the ballpark, as well as about the broadcasters who brought the action to us when we couldn't be there ourselves.

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Book Discussion | What the Eyes Don't See

Tue, 09/17/2019 - 9:36pm

Stephen Henderson of WDET's Detroit Today leads a discussion of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s What The Eyes Don’t See: The Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.

The book dives into Dr. Hanna-Attisha's story in contributing to the discovery of elevated lead levels in Flint’s public water infrastructure.  Henderson is in conversation with Michigan Radio Investigative Reporter Lindsey Smith ​and State Senator Jeff Irwin.

This event is part of a community-wide discussion on the story of Flint and how it’s affected the country’s views on infrastructure, justice and the relationship between state and local government.

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Author Event | Paul Vachon Discusses "Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline"

Thu, 09/05/2019 - 12:27pm

Let’s take a walk—a long walk, back over three centuries. At the dawn of the eighteenth century Detroit was established as simply an outpost for the French to take advantage of the fur trade while keeping the British at bay. The new book Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline, by Paul Vachon, points out many of the seminal events and noteworthy turning points of Detroit’s long journey, some little known: the city’s fall to the British during the War of 1812, the existence of slavery in Detroit as late as the 1820's, and Mayor Hazen Pingree’s aggressive advocacy for the everyday citizen against corporate interests. Chapters devoted to the twentieth century highlight Detroit’s underappreciated architectural heritage, the development of its notable cultural institutions, as well as the exploits of assorted scoundrels, such as the Black Legion, the Purple Gang, Harry Bennett and Father Charles Coughlin.

Martin Bandyke hosts author Paul Vachon as he discusses and shows images from Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline.