- In 1860, Ann Arbor had five hotels, one drug store, and 10 saloons. By 1872, there were
eight hotels, five drug stores, and 49 saloons.
- Ann Arbor has had a German-owned park since 1880. Liberty Street was once known as
- Ann Arbor's first telephone installation was in 1881. Electric lights were available in
1884, and home mail delivery was provided in 1887.
- The first recorded baseball game in Ann Arbor was the Ann Arbor vs. Ypsilanti contest in
1867. Ann Arbor won 52 - 48.
- The 1901 - 1905 University of Michigan football team, coached by Fielding H. Yost, was known as the
"point-a-minute" team. Its 55-1-1 record was most impressive. In the first
Rose Bowl Game in 1902, the U/M defeated Stanford 49 - 0.
- Some people recognize the U/M "Mad Magicians" football team of 1947 as one of
the best college football teams of all time. The single-wing offense featured the spinner
cycle and the buck lateral series, where as many as 5 players might handle the ball on one snap
from the center. The team, coached by Fritz Crisler, ran 180 plays from seven different
formations. Members of the backfield were Jack Weisenburger, Fullback; Bob Chappuis,
Tailback; Bump Elliott, Wingback, and Howard Yerges, Quarterback.
- Dan Dworsky, linebacker on the 1947 U/M football team, completed his
architectural studies after one year of pro ball. His 80-person architectural firm,
Dworsky and Associates, designed Crisler Arena, which was named for Fritz
Crisler, Dworksy's football coach in 1947.
- Alvin Wistert was the third of three brothers to make "All American" at
Michigan. All three played the same position and wore #11. Al was another member of
the 1947 team.
- In 1929, Ann Arbor had more cars and telephones per capita than any other city in the
- Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy first proposed the organization of the Peace Corps
on October 12, 1960, while speaking from the steps of the Michigan
Union. A bronze plaque now marks the spot.
- Borders Book Store is regarded as one of the two best book stores in the country. Its
closest rival for this distinction is the Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado.
- Ann Arbor is the world's capital for lithography.
- The U/M Medical Center is the largest university medical center in
the world and its Medical School is the oldest such university-owned teaching facility in the
country. The U/M Hospital
had the first helicopter emergency service in the state. The burn unit was the first in
the country, and is believed to be the best in the Midwest. One of the first infant
open-heart operations in the world was performed here. It was the first,
and still the only, American hospital to use robocarriers, which perform
1,200 tasks each day, carrying 800 lbs. of materials such as linens,
supplies, and food.
- The Nichols Arboretum has more than 60 different species of trees, and
50,000 trees grow along Ann Arbor
city streets. Another 50,000 can be found in the 147 city parks. It is not a surprise
that Ann Arbor is known as Tree City, USA.
- The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club was founded in 1859 and is the second oldest
collegiate chorus in the country.
- Hill Auditorium was opened in 1913 and is considered to be one of the top performing arts
venues in the world. James Galway, the internationally renowned flutist, ranks Hill Auditorium
second to the famed Sydney Opera House in Australia.
- The University Musical Society has the longest ongoing classical music series in the
- "Handel's Messiah" has been performed annually in Ann Arbor since
- The Ann Arbor Dairy Company used horse-drawn wagons to deliver fresh milk to area
customers until 1945, when a fire destroyed its stables and prompted the use of more modern
delivery methods. The symbolic modernization paralleled the social and industrial
transitions following World War II.
- The Washington Street Carport, built in 1949, was the first municipally-owned parking
structure in the country. It opened during the administration of William E. Brown, mayor of Ann Arbor from
1945-1957, whose interest in parking was previously evidenced by the
installation of the city's first parking meters-billed as a
"temporary measure until the problem is solved"- in 1945.
- On April 12, 1955, the announcement that Dr. Janas Salk's polio
vaccine was "safe, effective, and potent" was made by Dr. Thomas
Francis of the U/M School of Public Health. Dr. Francis had conducted the
field trial of the vaccine for his former student.
- Charles Guiteau, who lived with his uncle, Mayor W.S. Maynard, for a short time
in 1859 while
attending Union High School, assassinated President James A. Garfield in 1881.
- The Michigan Theater was built in seven months in 1927.
The renovation of the well-known Ann Arbor landmark in 1978-88 took
eight months. The renovation took longer than the original construction,
reflecting the great care that was taken to restore the famous theater
to its original grandeur.
- The Weinmann Block, 219 - 223 E. Washington Street, is one of the few buildings of its
kind to survive in the state of Michigan. The decorative, pressed sheetmetal front was an
innovation of the late 1800's. It was an inexpensive and practical way to simulate cast
iron or stone pillars and carved ornamentation.
- Nickels Arcade, built from 1915 to 1918, is one of the few glass-roofed shopping
arcades in the country. Stone owls like the ones in the mall have been
used since the time of the ancient Greeks to rid public spaces of
pigeons, but the ones in Ann Arbor must not be Greek. As anyone who visits the Arcade will tell you, the owls don't seem to work.
- The DKE Shant, built in 1878, was the first fraternity building at the University of
Michigan. It was designed by William Le Baron Jenney, U/M professor of architecture. He
later designed the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, the
world's first skyscraper.
- The University of Michigan Hospital, although the most modern of its
time, became outdated, and the replacement U/M Hospital and the
Taubman Center, housing 120 outpatient clinics, opened in 1986. The new hospital
has a million square feet and over six miles of corridors. Thirty percent of all patients
live at least 50 miles from Ann Arbor.
- The University of Michigan has had its share of
astronauts. Mc-Divitt-White Plaza, at the corner of South and East University
Avenues, honors the team that orbited the earth 62 times in Gemini 4. Another
U/M alumnus, Jack Lousma, piloted Skylab 3, and during the Apollo 15
mission, James Irwin, David Scott, and Al Worden founded the "Alumni Chapter of the
Moon" when they planted the alumni flag on there.
- Women were not permitted to enter the front doors of the
Michigan Union until 1954, and it was 1968 before they were allowed to
use the second floor billiards room without a male escort.
- Ann Arbor's first bank robbery was in 1964.
- The University of Michigan moved to
Ann Arbor from Detroit in 1837, but it wasn't until 1841 that the four
original buildings were finished and the first seven students began
classes. Just 24 years later, U/M's enrollment of 1,205 students called
themselves made it the largest
university in the country.
- The printed version of the letter Columbus sent to Queen Isabella of
Spain, in 1493,
is part of the collection at the Clements Library. A photocopy of the original
printed version is available for viewing.
- The Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library has more than 3.5 million volumes. The library system is
the third largest in the world.
- The Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan's campus newspaper, was founded in 1889..
- Due to a shortage of red bricks after World War II, buildings like the Literature,
Science and Arts Building (1948) were built of salmon-colored brick.
- The Burton Memorial Tower houses the third-heaviest carillion in the world, the
Baird Carillon. Its 55 bells, the largest of which weighs five tons,
cover a range of five octaves. There are only about 150 carillons in the country.
- The dinosaur skeleton collection at the Exhibit Museum of Natural History is the largest
in the state. The two black animal statues in front of the museum are pumas.
- Lydia Mendelssohn Theater, completed in 1929, is one of only a few theaters in the
country to have a "cyclorama," a curved wall at the back of the
stage which greatly improves acoustics and provides creative lighting effects.
- Thirty buildings had to be removed for the construction of the Horace
H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Completed
in 1938, the building's auditorium is one of Ann Arbor's architectural treasures.
Indiana limestone walls, bronze window and door
frames, and the copper sheathed roof complement the plush the art-deco interior. Horace
H. Rackham earned his fortune as one of the original investors in the Ford
- Ann Arbor is one of only 11 cities in the country boasting a Presidential library. The
papers of President Gerald Ford and related holdings comprise nearly 15 million pages and
require over a mile of shelving.
- By 1902, the University of Michigan Alumni Association was the largest such group in
the country. The first woman to enroll as a student at U/M was
Stockwell in 1870. John Davidson and Franklin Hargo were
the first black students to enter U/M in 1868. Katherine
Crawford, a black woman, received her medical degree from the University of Michigan in
1898 and opened her medical practice in the city's old 5th ward.