Steve Amick, with his deep roots in Michigan and his love of reading (and libraries) speaks with us recently about his early interest in writing, having been encouraged by his 7th grade teacher. He speaks of his idyllic summers up north, his return to Ann Arbor in his mid thirties, and raising a young family in his Old West Side neighborhood.
We asked about his writing, in particular his second novel Nothing but a Smile and how the Argus Cameras became an important element in the plot. He shared with us the "happy accidents" of coming up with the topic (Cheesecake photos), the setting (Chicago and Ann Arbor after WWII), and the person whom the book was dedicated to.
One of Ann Arbor’s Heritage Businesses, The Caravan Shop has been an anchor in the historic Nickels Arcade for over 80 years. Opened in 1927 by Frank and Jean Karpp, it is known for its eclectic merchandize with an international flavor.
Recently, its current owner Rhonda Gilpin talked with us about the history of the shop, how she came to own it and her goal of keeping it a family business. She talked about the pleasures and challenges of doing business in a college town. Rhonda is also the owner of Arcadian Antiques and Collectibles located in the Nickels Arcade. She credits the "Think Local" initiative and the nice mix of new businesses for the improved retail climate in Ann Arbor.
On June 25, 1913, Hill Auditorium was officially opened to the University and the community with the mission to bring the world to Ann Arbor. Grace Shackman's Old News feature tells the story of Hill and the thousands of performers, speakers, events and controversies that have made Albert Kahn's gorgeous building so central to Ann Arbor's history. Old News has published hundreds of Ann Arbor News articles and photographs that chronicle the history-makers, the premiere performers, the celebrations and the one-of-a-kind.
In collaboration with the University Musical Society, the complete UMS Concert Program Archives have been digitized. The program notes offer some of the best music criticism written. In keeping with a long-held Town & Gown tradition, UMS will celebrate Hill's 100th with a big Community Sing of Verdi's Requiem on May 14th, one hundred years to the day that they did the Requium in 1913. Come, sing and be a part of the continuing history of Hill Auditorium.
In this episode AADL talks to Cynthia Shevel, owner of Middle Earth Gift Shop on South University. Middle Earth came on the scene in 1967 as the first “head shop” in Ann Arbor. The store began as a one-room, 2nd-floor walk-up on Liberty Street. The motto of Middle Earth is “harming only the humorless.” Long-time TreeTowners will remember the great ads Middle Earth ran in The Sun, our contribution to the underground newspaper movement. We talked to Cynthia about the move to South U and the changes over time to the merchandise, the customers and the crew at Middle Earth.
AADL sat down with Joe O'Neal, president of O'Neal Construction who, along with Bill Martin, established the Argus Museum. Joe related how the purchase of the Argus buildings from the University of Michigan in the early 1980s led to the acquisition of cameras, photographic equipment, memorabilia and company publications of the Argus Camera Company. Many of the ideas and leads for the museum collection came from the pages of the Argus Eyes.
Joe's many stories include names familiar to Argus employees and collectors including Milt Campbell, Art Dersham, Don Wallis, Sammy Ross and Tony Vicaro.
Old News has obtained two promotional videos produced by Argus Camera around 1945 and 1953. Argus Eyes For Victory recounts the "miracle of production" that earned Argus several E Awards for excellence in design and manufacture of World War II-related materiel from the U.S. War Department. The video captures the post-war economic optimism while paying tribute to the soldiers, inventors and labor that became known as the Greatest Generation.
In Fine Cameras and How They Are Made, the Argus C-Four takes center stage. The narrator intones, "It takes three things to make a fine camera . . ." and with that the film launches into a highly technical and detailed description of every step in the camera-manufacturing process at Argus Cameras of Ann Arbor. Scenes of the scientists and craftsmen creating the Argus C-Four are interwoven with scenes of customers using the camera to take family photos and outdoor shots. Visit AADL's Argus Camera online exhibit and take a walk over to the Argus Museum for even more Argus history.
In the late '70s, Ann Arbor gained national attention for what became known as the Black English Case.
It started in July, 1978, when the Student Advocacy Center filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of 11 children at King Elementary school, charging the Ann Arbor Public Schools with failing to meet the needs of the children and misidentifying them as handicapped. The scope of the case was quickly narrowed and an accord seemed within reach. Six months later, the AAPS reading plan was rejected by the plaintiffs and the AAPS rejected a counter-proposal. The stage was set for a trial that would be defined by a term, "Black English" and what, ultimately that term means.
In September, 1979, King Elementary teachers began training in a national spotlight. A year later AAPS reported to Judge Joiner that the program had been beneficial to students and teachers. The Black English case has remained a topic of debate and discussion in Ann Arbor and beyond.
On March 24, 1981, Ann Arbor City Council declared April 7th being Elizabeth R. Dean Day in memory of the woman who left her estate of nearly $2 million upon her death to the City for the care of her trees.
The awarding-winning docents at UMMA were curious about Dr. Koezl and asked Old News to dig up the Ann Arbor News clippings on this local legend and his incredible collection, amassed through years of travel, with a shrewd collector's eye.
A retired U-M professor of Ecology, Koelz "never drove a car, never slept in a bed, never wed and rarely wore shoes even in winter". He left his estate valued at $1.6 million to the Nature Conservancy in his will. Besides his treasures, he is remembered for the collection of exotic flora and fauna donated to the University, brought back from his travels.
There are a variety of features in the Ann Arbor District Library Old News that can be of use to users with low-vision.
Large Article Images and Photos
Articles in Old News are scanned at high resolution and are served up that way on the site. Simply click on any article image or photo you see in Old News to bring it up in its own window. Selecting the expansion button below the article image will blow it up to its full size--often as much as twice as large as it appeared originally in print!
Many of the articles in Old News appear with Optical Character Recognition text that is readable by screen readers. Look below the article image and look for the "View Uncorrected Scanned Text" section. AADL staff and patrons are working to correct the errors in this OCR and add OCR to articles from which it is missing.
PDF Copies of Historic Newspapers
Many of the newspapers in Old News have been digitized as full issues and are provided on Old News as issue PDFs in addition to being broken into separate articles. After selecting a newspaper from the Papers page, just pick any issue you wish to see by clicking on its date. You'll see an option to "Download PDF" on each issue. These PDFs have large images of each page and text underneath for any screen reader to access.
AADL Local History Podcasts
Old News isn’t just for reading, it’s also for listening. Take a step back in time while listening to Old News Podcasts. AADL talks to locals and “townies” on a variety of topics including Argus Camera, the turbulent 60’s, University of Michigan Sports, and heritage businesses such as Schlanderer & Sons and Vogel’s Lock & Safe, and more.