Ann Arbor History

AADL Talks to Argus Employees and Museum Curator

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 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 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.

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.

50th Anniversary of the Port Huron Statement

Tom Hayden at Ann Arbor fundraiser, 1985Tom Hayden at Ann Arbor fundraiser, 1985

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the now-legendary Port Huron Statement, a manifesto written by “Students for a Democratic Society” (SDS) at a retreat on Lake Huron in 1962. From October 31 - November 2, the University of Michigan is hosting A New Insurgency: The Port Huron Statement in Its Time and Ours, a free 3-day public conference exploring the significance of the Port Huron Statement and its social, political and cultural consequences for the New Left of the 1960s - from anti-war movements to civil rights and women’s liberation movements. We’ve pulled together articles from our Oldnews archive about the Students for a Democratic Society, featuring SDS co-founders Tom Hayden and Alan Haber and reflections from other New Left activists over the intervening years.

Tracking down a sketch artist

Here's a cool story we wanted to share! So a woman in Georgia knows her dad was a sketch artist whose work appeared in the Ann Arbor News in the late 1960s and she'd really like to see some of his work. Her friend contacts The Ann Arbor Chronicle whose editor happens to know we're undergoing a massive digitization effort, and he forwards the query to us. Well, it turns out we've already scanned some of those very sketches at ridiculous high quality and color as part of our feature on the John Normans Collins murder and trial during the late 1960s!

The Blind Pig


The Blind Pig is Ann Arbor’s legendary live music venue. It is best known for being the local venue where Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and Nirvana performed. Established over thirty years ago, the Blind Pig, or the Pig as referred to by locals, continues to be a premiere live music venue for indie, rock, hip hop, and electronic bands. Originally the venue functioned as both a bar and café, but now functions solely has bar/club with frequent live band performances. In addition, the 8 Ball Lounge located below the Blind Pig is now a well-known dive bar with a cult following all its own.

Click here for more articles about the Blind Pig

The Ark

The Ark has been Ann Arbor’s premiere venue for folk music for more than four decades. Originally established in the mid 1960’s, the Ark has fought to stay afloat as a non-profit venue for live acoustic music. A series of fundraising events eventually led to the establishment of the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, which is still a yearly tradition. The original setting for the Ark was a historic house on Hill St., known as the Hill House. Unable to raise sufficient funds to maintain its upkeep and unable to appease its property owners, the First Presbyterian Church, The Ark was forced to move to a new site on Main St. Meanwhile after months of legal debate, the Hill House was destroyed in order to allow for the church’s new parking lot. The decision to tear down the house was met with much protest by the Ann Arbor community. In addition, the Hill House was deemed an historic monument, but this was not enough to safeguard the communal monument. The Ark made one more move to its current site on S. Main St. where it continues to thrive and bring prominent Folk musicians to the city.

Click here for more articles about the Ark

AADL Talks to George Pomey

Local businessman and community leader George Pomey was a member of the illustrious 1964 and 1965 Michigan Wolverine Basketball teams that won back-to-back Big Ten titles, and took Michigan to the NCAA Tournaments. This March, he sat down and talked about those glory days.

Pomey remembered clearly his recruiting trip to Ann Arbor along with another teammate from his high school in Illinois; his warm relationships with his Wolverine coaches and teammates throughout his playing career; and their friendship over the years (they still have frequent reunions!). He also remembered the comparatively "primitive" sports facilities; playing to the capacity crowds at Yost Fieldhouse; his brief coaching and radio/television broadcasting experience after graduation; and his continued involvement with Michigan sports.

On March 16, 1965 Pomey and Teammate Larry Tregoning were named 2nd team Big Ten all Academic, Pomey talked about the tough schedule for athletes, and his admiration for the current Wolverine team.

Pomey also brought along these photos from the scrapbook his mother kept.

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AADL_Talks_To-George_Pomey.mp3 24.8 MB

This weekend is the 40th Dance for Mother Earth Powwow

Ann Arbor's Dance for Mother Earth Powwow celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend at Pioneer High School. The Powwow, hosted by the U-M Native American Student Association (NASA), is one of the largest university powwows in the nation. We've added to Oldnews some of the articles and photographs from past powwows that we found in our Ann Arbor News archive.

Grand entry is at noon and 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 17, and noon on Sunday, March 18. Learn what to expect if you're a first-time attendee. For more information, visit www.umich.edu/~powwow.

Michael Davis, MC5 bassist, dies at 68

Michael Davis, bassist for the seminal 1960s band, MC5, died last Friday of liver failure. The MC5's time in Ann Arbor as the propaganda wing for the White Panther Party under the management of radical poet and activist, John Sinclair, is documented in essays, interviews, and news articles at freeingjohnsinclair.org. You can learn more about Davis and the MC5 in author Brett Callwood's 2010 book, MC5: Sonically Speaking, a Tale of Revolution and Rock 'n Roll (we also have an interview with Callwood from 2010) and read a tribute to Davis at retrokimmer.com. The band's legacy is perhaps most memorably captured in the timeless photography of Leni Sinclair.

Corner of Main and Liberty to Lose A Landmark

Parthenon InteriorParthenon Interior

Several local restaurants have recently joined the ever-expanding list of Ann Arbor's Lost Eateries. Champion House closed suddenly last week, as did Old Country Buffet over the weekend. But I was particularly saddened to hear that the Parthenon Restaurant, which has stood on the corner of Main and Liberty Streets since John and Steve Gavas opened in 1975, will be closing its doors. Later this year Cafe Habana, formerly located on East Washington, will be moving into 226 North Main.

The Parthenon has command of possibly the best-known intersection in town, located on the same corner as Cunningham's Drugs and Mack & Co. a generation earlier.

We found some articles, a photo, and restaurant reviews on the Parthenon in our Ann Arbor News clipping file and have digitized them here for you to savor. While you're at it, you can also read about the Flim Flam Restaurant, which recently closed its doors after 30 years in business. Don't miss the Flim Flam's recipe for their famous eclair!

AADL Talks to Jack Stubbs

In this candid interview, Jack Stubbs, veteran Ann Arbor News photographer (1968-1996), paints a colorful portrait of the life of a newspaper photographer during the pre-digital era of journalism. He discusses tricks of his trade and recalls the creative ways he got the shot. Jack talks about the work of his fellow "shooters" during this period, and about some of the other News photographers he admired, notably Eck Stanger. Stubbs' assignments ranged from city and college sports to crime scenes and weather disasters, and he covered most of Washtenaw County's major events of the era, including Ann Arbor's June 1968 flood; the marches and protests at the end of the 1960s; the Coed murders and trial of John Norman Collins.

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AADL_Talks_To-Jack_Stubbs.mp3 21.86 MB
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