Allenel Hotel and Huron streetscape, ca. 1930
Streets surrounding Courthouse Square were the site of most of Ann Arbor's largest hotels from the 1830s until 1990. Cook's Hotel was the first of five that have occupied this site. It was followed in 1871 by the larger "Cook House," a temperance hotel for 37 years. Renamed the "Allenel" in 1911 to honor town founder John Allen, it was demolished in 1964 to make way for the Sheraton, later the Ann Arbor Inn. The Allenel, a popular watering spot for local businessmen, politicians, and attorneys, was frequently used for banquets by local groups. It was a favorite lodging for visitors. Distinguished guests stayed in suites on the ornate top floor. The Philadelphia Orchestra stopped there during the annual May Festival. By 1930 many downtown hospitality businesses were owned by members of Ann Arbor's Greek community. Along Huron Street they included two lunch counters, an ice cream parlor, the Candyland sweet shop, the Allenel (owned by Angelo Poulos, who had built the Michigan Theater in 1927), and the Huron Hotel and CafÃ© at Fourth Avenue. At a 1933 meeting in the Allenel (attended by Archbishop Athenagoras, later Patriarch of Constantinople), local Greek leaders united to plan future construction of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on North Main. The coming of the automobile dramatically changed the streetscape and eventually moved most hotels to highways on the outskirts of town.
Keywords: hotels, Allenel, streetscape, Greek community
Frame location: On Main and NE Corner of Huron
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pictureAnnArbor: Hospitality on Courthouse Square, Site 7: Town life and the Courthouse square, Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit Program
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