SITE 13: WALL DISPLAY : The University Musical Society and the May Festival

Sponsored by Al and Louisa Pieper

Photos Courtesy of the University Musical Society and the Bentley Historical Library

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SITE 13: WALL DISPLAY : Music! Music! Music!

Sponsored by the Family of Joe and Maya Savarino

Photos Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library

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SITE 13: WALL DISPLAY : Remembering Drake’s

Sponsored by the Family of Truman and Mildred Tibbals

Photos Courtesy of the Ann Arbor Observer and the Bentley Historical Library

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SITE 13: WALL DISPLAY : A Book Lover’s Town

Sponsors: The family of Charlotte and George Wahr Sallade • Tom and Louis Borders

Photos Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library

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Panel Information: The University Musical Society and the May Festival

Anew musical era dawned in Ann Arbor in 1894 when the University Musical Society presented its first May Festival. Touted as “the greatest musical treat in the history of Ann Arbor or of the state,” a trio of concerts of orchestral and choral works packed the 3,000-seat University Hall on State Street. After moving to the new and larger Hill Auditorium in 1913, the festival grew to six concerts over four days, including a chorus of 400 children from local schools. Composers Copland, Rachmaninoff, and Stravinsky conducted their own works. People often wore formal attire at UMS concerts, but at May Festival time the display of décolletage, trains, tiaras, tails, and white ties was dazzling.

The May Festival ended in 1995. The UMS, long renowned for its classical music presenta- tions and outstanding international performers, was already courting new audiences by expanding its range and variety of artists and programs. Offerings included more drama, dance, jazz, and world music.

Panel Information: Music! Music! Music!

Music has always been a part of Ann Arbor life. At the first July 4th celebration in 1825, town founder John Allen’s father played the fiddle for singing and dancing. Two years later, Lucy Ann Clark’s piano—the first west of Detroit—arrived by oxcart. When she played, Potowatomi Indians were said to dance to the strange melodies.German immigrants, local singing groups, bands, parlor organs, and churches kept the town alive with music.

When the Union School opened on State Street in 1856, music instruction was available with singing, piano, harp, guitar, and violin primarily for girls. Male student bands, orchestras, and banjo groups sprang up whenever music enthusiasts got together. Instrumental music was made part of instruction in all public schools in the 1920s.

Music lovers from town and gown began a last- ing tradition by creating the Choral Union in 1879 to sing Handel’s Messiah. Conductor Calvin Cady also privately started the School of Music and the University Orchestra. All three groups were united in 1881 as the University Musical Society.

Panel Information: Remembering Drake’s

Pharmacist Claude Drake managed J. J. Quarry’s drugstore when it opened on North Univer- sity and South State in 1898. A fancy onyx soda fountain was added in the back. Drake recalled, “We sold a special sundae at ten cents that brought in the crowds.” The fountain was removed in 1907 to concentrate on pharmaceuticals and surgical supplies.

In 1929 Claude Drake bought a sandwich shop behind you, just this side of Moe’s Sport Shop. He renamed it Drake’s and added trucks to deliver and sell sweets, ice cream, and sandwiches.

Drake’s was managed by Truman Tibbals. He and his wife Mildred bought the shop in 1933 and ran a unique campus hangout for the entire town for more than sixty years. Candy jars and a soda fountain lined the walls upfront, with high-backed green and black wooden booths in the rear. In the early years a piano player sometimes entertained. Tibbals personally selected over three hundred kinds of candy and tea. It was said, “You know it’s time to leave Ann Arbor when you’ve tried all the teas at Drake’s.”

Tibbals and his family moved out of the upstairs in 1939. He remodeled that space into the Walnut Room, where couples could foxtrot and jitterbug to his large collection of records. Drake’s was one of the hottest dance spots in Ann Arbor during World War II. In the 1950s the Martian Room (it was “out of this world”) replaced dancing with overflow seating. When Tibbals died in 1994, the landmark closed. Loyal patrons bought the shop’s fixtures, signs, and furnishings.

Panel Information: A Book Lover’s Town

Ann Arborites have always bought books, borrowed books, and had private libraries. In 1832 George Corselius, editor of the Western Emigrant, the town’s first newspaper, advertised a shipment of books for sale at his office. Soon bookstores clustered around the courthouse at Main and Huron streets. After the University of Michigan opened in 1841, students and faculty made their way to Main Street bookstores, which also sold wallpaper and even sporting goods.

On State Street, Sheehan & Co. (above left, circled) was operating by 1874 to take advantage of the university trade. George Wahr opened a branch of his popular Main Street store in 1892. By 1906 there were four bookstores on State Street.

Solicited by UM’s first president Henry Tappan in 1852, Ann Arbor citizens donated $1,500 for 1,200 books, bringing the library’s total to nearly 6,000. After 1863 the books were housed in the new Law Building (interior above). They were moved to the new General Library in 1883. After the Civil War, townsfolk could pay to borrow books from the Ladies’ Library. By 1883 they could borrow books for free at Ann Arbor High School on State Street. The city’s first public library, donated by Andrew Carnegie, was built in 1907.

State Street bookstores have come and gone: Slater’s, Follett’s, Marshall’s, Shaman Drum, and others. When Wahr’s closed in 1972, Tom and Louis Borders moved their used-book store to that location. Selling new books, Borders became a leading national chain. Expanded worldwide by later owners, it was finally overwhelmed by internet competition. Borders closed in 2011.

Panel Information: Ann Arbor’s New “Streamlined” Bus Depot

Ann Arbor’s Art Moderne-style bus depot, touted as one of the most up-to-date in the country, was officially opened in September 1940. A large crowd of dignitaries and admirers assembled as the mayor cut a maize and blue satin ribbon stretched across the glass doors.

The crowd was invited to inspect the station’s impressive interior. Modern in all details,it illustrated how popular and important bus travel was in the1940s. The Ann Arbor News reported that the front exterior was of Indiana limestone and polished black marble with stainless steel and aluminum trim. A large neon sign informed the public that buses of the Blue Goose, Shortway, and Greyhound lines used the station, which included a completely covered passenger loading platform and bus roadway.

The original interior of the depot consisted of a modern waiting room (above right) with terrazzo floor, harmonizing colors, stainless steel trim, and 62 natural birch seats. A telegraph booth, baggage room, and ticket office welcomed those who entered from Huron. A sparkling polished steel lunch counter with 12 seats lined the wall on the left.

Major alterations were made in the decades that followed. The lunch counter was removed in the 1960s. Many of the other decorative elements were lost in a series of Greyhound station remodelings in the 1970s. The interior was later described as having an “industrial plainness”—barren long before the station was demolished in 2014 by First Martin Corporation to make way for a hotel. Although historic elements of the façade and marquee had fallen into disrepair, they have been carefully restored and retained.

SITE 7: COURTHOUSE SQUARE: HURON and MAIN

Sponsored by First Martin Corporation

Photos Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library and collection of H. M. Hildebrandt

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