Ann Arbor Stories | Ann Arbor District Library
By Ann Arbor District Library
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Ann Arbor Stories features sometimes well known and sometimes obscure short tales from Ann Arbor's past. Everything from music, money, and murder, to the extraordinary people and events that have shaped Ann Arbor since 1824. Ann Arbor Stories is presented by Richard Retyi and Brian Peters, in partnership with the Ann Arbor District Library.
||Clean#25 Ann Arbor Stories: The Red Light District||There was a time in Ann Arbor’s not-so-distant past when a part of town was widely known as the red light district. Adult bookstores, topless massage parlors, prostitutes, hoodlums, and bums—all just blocks from City Hall and Ann Arbor police headquarters. Cops were raiding massage parlors every few months, rounding up a dozen massage workers at a time, but the arrests never made a dent. Crackdowns on prostitutes and the johns who solicited them didn’t make much impact either. The red light district regenerated. Persisted. Grew stronger. How did Ann Arbor become home to this kind of brazen adult fare? Music by FAWNN Learn more in the AADL Old News Archives.||2/16/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#24 Ann Arbor Stories: Proud History of Punching Nazis in the Face||Police spotted the Nazis in their rented U-Haul at the edge of the city around 11 am— two hours before anyone expected them to arrive. Fifteen members of the S.S. Action Group out of Westland—sitting three in the front and 12 in the back, riot shields and jackboots bouncing over every pothole. It was March 20, 1982, and a crowd of 2,000 anti-Nazi demonstrators were about to show the world what Ann Arbor thought of their Aryan visitors. Music by Diego and the Dissidents. Learn more in the AADL Old News Archives: http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/65714||2/2/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#23 Ann Arbor Stories: The Clairvoyant Physician||In a time of spirits, specters, and the people who could contact them - Daniel B. Kellogg fit right in. The good doctor could diagnose you in person or halfway across the country—see inside you and prescribe the perfect cure—despite having no formal medical training. He needed only his keen sense of the spirit world and the ghosts of two medicine men to help with long distance cases. This is the story of Ann Arbor's clairvoyant physician and the family empire he built right in Lower Town. Music by Hollow & Akimbo. Special thanks to Katie Reeves for suggesting this topic, and our enduring thanks to the Ann Arbor District Library archives staff for providing many of our research materials. Learn more about this story in the Old News archives.||1/19/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#22 Ann Arbor Stories: For All the Marbles||That spring in 1936, seven years into the Great Depression, the entire city of Ann Arbor, age 14 and under, lost their marbles over the biggest sporting event the city had ever known. Hundreds of kids battled for 26 coveted spots in a tournament that could determine their futures. It was the 1936 Ann Arbor Daily News Marbles Tournament, pitting the best shooters in the best schools in the city against each other for an all expenses paid trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to compete in the Western Finals. The champion of the west would punch his or her ticket to the National Marbles Tournament on the Jersey Shore, and a chance at marbles immortality. Music by Stepdad. Learn more about this story in the Old News archives.||1/5/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#21 Ann Arbor Stories: Our Own Santa's Helper||Most of Santa’s helpers are great people - guys and gals - and, as it turns out, Ann Arbor used to have one of the best. Our Santa’s helper was so good that four U.S. presidents praised his work. As did governors, senators, congressmen - essentially any elected official looking to shake hands and smile into the camera around Christmastime. Our Santa’s Helper had the keys to the city of Ann Arbor, Detroit and Washington, D.C. Our Santa's helper was in Life magazine in 1956. Our Santa's helper was one of the best. Music by Ben Benjamin, made possible by GhoLicense. Read more: http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/102596||12/22/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#20 Ann Arbor Stories: JFK Slept Here: The Presidential Special||George Washington never slept here. Neither did Abraham Lincoln or Andrew Jackson or George W. Bush. Of the 43 men who have served as President of the United States since 2016, we’re confident 17 Commanders in Chief have set foot in the Ann Arbor area … 18 if you count young Army officer Ulysses S. Grant. Here are their stories, as well as the stories of some presidents who never set foot in Ann Arbor but are still tied to the city in some way. Music by John Philip Sousa||11/10/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#19 Ann Arbor Stories: A Very Dixboro Ghost Story||Listener discretion advised. When Martha Crawford stepped out of her carriage and set foot in the Village of Dixboro in 1835, no one could have predicted her eventual fate, or that she'd be the origin of Dixboro's first creepy ghost story. Music by Michna and Ben Benjamin, made possible by GhoLicense.||10/27/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#18 Ann Arbor Stories: Riot at the Star Theater||On St. Patrick’s Day, 1908, The Star was the site of the largest riot in Ann Arbor’s history. Why did an isolated beatdown incite 3,000 students and townies to destroy one of Ann Arbor's few theaters at the time? Music by Frontier Ruckus||10/13/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#17 Ann Arbor Stories: Ann Arbor Mallet Murders||Listener discretion advised. This episode contains content that might not be suitable for all listeners. It does have the word murder in the title. Why did three teenagers from good homes bash nurse Pauline Campbell's brains out of her head one cool fall evening in 1951? Music by Alexander Mathias and Geoff White, made possible by GhoLicense.||9/29/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#16 Ann Arbor Stories: The Girls in the Band||Being a member of the University of Michigan Marching Band is hard work. Not only do you need to be a great musician, but you need to be able to march in tight formation, high-step and run around a football field in front of 100,000 people without missing a note. Attributes only men were fortunate enough to possess until 1972—when women were finally allowed to try out for the band without fear that they'd expect to be dismissed from rehearsals due to "female problems." Here's the story of how the girls got into the band and how women continue to make inroads in the traditionally male-dominated Ann Arbor institution. Music by the 1972, 1997 and 2016 University of Michigan Marching Band, and David Rose & His Orchestra. AADL LINKS General Articles: General Articles Band protests UM Women Form Band in Protest Coeds Formed All Women 'Band' To Protest Discriminatory Policies||9/15/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#15 Ann Arbor Stories: The Pig Bowl||1969 was a rough year in Ann Arbor. So the city cops and the county cops decided to play a full-contact game of football to raise money for Christmas presents for needy kids. They called it The Pig Bowl. Music by All Star Collegians and Park St Trio. AADL Links 1st Annual Pig Bowl Newspaper Coverage Trophy Up For Grabs In "Pig Bowl" Fundraiser To Aid Needy Children, December 1969 Sheriff's Department Officers Count Contributions From First Annual Pig Bowl, December 1969 3 Yards, Gasp For Breath; Police Ready For 'Pig Bowl' Pigs And Goats Poised For Superclassic After Bowl Is Over ~ Aw Come On, 'Fuzz' Looks Like Happy Christmas - Goats 19, Pigs 0 Trophy Awarded to Ann Arbor Police Department In First Annual Pig Bowl, December 1969 Pig Bowl "Go Blue" Banner on Washtenaw County Jail, December 1969 2nd Annual Pig Bowl Newspaper Coverage 'Goats' Ready for Bowl Game Ann Arbor Police and Washtenaw County Sheriffs' Officer Prepare for 2nd Annual "Pig Bowl," October 1970 Santa Makes A Visit Sheriff's 'Pigs' Snort To 7-6 Victory Ann Arbor Police Department Goat Mascot Greets Spectators at the Second Annual Pig Bowl, November 1970 Teams Gather on the Field at the Second Annual Pig Bowl, November 1970 Washtenaw County Sheriff Douglas J. Harvey Accepts Trophy at the Second Annual Pig Bowl, November 1970||9/1/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#14 Ann Arbor Stories: The Naked Mile||What began as a fun way to celebrate the last day of classes transformed into an internationally live-streamed event. Crowds of 10,000 or more shouting, cheering, pushing and watching 1,000 coed runners in the buff take part in the University of Michigan's famous Naked Mile. Where did it start? How did it end? Learn all about the last time streaking was cool in Ann Arbor. Music by Zach Shipps & FAWNN Learn more in Old News||8/18/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#13 Ann Arbor Stories: A Brief History of Poop||Ann Arborites haven't always pooped in their pristine flush toilets and private privvys, no sir m'am. Things were gross and disgusting for a long time. Learn about the arrival of the earth closet, the sealing of the privvy vaults, and the story of the very first flush toilet in Ann Arbor. And hear the word poop, like 411 times. Music by Tunde Olaniran. Links (a bunch of them): Strike The Iron While It's Hot! The number of earth closets in Ann Arbor homes. The second page has info about sewers and sewage in Ann Arbor. The first column towards bottom, entitled Closets How To Induce Feeble Health And Early Death Fined For Working On A Shed In Fire Limits Renewal Project Wins Favor The President’s House U-M President's Home, Built 113 Years Ago, Stands As Oldest Campus Structure Kempf House dig: Privy to the past More Earth Closets||8/4/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#12 Ann Arbor Stories: The Ballad of Shakey Jake||Legendary streetsman, bluesman and raconteur, Shakey Jake told so many tales to so many people that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between fact and fiction. We do our best in this episode of Ann Arbor Stories. Music by Ben Benjamin, made possible by Gholicense. AADL Links See articles and photos on Old News. Shakey Jake's first blues performance in Ann Arbor on YouTube.||7/21/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#11 Ann Arbor Stories: The Great Meteorite Heist||It's a story 50,000 years old. Sort of. A 60-pound meteorite is stolen from the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. There are no signs of a break-in. No clues to follow. No video cameras to catch the robbers in the act. How did Detective Kevin McNulty of the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety crack the case? Music by Mux Mool, made possible by Gholicense. Further reading at AADL's Old News, including a photo.||7/7/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#10 Ann Arbor Stories: Ann Arbor Invents the Cubicle||The cubicle. The three-walled cliche, surface to which so many Hang In There kitty cat posters are affixed, was invented in Ann Arbor. That’s right - the yoke around the neck of white collar workers everywhere was conceived and birthed in Ann Arbor. On State Street, no less. Here's the story of its invention and proliferation and how it came to be in Ann Arbor. Music by Stepdad. Further reading and photos from AADL's Oldnews Birth of the Cube Farm from Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now.||6/23/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#9 Ann Arbor Stories: It's Lovely to Die Together||(This episode is for mature audiences only) The two girls were peculiar, even for Ann Arbor in 1971. They looked college aged, maybe they were hippies. Nothing outwardly weird, but something definitely strange. They stood a few feet apart, face to face on the corner of State and Liberty. Some said they were looking at the moon. Others said they just stared at each other. Stared for hours and hours that cold November night. This is the story of those two peculiar girls. And one tragic night in November in 1971. Music by Diego and the Dissidents Further reading and photos from AADL's Old News||6/9/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#8 Ann Arbor Stories: The Suicide Sub Comes to Ann Arbor||See 38 and a half tons ... 81 feet of fanatical fiendishness. See one of the ships in which two of our enemies volunteer to accept death in order to blow up their objectives. See this Japanese suicide submarine and realize what a vicious, tricky, desperate enemy our boys are fighting in the pacific. Let’s hit them harder. Let’s depth-bomb them to the bottom of the sea - let’s show them what an aroused, all-out America can do. On that Saturday, July 17, 1943, this honest to goodness captured Japanese suicide sub would roll through the streets of Ann Arbor in one of the weirdest parades in city history. Music by Hollow & Akimbo Further reading and photos from AADL's Old News||5/26/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#7 Ann Arbor Stories: The Legendary Weed Contest of 1975||The Legendary Weed Contest of 1975 wasn’t just any contest. It was more than just a sweepstakes where the grand prize winner received one full-scale pound of Columbian smoking marijuana. It was a statement. A call to revolution. A brilliant marketing plan hatched during a smoke-filled discussion among the braintrust of the Ann Arbor Sun, looking for a way to increase the paper’s circulation. Music by Chris Bathgate Further reading and photos from AADL's Old News: Contest winners announced Legendary Weed Contest of 1975 ad Prosecutor's Effort Fails to Halt Pot Giveaway Prosecutor in court to halt pot contest||5/12/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#6 Ann Arbor Stories: Ghost in the Attic||For a town as old as Ann Arbor, it has surprisingly few ghost stories. But in the late 1950s, the congregation of the First Methodist Church in Ann Arbor was pretty convinced they had a spirit on their hands. Caretakers sometimes heard footsteps late at night, but never spotted anyone in the church. Until the early morning hours of August 30, 1959, when they made a chilling discovery. Music by People Get Ready Further reading from AADL's Old News: Initial Story Bill of Health Lim Gets Aid Going Back to School Graduating Saturday Hit by Car 10-year retrospective Retrospective after Cheng's Death||4/28/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#5 Ann Arbor Stories: Ann Arbor's Oldest Gay Bar||It started on April 30, 1949, when Cupid Bar rebranded itself as The Flame Bar, turning a popular downtown student watering hole into a slightly more popular downtown student watering hole. Almost 50 years later, The Flame would close, shuttering an Ann Arbor institution. It wasn’t Ann Arbor’s first gay bar, and certainly not its last, but The Flame played a major role in the lives of many among Ann Arbor’s LGBT community - for good and ill. Music by Lightning Love Further reading from AADL's Old News: The Flame bar review Death of Harvey Blanchard The Flame Bought The Flame Reopens on Liberty||4/14/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#4 Ann Arbor Stories: The Birth of Iggy Pop||Muskegon claims him because he was born there. Ypsi claims him because, for most of his childhood, he lived in a trailer park on the outskirts of town. But it’s Ann Arbor - along with cocaine, meth, acid, booze, pills, AND ambition - that deserve the credit for turning James Newell Osterberg into Iggy Pop. Music by FAWNN||3/31/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#3 Ann Arbor Stories: Martian Madness||On the night of March 20,1966, Frank Mannor’s six dogs started barking like they’d never done before. He went outside to shut them up and that’s when he saw what he saw. Something flying through the night sky. At first it looked like a shooting star, then it slowed. It changed color. And it landed in the woods a few hundred yards from his Dexter farmhouse. Music by Diego & The Dissidents and The Dead Bodies.||3/17/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#2 Ann Arbor Stories: Death of a Policeman||Crime was never a big problem in Ann Arbor in 1935. There were occasional break-ins, robberies, stolen vehicles, assaults, a riot or protest or two, but Prohibition was over and the gangsters and bootleggers had moved on. An Ann Arbor police officer had never been killed in the line of duty, nor even died from a horse, car, or motorcycle accident while on duty. Not even a random heart attack. Until March 21, 1935. Music by Ben Benjamin, and Aeroc made possible by Gholicense. Additional music by Chris Bathgate.||3/10/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean#1 Ann Arbor Stories: A Buck Twenty-Five||In 1824, John Allen of New York and Elisha Rumsey of Connecticut bought up 640 acres of prime Michigan land, paying $1.25 per acre. Those 640 acres, purchased in a tiny federal land office in Detroit, would become known as Ann Arbor. This is the story of the founding of Ann Arbor and how the town grew from its ragamuffin roots into what it has become today. Music by Chris Bathgate||3/3/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
Very Promising New Podcast
There's only 4 episodes so far, but this has all the makings for a terrific collection. The narrator is every bit as good as Aaron Menke (of Lore), and the stories are short and interesting.
In fact, if this goes on as it's begun, it could very well be "Ann Arbor Lore" (if they can find some really bizarre stories from the city's history that've been well-buried and thought lost forever.)
Hoping for the best!👏
Capital audio #content!
Capital audio #content!
Rich is my hero
Was a fan of his work for DamnArbor, glad he’s back.