Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Building New Around Old: The Construction of the Present Courthouse
Washtenaw County solved a dilemma in 1954. By the terms of town founder John Allen's original gift, proceeds of the sale of the Courthouse Square land might go to Allen's heirs, not to the county, if it were sold for other use. That incentive to keep the courthouse on the same site presented the unattrative prospect of moving the entire operation of the county to another site during construction, then moving back once the new courthouse was finished.
The architect's plan cleverly solved this problem and provided parking as well. The new courthouse was built around three sides of the existing structure, which continued to function until the new building was finished in 1955.
The old building was then torn down and the space it occupied became a parking lot. An employee then working at the courthouse recalled, "I could open my window and reach out about 12 inches and touch the new building." Much of the move was made by employees handing materials through the old windows into the windows of the new structure.
The diagram (inset above) shows the locations of the three courthouses on this site. The first
Sponsored by the Mosaic Foundation (of R. & P. Heydon)
Photos courtesy of The Ann Arbor News
Erected by Ann Arbor Historical Foundation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Architecture.
Location. 42° 16.891′ N, 83° 44.885′ W. Marker is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Marker is at the intersection of East Huron Street and Main Street, on the left when traveling east on East Huron Street. Marker is on the south wall of the courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 East Huron Street, Ann Arbor MI 48104, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Michigan Becomes a State (here, next to this marker); Hospitality on Courthouse Square (a few steps from this marker); Centers for Communications on Courthouse Square (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ann Arbor's New "Streamlined" Bus Depot (about 300 feet away); From Interurbans to Buses (about 400 feet away); From Horses to Cars: Early Autos, Service and Parts (about 500 feet away); Three Generations of Metzgers on Washington Street (about 500 feet away); The Staeblers and the Germania/American Hotel (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ann Arbor.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 24, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 56 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 24, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.