Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Commerce on the "Ann Street Block"
Behind you, just to your left, the "Ann Street Block" still houses storefronts, offices, and residences. It was built in 1871 as the Hoban Block after fire destroyed earlier buildings. Customers came to butchers, grocery stores, saloons, restaurants, billiard halls, a laundry, hotel, and adjoining monument and harness shops.
By 1920 the growing Greek immigrant presence in the neighborhood added the social life of all-male coffee houses. After African American workers migrated to Ann Arbor and doubled the black population in the 1920s, the businesses in the Ann Street Block primarily served the black community. The block was restored in the 1980s.
Top image caption:
1 — The Hoban Block looking east from Fourth Ave., ca. 1900
Top right inset image caption:
Charles Vogel opened his meat shop at 115 E. Ann St. about 1900.
Middle right inset image caption:
Joseph Arnet (far right) in front of his shop, ca. 1910.
Bottom right inset image caption:
Dave & Mozelle Keaton's Midway Lunch, ca. 1940s (Mozelle in middle).
In 1898, the Anti-Saloon Tract, "The Voice," published a map showing eleven saloons clustered within a block of the courthouse. The tract claimed they were corrupting university students. An "official" bawdy house "largely supported by students" occupied the second floor of the building directly behind the post office. The accompanying article reported: "Recently a new policeman who was not familiar with the situation telephoned Chief of Police Zenas Sweet late at night that he had just seen 14 men enter there and that it was 'ripe' for a raid. The chief said that he '. . . had not time to interfere.'"
Sponsored by Arnet's Monuments
Photos courtesy of Frederick Arnet, the Bentley Historical Library, Theopolis "Stomp" Bostic, Lucille Porter, & David Tinder
Erected by Ann Arbor Historical Foundation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1871.
Location. 42° 16.936′ N, 83° 44.896′ W. Marker is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Marker is at the intersection of East Ann Street and North Main Street, on the right when traveling east on East Ann Street. Marker is on the northwest corner of the Washtenaw County 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. A Former Bank and Estate on Ann Street (here, next to this marker); The Streets Around Courthouse Square (here, next to this marker); A Meeting Place for Ann Arbor's Black Community (here, next to this marker); Shopping on East Huron Street (here, next to this marker); The Changing Face of North Fourth Avenue (here, next to this marker); Main Street in the 1890s (here, next to this marker); A Corner Landmark on Huron and North Fourth (here, next to this marker); Centers for Communications on Courthouse Square (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ann Arbor.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 19, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 19, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 66 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 19, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.