Ann Arbor has always been on the move, with things changing at various speeds throughout its decades of existence. When Rumsey & Allen founded this town in 1824, they placed newspaper ads looking for butchers, tanners, coopers, blacksmiths. We had entire businesses built around making and fixing wagon wheels. If your horse threw a shoe, the smithy was there to fix it. People used cisterns and wells for drinking water.

Then those things vanished. Folks began driving cars, started using tires made of rubber, and we created public works systems that provided water to homes.

It’s not for me to say whether the “vanished” things were for good or ill (although personally, I like my water cold and coming out of a faucet). It is for me to record some of those long gone businesses and places. You can read all about them in my and Britain’s book, VANISHING ANN ARBOR! The book talks of old pastimes (people really liked bowling back in the day), bookstores from 1888 through 2018, restaurants enjoyed by locals and visitors from afar, retail businesses from Mack & Co to Fiegel’s to Fingerle.

We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane and as we say in the introduction, if we didn’t mention your favorite place well, we’ll just have to do a sequel!

Vanishing Ann Arbor will be available in bookstores (if they don’t have, please request it flashmob style!), from The History Press website, or from the authors. 

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