Ann Arbor's city parks sit on the ancestral and traditional homelands of several indigenous Native peoples. Read a
land acknowledgement from the city and learn more about the early history of the land
Controversy and pressure from the public led to the creation of Kuebler Langford Nature Area. In the late sixties and early seventies there was contention over a plan to develop the site. The City of Ann Arbor Planning Commission wanted to rezone the site to become high-rise housing and there was a developer ready to build, while the Ann Arbor Park Commission wanted the city to buy the site to use it as parkland. A vote by the Planning Commission to rezone the area failed in
1969 because a unanimous vote was required to pass it. Concerned citizens urged the city not to let the land be developed, citing concerns over erosion and the natural features and describing Huron River Drive as a "park road" that was not prepared for the traffic that would come with the development. In 1975 City Council relented to public sentiment and voted unanimously to purchase the site. 4.6 acres were sold to the city by G. Robert Langford and Elizabeth H. Langford for $15,000 and 22.8 acres were sold to the city by Henry and Helen Kuebler for $150,000. The nature area was named after the families who sold the land to the city. See a map showing the original parcels.
G. Robert Langford, one of the namesakes of the park, started a company in Ann Arbor called Economy Baler, which was once the largest business of its kind in the world. Read more about Langford's company
The land was used as a staging area for construction on M-14 in the late 1970s, causing some problems with erosion. Efforts to manage erosion in the area are still underway to this day.
Several smaller land acquisitions have led to the park taping the shape that it is today. The city acquired 6 lots from the Ganzhorn Hills subdivision in 1993, which forms the portion of the park that runs along Beechwood Drive on the park's western edge. A small portion of land off of the southern side of Hampstead Lane, from that same subdivision, was acquired by the city and added to the park in 2011.
To learn more about the history, restoration efforts, and natural features of Kuebler Langford, check out these NAP Newsletters that have featured the park:
2000 Park Focus: Kuebler Langford Nature Area by Jennifer Maigret
2019 Park Focus: Kuebler Langford Nature Area by Amy Lipson