Market History

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The market first ​opened in 1919 at its original location along 4th avenue and moved to its current location in 1931. Our roof structure was built as a Works Progress Admin​istration (WPA project), completed in 1941. In 2019, we celebrated our 100th birthday! This page features photos, memories, and history about the market, compiled in partnership with the Ann Arbor District Library historical archive for our 100th birthday celebration. The archive can be viewed here

Mrs. Di​eterle, Bob's Mother (1968)

Photo: Mrs. Di​eterle, Bob's Mother (1968). 'Winter was an even more trying time. Bob Dieterle didn’t miss a Saturday for fifty-seven years. "People depended on us to bring eggs,” he says. “Once when there was a big snowstorm, when we still had horses, I knew my dad’s ’34 Ford couldn’t reach the corner [to the main road], so I had the horses pull it there. I met him there with the horses when he returned at three.' - The Farmers Market Bounces Back, Grace Shackman, 1998



Child kneeling by box of kittensPhoto: Free Kittens at the Farmers Market (1968) 
Caption: Mommie, Please?: Playful kittens, especially when they're homeless and free, are just too much for a little girl to pass by. Even though Mary Kay Lininger has kittens of her own at home, she made a noble attempt at trying to convince her mother that just one more wouldn't be too many. Mary Kay is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roger A. Lininger of Mt. Vernon Avenue
Ann Arbor News, October 20, 1968



Black and white photo of the farmers market 

Photo: 1951-winter
The Ann Arbor Farmers Market In Cold Weather, January 1951. Donated by the Ann Arbor News.

From its inception through the 1960s, market stalls were in great demand. “Quite a few [growers] would stay all night the night before to get a preferred spot,” Alex Nemeth remembers. Bob Dieterle, who still works the family farm near Saline, remembers that his mother used to go at 2 a.m. and park across from the armory to make sure she’d get a stall.

Once they had secured a spot, many stayed up all night, or close to it, getting ready for the market. Dieterle’s wife, Luella, used to spend the night picking flowers, a flashlight under her arm. Esther Kapp remembers harvesting until 1:30 a.m. and then rising again at 4 a.m. for the trip to town. Her three brothers stayed behind on the farm on Northfield Church Road to continue picking; while Kapp and her mother sold, her dad would drive back and forth all day to pick up fresh produce. (The Farmers Market Bounces Back, Grace Shackman, 1998)

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Photo: Submitted by Cindy Shake
This is a photo of my mother, Olive Conant, arranging wild daisies bouquets. She and my father, Herbert, had a stall next to Alex Nemeth from 1952-1995. I spent many Saturdays at the market learning customer service and how to make change. My parents were also market managers in the late 60’s and early 70’s while still maintaining their stall. They sold vegetables, baked goods, flowers and crafts. My husband , Jim and I eventually took over the growing and selling. Cindi Conant Shake



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Photo: 1941 - 4th Ave

The Farmers' Market on N. Fourth Ave. grew to include East Ann St., before it was moved to its present site on Detroit St. in 1931.

Frame location: On North wall of Courthouse

Bentley Historical Library Collection




Newspaper clipping

Photo: 1886-letter

Letters from the People: Reasons ​Why Ann Arbor Should Have a Public Market

Ann Arbor Courier, October 13, 1886









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Photo: 1975 "A Lighter Moment" 
A Lighter Moment at the Farmers Market, May 1975
Donated by the Ann Arbor News. © The Ann Arbor News​

1982-she snuck off.jpgPic: 1982 She 'snuck off' to the market in '53
“Their market adventure began in 1953 when Josephine “snuck off” to the market, she says, to see if she could sell some tulips she had inherited”. Josephine and Everett Van Hoy
Ann Arbor News, October 13, 1982



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Pic: 1941 Farmers Market Under Construction. "From 1938 to 1940, the present 124-stall market was built by the federal Works Progress Administration, a Depression-era jobs program. WPA workers roofed and paved the market and added another short wing extending west from Detroit Street." - The Farmers Market Bounces Back, Grace Shackman. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library Sturgis Collection​

Photo of boy surrounded by boxes of cornPic: 1957 Michael Wesley Displays Sweet Corn At The Municipal Market.
Sweet Corn Time: At peace with the world at the Ann Arbor Municipal Market today is Michael Wesley of Temperance, Mich., pictured here trimming the husks off sweet corn to display its kernels to potential buyers.
Ann Arbor News, August 28, 1957



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Some photos of when the market was in its original location along 4th Ave. 

1959-geranium day.jpg​Geranium Day At The Municipal Market, May 1959
Geranium Day: More than 300 persons visited the Municipal Market today to pick up geranium plants from a sale sponsored by the Women's Association of the Ann Arbor Civic Symphony. Funds from the sale of the various-colored potted plants to toward the Civic Symphony. Mrs. C. C. Kemp (left) was one of the first persons to pick up her plants this morning. Assisting her is Mrs. Joe Juncker, a member of the Women's Civic Symphony Association.
Ann Arbor News, May 21, 1959​

Woman with eggs

Mrs. Douglas Baker with Double Yolked Eggs at Farmers' Market
November 1938 Donated by the Ann Arbor News. © The Ann Arbor News.​


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Pic: 1984-new office

Article: New Farmers Market Office

May 1984 Caption: The new Farmer's Market Office Building will open officially on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The building, in classic market style with small wings on either side, houses market offices and public rest rooms. The 1,100 square feet structure was designed by architect Kent Hubbell and cost about $148,000. That included preparing the site and landscaping. The ribbon-cutting will coincide with the market's Spring Festival, a tradition since 1900. In addition to the usual market activity magician Daryl Hurst will perform and music will be supplied by Dick Gorlitz and the Traditions. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market is located on Detroit Street at Fourth Street.

Ann Arbor News, May 24, 1984