Historic Preservation

May is Preservation Month!

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​​​​A National Tradition         

Each May, the United States has celebrated its historic resources during National Preservation Week (1973-2004) and Preservation Month (2005-present). Led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this year's theme is People Saving Places. Historic place-savers pour their time, energy, and resources into protecting places they care about, often without recognition. Preservation Month 2022 is for them—a national high-five to everyone doing the great work of saving places in hopes that it will inspire and empower others to do the same.

Visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation for resources, stories, and special events to help celebrate Preservation Month this year, including:

    • May 17: The Untold Story of Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost: On the Frontline of School Desegregation in New Orleans
    • On-Demand: Podcasts for Preservation
    • On-Demand: From Aspiration to Inspiration: Six Aspire Award Winners Reflect on the State of Preservation

 Share the stories of the people who are making a difference in your community. Celebrate Preservation Month this May!

Celebrating Ann Arbor's Historic Buildings

In honor of Preservation Month we will showcase different eras and styles of buildings that are still being used, loved, and admired here today.  Our hats are off to the people who care from these irreplaceable buildings! Check back periodically for a new era of architecture from Ann Arbor's past. 

Italianate (1850-1880)

The Italianate style was a reaction to the rigidly formal, classical architecture that had dominated American buildings since the early 18th century.  Taking its cues from Italian Renaissance architecture, this style dominates Ann Arbor's downtown commercial districts along Main, W. Liberty, and Washington. The cube shape is dominant for most residences although “high style" Italianate often features towers or cupolas.   ​

Local Example

1115 Woodlawn

Christian and Margaretha Eberbach House ​

Christian Eberbach, the owner of a successful drug store and laboratory equipment factory, built this textbook example of a brick Italianate villa-style house in 1863. It is an L-shaped house with a four-story tower at the entry. The windows have corbeled brick crowns with segmental arches and there is a deep bracketed eave, both typical of the style. ​

1115 Woodlawn BEST.JPG

​Greek Revival (1820s-1860s)

Greek Revival style buildings were prevalent in Ann Arbor between its founding in 1824 and the end of the civil war in 1865. As a new democracy, Americans identified with the ancient democracies of Greece and wanted their architecture to illustrate those ideals. In Ann Arbor, surviving examples of this style are primarily residential. 

Greek Revivial Drawing.PNG
Local Examples

126 N Division (1835/1844/1863)
Wilson-Wahr House

Around 1835 a small house facing north was built on this site and purchased in 1840 by Judge Robert S. Wilson, a settler from New York. Wilson built a large addition toward N. Division Street, resulting in the iconic Greek Revival we see today. Look for the pedimented front porch supported by two-story ionic columns, a front door with sidelights and transom, and a stucco finish that is scored to look like large masonry blocks. The house has been owned by Norm and Ilene Tyler since 2002, and received a Historic District Commission award in 2006. ​​

126 N Division.JPG​​

3865 Glazier Way (1842)
Lemuel and Abi Foster House
This one-and-a-half story Greek Revival farmhouse is a gem hidden among UM's north campus buildings and residences. It was built by Lemuel and Abi Foster and we know from an 1874 engraving that it is nearly intact today. Its Greek Revival features include the central classical entry with sidelights and transom, wide pilasters, gable-end corner returns, a two-panel door and six-over-six windows – all hallmarks of the style. Descendants of the original Foster family sold it in 1942 to the Samborski family, who have maintained it beautifully. In 180 years, only two families have owned the property! The house received a Historic District Commission award in 2015.​



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