Historic Allen Creek


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In 1824, an idyllic picturesque creek provided habitat and resources for not only the Potawatomie Indian tribe, but the first settlers of what was to become the City of Ann Arbor. That same creek still flows today, 200 years later, underneath much of downtown Ann Arbor, and parts of the Old West side neighborhood. Allen creek, a tributary of the Huron River, is now almost entirely underground in concrete pipes.

The main branch of Allen Creek runs north, parallel to the Ann Arbor Railroad tracks, starting at Pioneer High School and spilling into the Huron River just south of Argo Dam. Three tributaries flow east into it from​ the Old West Side. Eberwhite starts on Lutz Street, crosses Seventh Street, and flows into the primary stream at William Street; Murray-Washington starts at Virginia Park, crosses Slauson Middle School playground, and joins the creek near West Park; and West Park-Miller drains the area between Miller Avenue and Huron Street.

During our 2024 bicentennial, the Ann Arbor community can visualize and celebrate the “Ghost Creek" that is Allen Creek, just beneath our feet. Sidewalk signs have been placed to signify where the historic Allen Creek flowed under our paved roads and sidewalks. This installation will be available late spring, through the fall. Take a walk and try to envision what the landscape of Ann Arbor looked like 200 years ago, with this beautiful creek flowing through the new settlement of Ann Arbor.

Go to the “Historic Allen Creek" map​ to explore the historic route of Allen Creek and its enclosed
current day location. Click on historic photo points to see what the creek area looked like prior to and during its enclosure in 1922-1926.