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Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. It is the state’s seventh largest city with a population of 114,024 as of the 2000 Census, of which 36,892 (32%) are university or college students. The city, which is part of the Detroit-Ann ArborFlint, MI CSA, is named after the spouses of the city’s founders and for the stands of trees in the area. Ann Arbor was founded in January 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey, both of whom were land speculators. On May 25, 1824, the town plot was registered with Wayne County as “Annarbour”. The city became the seat of Washtenaw County in 1827, and was incorporated as a village in 1833. The town became a regional transportation hub in 1839 with the arrival of the Michigan Central Railroad, and was chartered as a city in 1851. During the 1960s and 1970s, the city gained a reputation as a center for liberal politics. During the 20th century, the economy of Ann Arbor underwent a
gradual shift from a manufacturing base to a service and technology base, which accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s. Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, established in 1837. As the dominant institution of higher learning in the city and one of the top public universities in the world, the university provides Ann Arbor with a distinct college-town atmosphere. The university shapes Ann Arbor’s economy significantly as it employs about 30,000 workers, including about 7,500 in the medical center. The city’s economy is also centered on high-technology, with several companies drawn to the area by the university’s research and development money, and by its graduates. On the other hand, Ann Arbor has increasingly found itself grappling with the effects of sharply rising land values and gentrification, as well as urban sprawl stretching far into the outlying countryside. Many Ann Arbor cultural attractions and events are sponsored by the University of Michigan. Several performing arts
groups and facilities are on the university’s campus, as are museums dedicated to art, archaeology, and natural history and sciences (see Museums at the University of Michigan). Regional and local performing arts groups not associated with the university include the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre; the Arbor Opera Theater; the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra; the Ann Arbor Ballet Theater; the Ann Arbor Civic Ballet (established in 1954 as Michigan’s first chartered ballet company); and Performance Network, which operates a downtown theater frequently offering new or nontraditional plays. The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, located in a renovated and expanded historic downtown fire station, contains more than 250 interactive exhibits featuring science and technology. Multiple art galleries exist in the city, notably in the downtown area and around the University of Michigan
campus. Aside from a large restaurant scene in the Main Street, South State Street, and South University Avenue areas, Ann Arbor ranks first among U.S. cities in the number of booksellers and books sold per capita. The Ann Arbor District Library maintains four branch outlets in addition to its main downtown building; in 2008 a new branch building replaced the branch located in Plymouth Mall. This new branch is called the Traverwood Branch, and opened on June 30, 2008. The city is also home to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.
A person from Ann Arbor is called an “Ann Arborite”, and many long-time residents call themselves “townies”. The city itself is often called A² (“A-squared”) or A2 (“A two”), and, less commonly, Tree Town. Recently, some youths have taken to calling Ann Arbor Ace Deuce or simply The Deuce. With tongue-in-cheek reference to the city’s liberal political leanings, some occasionally refer to Ann Arbor as The People’s Republic of Ann Arbor or 25 square miles surrounded by reality, the latter phrase being adapted from Wisconsin Governor Lee Dreyfus’s description of Madison, Wisconsin. Ann Arbor sometimes appears on citation indexes as an author, instead of a location, often with the academic degree MI, a misunderstanding of the abbreviation for Michigan.
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Located diagonally across the street from City Hall City Center Building, 1st Floor 220 East Huron Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (734) 994-2700 Fax: (734) 994-1765 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday Morning by Carl Milles in Ann Arbor
Several annual events – many of them centered on performing and visual arts – draw visitors to Ann Arbor. One such event is the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, a set of four concurrent juried fairs held on downtown streets, which began in 1960. Scheduled on Wednesday through Saturday in the third week of July, the fairs draw upward of half a million visitors. One event that is not related to visual and performing arts
Welcome to Ann Arbor
is Hash Bash, held on the first Saturday of April, ostensibly in support of the reform of marijuana laws. It has been celebrated since 1971.