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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 accel-
erated in the 1970s and 1980s.

The University:
Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michi-
gan, 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 dis-
Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of tinct college-town atmosphere. The university Culture:
Michigan and the county seat of Washt- shapes Ann Arbor’s economy significantly as Many Ann Arbor cultural attractions and
enaw County. It is the state’s seventh larg- it employs about 30,000 workers, including events are sponsored by the University of
est city with a population of 114,024 as of about 7,500 in the medical center. The city’s Michigan. Several performing arts groups and
the 2000 Census, of which 36,892 (32%) economy is also centered on high-technology, facilities are on the university’s campus, as
are university or college students. The with several companies drawn to the area by are museums dedicated to art, archaeology,
city, which is part of the Detroit-Ann Arbor- the university’s research and development and natural history and sciences (see Muse-
Flint, MI CSA, is named after the spouses money, and by its graduates. On the other ums at the University of Michigan). Regional
of the city’s founders and for the stands of hand, Ann Arbor has increasingly found itself and local performing arts groups not associ-
grappling with the effects of sharply rising ated with the university include the Ann Arbor
trees in the area.
land values and gentrification, as well as Civic Theatre; the Arbor Opera Theater; the
urban sprawl stretching far into the outlying Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra;
the Ann Arbor Ballet Theater; the Ann Arbor
History: countryside.
Civic Ballet (established in 1954 as Michi-
Ann Arbor was founded in January 1824 by
gan’s first chartered ballet company); and
John Allen and Elisha Rumsey, both of whom
Performance Network, which operates a
were land speculators. On May 25, 1824, the
downtown theater frequently offering new or
town plot was registered with Wayne County
nontraditional plays.
as “Annarbour”. The city became the seat of
The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, located in
Washtenaw County in 1827, and was incorpo-
a renovated and expanded historic downtown
rated as a village in 1833. The town became
fire station, contains more than 250 interac-
a regional transportation hub in 1839 with the
tive exhibits featuring science and technology.
arrival of the Michigan Central Railroad, and
Multiple art galleries exist in the city, notably
was chartered as a city in 1851. During the
in the downtown area and around the
1960s and 1970s, the city gained a reputation
University of Michigan campus. Aside from
a large restaurant scene in the Main Street,

Ann Arbor, Michigan


South State Street, and South University Av-
enue 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 youths have taken to calling Ann Arbor Ace
in Plymouth Mall. This new branch is called Deuce or simply The Deuce. With tongue-
the Traverwood Branch, and opened on June in-cheek reference to the city’s liberal politi-
30, 2008. The city is also home to the Gerald cal leanings, some occasionally refer to Ann
R. Ford Presidential Library. Arbor as The People’s Republic of Ann Arbor
or 25 square miles surrounded by reality, the
Events: latter phrase being adapted from Wiscon-
Several annual events – many of them cen- sin Governor Lee Dreyfus’s description of
tered on performing and visual arts – draw Madison, Wisconsin. Ann Arbor sometimes
visitors to Ann Arbor. One such event is the appears on citation indexes as an author,
Ann Arbor Art Fairs, a set of four concurrent instead of a location, often with the academic
juried fairs held on downtown streets, which degree MI, a misunderstanding of the abbre-
began in 1960. Scheduled on Wednesday viation for Michigan.
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 is Hash Bash, held on the first Customer Service Center
Saturday of April, ostensibly in support of the (Located diagonally across the street from City Hall)
reform of marijuana laws. It has been cel-
ebrated since 1971. City Center Building, 1st Floor
220 East Huron
People: Ann Arbor, MI 48104
A person from Ann Arbor is called an “Ann (734) 994-2700
Arborite”, and many long-time residents call
Fax: (734) 994-1765
themselves “townies”. The city itself is often
called A² (“A-squared”) or A2 (“A two”), and, E-mail: customerservice@a2gov.org
less commonly, Tree Town. Recently, some

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