A Historic Tour of Hertler Brothers and Downtown Home & Garden

Mark Hodesh takes us on a tour of the historic downtown Ann Arbor building he owns, which was originally built in 1896 as Hertler Brothers, and renamed as Downtown Home & Garden in 1997. The building located at 210 S. Ashley St. has provided services and supplies to the wider Ann Arbor community for over a century. While in some ways it remains unchanged—continuing to sell bulk seed, grain, and hay—it's also adapted to changing times and evolving customer needs. Current owner of the Downtown Home & Garden store, Kelly Vore, also adds her perspective on this legacy.

Branching Narratives: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of the Tappan Oak

In this short documentary, filmmaker Jen Proctor tells the story of the Tappan Oak, a tree that predated white settlement in Ann Arbor and the campus that grew up around it, and the human actions that marked its last decades of life.

From Filmmaker Jen Proctor:

This film represents both singular and collective stories. A lone undergraduate student communes with a tree to help him feel connected to a college campus from which he felt alienated. A professor collaborates with students to create a sense of belonging to Michigan’s natural environment. A society of students fosters belonging by performing a ritual around the tree to induct members into their community. In creating belonging for a select few, however, the society excludes and demeans others who similarly seek to belong. An activist collective responds by effecting change over decades to create spaces for belonging for all people on the campus.

All of these stories bear a relationship to the great oak, an unwitting but central figure in their narratives.

Keith & Martin/Martin & Keith: Elegy for the \aut\BAR

“From 1995 to 2020, Ann Arbor’s Aut/Bar was the mecca for the LGBTQ+ community. Its founders, Martin Contreras and Keith Orr, created a cultural and political hub that bridged the AIDS era with assimilation of the queer community and urban gentrification. This film is both tribute and elegy to a moment of significant hope when Ann Arbor lived up to its reputation for harboring a tolerant and liberal-minded population. It is dedicated to the two men who were at its heart and whose proud determination to make it happen was both fierce and tender.” - Peter Sparling

There Went The Neighborhood: The Closing of Jones School

As part of Ann Arbor 200, the Ann Arbor District Library and 7 Cylinders Studio (7CS) have produced a documentary film about the closing of Ann Arbor's Jones School. In 1965, the Board of Education closed the majority-Black school. Ann Arbor joined a nationwide trend of school desegregation during the Civil Rights Era. But for these young students, the loss of a neighborhood school foreshadowed changes to their close-knit community. Gentrification came to Ann Arbor on the heels of desegregation.

AADL Talks To: Karen Jania

In this episode, Karen Jania, president of the Washtenaw County Historical Society (WCHS), discusses her career in archives and museums. In addition to discussing her work at the WCHS, Karen talks about her long career as head of reference at the Bentley Historical Library, including the many changes in archives work that she witnessed during her tenure, the colleagues who nurtured her through her career, and some of the Bentley's unique collections.

AADL Talks To: The Chenille Sisters

In this episode, AADL Talks To The Chenille Sisters, Ann Arbor's favorite harmonizing trio. They are (left to right, below) Cheryl Dawdy, Grace Morand, and Connie Huber. The Chenille Sisters began singing together at Ann Arbor's Old Town Tavern in 1985. Within a year, they made their first of several appearances on Garrison Keillor’s popular “A Prairie Home Companion” radio program. The trio wrote and toured constantly through the early 2000s, appeared in numerous regional and national venues, and recorded 12 records.

AADL Talks To: Bill Zirinsky and Ruth Schekter of Crazy Wisdom

In this episode of AADL Talks To, we interview Bill Zirinsky and Ruth Schekter. Bill and Ruth discuss their history running the Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and the Crazy Wisdom Journal. They also talk about their time in Ann Arbor, including some of the city’s changes over the years. They discuss their experience as a unique “new age” bookstore in a town known for its book shops.