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Ann Arbor's Historical Buildings (Self Guided), Ann Arbor

The city was founded in the 1820s and centered on the University of Michigan, established here in 1837. Hundreds of splendid buildings made up Ann Arbor’s skyline, many of which are included in the National Register. The university campus was registered as Historic District in 1978. It makes the strolls around this "college town" exciting and enlightening. This self-guided walk contains the oldest and most beautiful and historically significant works of architecture located downtown.
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Ann Arbor's Historical Buildings Map

Guide Name: Ann Arbor's Historical Buildings
Guide Location: USA » Ann Arbor (See other walking tours in Ann Arbor)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: Sandra
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • St. Thomas the Apostle Church
  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
  • Kempf House
  • First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor
  • First Unitarian Church
  • Rackham Graduate School
  • Burton Memorial Tower
  • Hill Auditorium
  • Angell Hall & the Diag
  • Hutchins Hall & Quadrangle
St. Thomas the Apostle Church

1) St. Thomas the Apostle Church

St. Thomas Church facades face North State and Elizabeth Street; the entrance is on Kingsley Street. It is a Roman Catholic Parish church established in 1868. The church was built and dedicated in 1899. This impressive structure with ashlar walls is created in Romanesque architectural style popularized by architect H.H. Richardson on the east coast. This complex structure has a Latin-cross plan, numerous turrets and built-in towers of different shapes, a square dominated bell tower, a three-arched entrance and large rose windows. The church underwent partial restoration in 1995. The building was added to the State Register of Historic Places in 1974.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

2) St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

The church is situated at the intersection of North Division and Catherine Streets in the historic district of Ann Arbor. The sanctuary of the church was completed in 1869 by the design of architect Gordon W. Lloyd. Over time more structures have been added to it: Page Hall in 1880, square bell tower in 1903, and Parish Hall in 1951. The last building modification was in 2009. Its architecture represents English Gothic style, both inside and out. It has lancet openings and triple lancet windows above the entrance, decoratively patterned slate gabled roof and stone walls. It is famous for the beauty of its interior and numerous stained glass windows of the 19th century. St. Andrew’s is the oldest operating church in Ann Arbor; it was listed on the State Register in 1974.
Kempf House

3) Kempf House

This building known as Kempf House was designed by local master Arden Ballard and constructed in the middle of the 19th century in the heart of Ann Arbor. This Greek Revival Style House had been the residence of the Kempf family from 1888 to 1953. The structure features a portico entrance with four square columns supporting the triangular pediment. Now it’s a house-museum furnished with antique Victorian pieces and Kempf family belongings, as well as the city’s first grand piano of 1877. It was registered as a Historic Building in 1988.
First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor

4) First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor

First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor is located on East Huron Street opposite a multistorey building of the University of Michigan. This English Gothic Revival church with a seating capacity of 750, was planned and constructed in 1880 by efforts of congregation members. The church interior features hammer beams and balconies on each side descending to the front altar. The building became the third location of First Baptist Church, founded in 1828; the church is still in use today.
First Unitarian Church

5) First Unitarian Church

This old-looking church sits at the corner of East Huron Street and North State Street in downtown Ann Arbor. First Unitarian Church was built in 1882 according to the project of Donaldson and Meier. The Richardsonian Romanesque structure is a bright example of this architectural style common throughout the eastern United States. It features ashlar walls, cross-gabled roof, massive corner tower with four turrets, arched openings and portico entrances. The building was purchased and reconstructed by Hobbs & Black architects in 1885, and has since remained in the same location. First Unitarian Church has been registered as a Historic Building since 1978.
Rackham Graduate School

6) Rackham Graduate School

Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies is located in the area of the University of Michigan Central Campus. Horace H. Rackham, a local attorney, was the initiator of the building's Graduate School that accommodates the Concert Auditorium. This five-storey edifice of Indiana limestone was constructed in 1938. The project was developed by Italian architectural sculptor Corrado Parducci and architect William Kapp. This symmetrical building features rectangular forms and a stepped structure. There are figures above the windows and on balconies and prominent wings. The Auditorium is considered the ideal hall for chamber music. Rackham was reconstructed in 2003.
Burton Memorial Tower

7) Burton Memorial Tower

The Burton Memorial Tower is a clock tower located on Central Campus at the University of Michigan. Housing a grand carillon, the tower was built in 1936 as a memorial for University President Marion Leroy Burton. The grand carillon, one of only 23 in the world, is the world’s fourth heaviest, containing 55 bells and weighing a total of 43 tons.

The monument was constructed in 1935 and finished in 1936. It stands at 10 floors. It is located at the University of Michigan campus, and is used for housing education offices. The High-rise tower was designed in an interesting mixture of Art Deco and art moderne architectural styles, constructed with a reinforced concrete shell faced with limestone over a plan 42 feet square.

The Burton Memorial Tower was designed by Albert Kahn, who also designed Clements Library, Angell Hall, and Hill Auditorium for the University of Michigan. After University of Michigan Regent Sarah Goddard Power committed suicide by jumping to her death from the eighth floor of Burton Tower in 1987, the structure was sightly modified, such as the addition of stops to prevent windows from opening more than a few inches.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Hill Auditorium

8) Hill Auditorium

Hill Auditorium is a magnificent building located in the University of Michigan Central Campus at the crossing of North University and South Thayer Streets. The building was developed by well-known architectural firm Kahn and Wilby in 1913. It’s the performing arts stage for the university with a capacity of about 3,500, famous for its acoustical engineering created by Hugh Tallant. The most attractive exterior structure is the entrance, equipped with a mosaic flatdeck. The Renaissance whitish entrance contrasting with the dark walls has four columns and applied columns above the doors in the embayments. The main façade is decorated with the cornice and frieze of geometric ornaments along the perimeter of the entrance area. The Auditorium was reopened in 2004 after the extensive refurbishing.
Angell Hall & the Diag

9) Angell Hall & the Diag

Angell Hall is the western annex of a four-building complex that belongs to the University of Michigan Central Campus. It was built in the 1920s. It is one of the major buildings on campus. Angell Hall is a 150m long symmetrical structure with a prominent central part and two wings. This 4-storey building with a basement and an attic floor is known for the astronomical observatory housed on the upper floor (1927) equipped with high-end telescopes. This remarkable building is part of the University of Michigan Diag. The Diagonal Green is the walkway going from the northwest to southeast. This square contains many key universities buildings, including an impressive Special Collections Library. There is a symbolic brass letter "M" marking the center of the Diag. This open space hosts many university events.
Hutchins Hall & Quadrangle

10) Hutchins Hall & Quadrangle

Hutchins Hall is the grand Gothic castle-looking building located in Quadrangle that is the complex of buildings standing along the perimeter of the block within the University of Michigan campus on South University Street. Quadrangle was developed at the beginning of the 20th century. Four of these buildings house administration and education offices of the Law School with headquarters in Hutchins Hall. The Quad represents an existing courtyard with trees and flower beds. Hutchins Hall of 1933, designed by the firm of York and Sawyer, was named as a tribute to Harry Burns Hutchins, university dean and president.

Walking Tours in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Create Your Own Walk in Ann Arbor

Create Your Own Walk in Ann Arbor

Creating your own self-guided walk in Ann Arbor is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museums and Art Galleries

Museums and Art Galleries

Ann Arbor is a place where the arts are flourishing. It generously offers its stages, museums and galleries for citizens and tourists. Take this self-guided art and science stroll around museums and galleries located throughout the downtown area. Visiting the glorious University of Michigan Museum of Art, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, or amusing Ann Arbor Art Center Exhibition Gallery, and others...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Ann Arbor Introduction Walk

Ann Arbor Introduction Walk

Ann Arbor is a green "college town" that possesses a unique charm and atmosphere, and is pedestrian friendly as well. Abundance of historic and architectural landmarks in downtown Ann Arbor provide an unforgettable sightseeing experience. This self-guided tour lists beautiful and significant works of architecture built in different time periods, as well as the Nichols Arboretum...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles