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Little Germany: 1905

Little Germany: 1905

Ann Arbor, Michigan, circa 1905. "Main Street, looking north." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Arbeiter Verein

The Arbeiter Verein above Anton Teufel's shop was a mutual aid society of workers of German descent.

The reference to the "Wonderland Catastrophe" is to the 1898 collapse of a theater under construction in Detroit. The collapse killed 15 construction workers. Note the discrepancy in the date of the collapse as given in the two sources.

The Bank

The saloon at the far left was known as "The Bank," and it was run from 1898 - 1904 by Emil Golz (1860 - 1920). Golz had previously operated other bars in Ann Arbor, and he was also a stone cutter for a monument company. Circa 1910 he opened The Home Monument Company which also sold iron fencing.

"The Bank" was operated by Frank J. Campion (1868 - 1918) and Robert R. Nowak (1881 - 1922) after Golz. They seem to have only run the establishment for a year together. They both were primarily bartenders at other local pubs the rest of their lives. The location at 314 Main Street remained a saloon until 1918. By 1920 it had become a jewelry store.

Above Herr Teufel's sign

it says "Arbeiter Verein", which means "Worker's Club".

Horses to Hipsters

Most of the structures are indeed still standing. It's nice to see that the area is just as lively and filled with enterprise as when those structures were built back in the 19th Century. This being just south of Liberty Street, it's the very heart of Ann Arbor hipster heaven, with frilly boutiques, locally-grown/brewed this-and-that-restaurants and probably the highest concentration of Chevy Volts and Teslas in the State of Michigan. And you still "can't swing a dead cat without hitting a German" around there.

Interesting coincidence

The advertising sign for a funeral director is directly in front of the shop owned by Anton Teufel, whose last name translates as "devil."

From 57 To 307

The note at the bottom of my original comment encouraged me to check my information and find a few additional facts. I read the number in the Teufel sign as 57.

Ann Arbor City directory of 1892 and Sanborn Insurance Map confirm the 1892 location of Anton Teufel at 45 South Main Street.

The Anton Teufel Building, 57 South Main Street, was constructed in 1895 (that lot was vacant on the 1892 Sanborn Map). Ann Arbor renumbered South Main Street in May of 1897 and 57 South Main became 307.

That would seem to confirm a pre-1898 photograph.

[And yet two doors down it's 303 South Main. -tterrace]

[Teufel is recycling his old sign. - Dave]

Here comes Teufel

Anton Teufel ("arbeiter") emigrated to Michigan in 1852 from (where else?) Germany. As the fetlocks peeking out underneath the awning at his storefront suggest, he catered to the market that Henry Ford would ultimately displace. As the Ann Arbor Argus reported in 1893, "besides manufacturing goods to order, he carries a full line of harnesses, bridles, whips, robes, blankets, and kindred goods."

Little Germany Before The 20th Century

Anton Teufel was born in 1831 in Wittenberg, Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1852.

His Ann Arbor business advertised:

“Anton Teufel manufacturer and dealer in harness and saddlery, headquarters for trunks, valises, dress suit cases, telescopes. Trunks and valises repaired on short notice.”

He also sold horse blankets (like the one in the window) at his 57 South Main Street store and shop.

His enterprise was established in 1868 and by 1900 was described as the leading harness, saddlery, and related goods business in the area and Mr. Teufel was a highly respected citizen, for example contributing to the construction of the University of Michigan’s Music School Building.

Beginning in 1898, city directories and his advertisements listed his store and shop at 307 South Main Street and in 1909 he sold his stock, retired from the business, and celebrated his 50 year wedding anniversary.

His shop at 307 South Main Street is still standing and in 2006 was restored as an historic building.

This would date the photograph to pre-1898.

[Look at the signs. His store in this photo is at 307 South Main. - Dave]

How Much Is That Horsey in ...

Ah, a horse in the window -- a fitting display for the time period. Great photos as always! Thanks, Shorpy.

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