Michigan History

Ann Arbor: Home to Michigan’s New University



In 1837, Ann Arbor was selected as the cite for the first university in the state of Michigan.   The University of Michigan became a center for intellectuals and scholars at the time, and continues to be one of the most prestigious universities in the country. The university helped Ann Arbor become a city in 1851, and continues to be influential city politics and society. The University of Michigan is greatly intertwined in the history of Ann Arbor, and will forever be a part of the city’s landscape.


220px-Henry_P._Tappan_001In 1852, Henry Tappan was chosen as the President of the University of Michigan. Tappan was responsible for many of the advances of the university, such as hiring highly intelligent faculty, increasing funding for innovative scientific technology and books, and increasing the attendance during the early years of critical development. The university’s increase in reputation and attendance contributed to the city’s population boom in the early 1900’s.


The University of Michigan is also known for it’s international inclusion. President Angell was responsible an influx of Chinese students after his visit to China as an envoy in the 1880’s. President Angell was responsible for the creation of Michigan’s reputation as an international university.

Angell Hall

Angell Hall

During World War II, the University of Michigan funded the building of bigger and better buildings on campus, such as the famous Angell hall, the first portion of the law quadrangle, and a football stadium (known as “The Big House.”). While attendance was down during the war, the city of Ann Arbor focused on internal improvements to the university rather than meeting the needs of migrant workers. The Ann Arbor government sought to create the reputation of being a city that is an intellectual hub for scholars, in order to create a highly intelligent population. These policies reflect the huge emphasis that Ann Arbor places on education and reputation as a college town.

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