Thursday, March 31, 2011

Looking Down State Street

I meant to post this one earlier, as I took it earlier on my tour but this is a shot just looking down State Street in Ann Arbor.

This also gives me a chance to talk about my Albert Kahn tour. I really enjoyed this mini-project and I am looking forward to start looking for his buildings in Detroit. I didn't take pictures of all of his buildings on campus as the rest are fraternity houses and as I said on the couple that I did tonight, I'm not particularly comfortable with taking pictures of residences.

The Central Campus Flagpole

Dominating Central Campus is a 164 foot tall flag pole with a large flag (not sure of the size of the flag though). It was an item obtained by the University from the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. It was a steel tube surmounted by a ship's mast. The mast was rumored to be the mast from the USS Maine (but it is not...part of that is at Arlington the other is at Annapolis).

I'm not going to get into the details of the flag itself as most Americans know that. I do like the looks of our flag though.

I'm not sure why this wants to put this picture this way, but I kind of like it better this way as it conveys that sense of looking up at something and spinning around to get a better view of it. Originally, this was further in campus but was moved to its present location when the old library was demolished. Sometime in the 1960's, the mast was replaced with a plain steel tube, but it still looks pretty cool.

Miscellaneous Pictures of the Diag

This is probably my second favorite area of Campus. The first being the law school.

A shot looking down at the Rackham Building. I love the way the lines lead into it.

Kind of an off center shot leading towards the diag. If I were shifted to the left a little bit, it would have been a perfect line shot.
Looking at the Burton Memorial Tower and Rackham from near the flag pole.
Another shot of Rackham.

The Burton Memorial Tower....Again....and Again...

This is by far one of my favorite buildings on campus and I can resist taking pictures of it when I pass it. Unfortunately, the sky was kind of blah but I did like the grays and what not.

Detroit Observatory

Since this building was between Couzens Hall and the Simpson Building and I kind of liked the looks of it, I decided to take a couple pictures of it. It is called the Detroit Observatory in honor of the Detroit citizens that contributed money for its construction.

In his inagural address, University President Tappan appealed to the people of the state of Michigan to take an interest in their University. After the speech, Mr. Henry Walker, a promient citizen of Detroit, approached the President to ask how he could help. The President suggested a fundraiser.

Construction began on the building in 1853 and completed in the summer of 1854.

The dome is 40 feet in diameter and the the slit is 8 feet wide. The telescope is a 37 inch reflecting telescope.

In 2005, the building was turned over to the Bentley Library and its original instruments remain intact. It is open twice a month for tours and I'll have to find out when.

Kahn Auditorium

This is attached to the new University of Michigan Biomedical Science Research Building. I included it because I saw the name as Kahn Auditorium. I was thinking this was dedicated to Mr. Albert Kahn since so many of the buildings on campus were designed by him.

Turns out is it named in honor of D. Dan Kahn and his wife Betty Kahn. He was the founder of Production Tool Supply of Warren Michigan and he made the gift after the death of his wife.

His son was a student at the university.

I'm not sure if this Kahn is related to the architect though.

Simpson Memorial Institute for Medical Research

My last building of the University of Michigan Albert Kahn Tour is the Simpson Memorial Institute for Medical Research. It is a bit off the beaten path and pretty close to the U of M Hospital. It is actually a pretty nice building.

The building was constructed using money from Christine Simpson and was dedicated to her husband who died of pernicious anemia. Her husband was in the business of manufacturing malleable iron in Detroit until his death in 1923. As you can see here, it is a pretty nice looking building.

After her husband's death, she decided to donate $150,000 for the building and $250,000 as an endowment dedicated to the research of the disease that killed her husband. The offer was accepted by the regents.

Construction began in 1925 and was completed in 1926. You can see some of the nice details here.

And here...

I kind of like the faux columns.

I also like the intricate details on the building.

I just took this shot because it looks kind of secluded.

Couzens Hall

The next stop on my tour was Couzens Hall. It currently is under renovation, so I am the least happy with my pictures of this building.

The building is named after James Couzens who donated $600,000 for its construction. Construction was completed in 1925.

It is a four story residence hall in the shape of an H.

As I said, it is currently under renovation.

Helen Newberry Residence

The next stop of my tour was the Helen Newberry Residence which happens to be right next door to the Betsy Barbour Dormitory.

In 1913, the Newberry Family donated $75,000 for the construction of a dormitory in honor of their mother. Originally, the structure belonged to the Student Christian association but was later deeded to the University on the condition that any profits go to the association for its work with women students.

In 1924, the University purchased the building outright. Currently it houses 118 students.

Betsy Barbour Dormitory

As I said in my last post, I wanted to finish my tour of the University of Michigan Albert Kahn Buildings. I only had four more buildings to go on the list. Unfortunately, 3 of those 4 buildings are dormitories and I feel uncomfortable about taking pictures of those so they probably aren't my greatest shots.

My first building was the Betsy Barbour Dormitory. It is almost directly across the street from Angell Hall.

Construction on the building began in 1911 and was completed in 1920.

The Dormitory is named after Betsy Barbour who was the mother of Levi Barbour who was a regent for the University. He also donated $100,000 and some parcels of land to be used towards the construction of the building. He was appalled at the condition of the housing on the University at the time.

It was and still is an all female dorm.

A Squirrel

I then decided to head to campus and finish my tour of the Albert Kahn Campus buildings. Looking at the list, I only had four more buildings to take pictures of. As I was walking through campus, I saw this guy and he posed for me.

The Ann Arbor Railroad

I know that I have posted about the Ann Arbor Railroad here before. One of its railyards is near where I work and occasionally I will see the engines parked there. Tonight was one of those nights.

This is an Electromotive GP-38 Model Engine. This represents most of the current Ann Arbor Railroad's inventory.

The Second Engine is an Electromotive GP-39-2 and was owned by Union Pacific at one point.

The current iteration of the Ann Arbor Railroad was started in 1988. It is a short-line connector railroad that connects Ann Arbor and Toledo. It mostly carries automotive related cargo but there are other cargoes that it carries. It is a direct descendent of the Michigan Interstate Railroad and not so direct descendent of the original Ann Arbor Railroad.

The original Ann Arbor Railraod was chartered in 1895 as a successor to the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan Railway. In 1905, it was acquired by the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton which went bankrupt 3 years later. The Ann Arbor remained independent for many years afterwards. It went from Toledo to Frankfort Michigan. In 1963, it was acquired by the DT&I again which itself was owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Eventually, the Penna merged with the New York Central and was later absorbed into Conrail. The Ann Arbor itself went bankrupt in 1976 and was taken over by the State of Michigan. Eventually, it was privatized and became the current Ann Arbor (although a shell of its former glory).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Mystery Stem in a Car

Today as I was driving in my car, I discovered this new accessory. Curious, I thought I would look it up in my car's manual. Apparently, it is called a turn signal.

This of course made me more curious as this was a foreign concept to me. So I looked it up. Apparently, one would flip it up or down and it sends a signal telling the car to turn on certain lights. These lights evidently will communicate your intentions to other drivers. This is useful when you want to be in the same lane or you are slowing down to turn.

I guess occasionally I see these lights on other cars, but sometimes this is rare so I thought it was a celebratory thing. I guess not.

Doing a little more research, I decided to look up their history as they must be a new invention.

Interestingly enough, the concept of the turn signal has been around since 1907 when Percy Douglas-Hamilton applied for a Patent. This was approved in 1909. In 1914, a mechanical signaling arm was invented, this would put a sign on the bumper telling the driver's intentions.

In 1920, the first flashing signals were introduced by the Protex Safety Signal Company. In 1925, Edgar A. Walz secured the patent for the first modern turn signal but car companies were not interested and the patent expired.

In 1939, Buick became the first manufacturer to introduce a factory installed turn signal. Slowly, other manufacturers incorporated them and in 1968 they became required by U.S. Federal law. So it turns out they have been around for a while.

Anyways, I hope you appreciated this little history lesson and please use your signals in the future.

Thank You.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And a Thistle

There were some thistles nearby and I like the look of them, so.....

Some Deer

As I was heading home from work, I saw these deer in a field nearby. I had to take care of a couple things at home so I went back hoping they would still be there. Fortunately, they were.

They were about half a field away and it didn't take long for them to spot me and give me the usual deer pose for me.

Fortunately, they were a little confused, so I got a couple more shots.

This one stayed around for a brief second before he bolted to the woods.

Things in the Sky

Lately I've been bringing my camera to work because it's been pretty sunny and that gives me the option of stopping somewhere after work. I think that there is a hawk that lives near there because every so often I see him around the place. Someone came up to me and told me that the hawk was flying around out back so I grabbed my camera.

At first I didn't see the hawk but I did see this turkey buzzard, so I took a picture of him. They aren't the prettiest looking birds but I do like them in soaring mode.

As I was looking around the sky, I saw the hawk. He was quite a ways up in the sky.

He came a little closer to the building, so I was able to get a better shot.

As I was looking around the sky, I saw this plane. I think it is an Airbus A319 or 320 but I'm not sure.

I also work fairly close to the Ann Arbor Airport, so it's not terribly surprising when I see a plane. Again, I'm not sure what kind of plane this is. I want to say a Piper something.