Michigan Theater's Barton Pipe Organ - An American Legend
The very same Michigan Theater on Liberty Street here in Ann Arbor, where solar panels were recently installed, is known for its eclectic program of film offerings, iincluding the Summer Documentary Series and a wide variety of indie films, which enrich the local culural scene. The theater's Historic Auditorium is also known of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. The theater also hosts a series of children's stage productions entitled "Not Just For Kids," and a concert series entitled "The Legends of Rock & Roll."
What makes the Historic Auditorium special is its crown jewel - a 1927 Barton theatre pipe organ. The Historic Auditorium was built during the days of silent film, when the action on the screen was accompanied by live music. The organ is one of 7,000 organs installed in American movie houses between 1915 and 1930. The Barton Organ Company (originally called the Bartola Musical Instrument Company) of Oshkosh, Wisconsin built 250 of those organs; the one at the Michigan Theater is one of only 40 movie house organs still in its original location. In its heyday, Barton was the fifth largest builder of theater instruments in the nation, and had over 150 employees.
Originally, the organ was used to accompany silent films; at other times, it was used in combination with the theater's 11-piece orchestra. When "talkies" arrived at the Michigan in 1929, the orchestra was released. The Barton organ has been fully restored, and has retained all of its original electropneumatic operating systems. No portion of it has been digitized. The instrument is professionally maintained and played daily prior to most film screenings, making it one of the most-heard theater organs in the country. A staff of five organists (including three professionals) perform on the fully-restored Barton.
The Michigan Theater - like so many other historic landmarks in Ann Arbor - offers a wide array of musical, stage and screen events to satisfy nearly anyone's personal cultural tastes. Likewise, Martin Bouma - your Ann Arbor neighborhood expert - can meet virtually all of your Ann Arbor real estate needs. Whether you're buying or selling a home, the Bouma Group can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor. Interested in Washtenaw County, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood? Call the Bouma Group today! And don't forget to check out our Condo Hotline - we've got a handle on the Ann Arbor condominium market.
Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2010 by Martin Bouma
Have Your Cake and Eat it Too in Ann Arbor
Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake,” and in Ann Arbor the place to do just that is at Cake Nouveau. Owner Courtney Clark (familiar to many from the Food Network and TLC) is an award-winning French pastry chef. Earlier this year, she found herself needing more space for classes and a showcase storefront, so she has relocated to 1924 Packard Street.
Courtney is given to rather whimsical decorating tastes; Cake Nouveau features a pink awning, green and purple tile, and pink and purple walls accented by swirling white stripes. Half of the store is dedicated to retail sales; the other half is a cake decorating station.
The range of available flavors at Cake Nouveau is virtually unlimited. All cakes are made with alternating layers of cake and buttercream filling. Patrons can select both a cake flavor and a buttercream flavor; their buttercream can be made inany flavor to complement the cake. Cake Nouveau specializes in cupcakes, with four varieties offered weekly (two new flavors each Monday). Cupcakes are made fresh each morning; current flavors offered are chocolate truffle, vanilla beany, strawberry shortcake, and cookies ‘n cream.
During the month of October, Ann Arbor residents can participate in two classes through Cake Nouveau’s Cake U. On the 11th and 12th, from 4pm-8pm, learn cake structuring techniques with Topsy-Turvy Cake Structure. On the 25th and 26th, just in time for the fall holidays (from 5pm-8pm each day), learn to create a 3-D jack o’ lantern from cake.
Want to eat some of Ann Arbor’s best cake on a regular basis? Martin Bouma – your Ann Arbor neighborhood expert – can meet virtually all of your Ann Arbor real estate needs Whether you’re buying or selling a home, the Bouma Group can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor. Interested in Washtenaw County, Saline, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood? Call the Bouma Group today! And don’t forget to check out our Condo Hotline – we’ve got a handle on the Ann Arbor condominium market.
Posted Friday, September 24, 2010 by Martin Bouma
Sixth Annual Harvest of Arts Oktoberfest Coming Up in Saline
Saline, Michigan, located just southwest of Ann Arbor, was named by the French in the 18th century for its salt springs.
Now an affluent city of over 8,000 in Washtenaw county noted for its great schools, Saline has been frequently recognized by CNN Money
as one of the best places to live and retire. It is is also the site of two popular festivals, the Celtic Festival in July
and the Oktoberfest in late September.
On September 26, Saline will host the sixth annual Harvest of Arts Oktoberfest.
German activities, music, food and drink will all be available from 9am - 11pm, with children's activities from 10am - 4pm and a beer garden from 11am - 11pm.
The festivities will include a sale of delicious baked goods created by award-winning Culinary Arts students. Additionally, working in teams, Saline firefighters and Culinary Arts students will cook up 10 exciting varieties of piping hot chili - enjoy the opportunity to sample unique chili recipes served with a chunk of homemade cornbread. You'll enjoy a variety of German beers and other authentic German cuisine.
Kids are sure to enjoy the Bixby Puppetry Festival. The Puppetry Festival is the brainchild of Meredith Bixby, who for more than 40 years has created marionette shows for both local and national audiences. This will be a terrific opportunity for kids of all ages to see fantastic puppet shows performed by area professionals, as well as creating their very own handmade puppets. Don't forget the Baker's Nook Kinderplatz - a play area featuring Chamberlain's Live Petting Zoo and pony rides, an inflatable bouncer, an obstacle course, and make-n-take crafts.
New to this year's festival is a 5K/10K Volksmarch, a great opportunity for Oktoberfest-goers to work off all of the previously mentioned delectable treats. This is a leisurely, noncompetitive walk, with routes leading through downtown Saline and two historic districts. The walk is open to people of all ages and abilities, and pets on leashes are welcome to join in. Walks can begin any time between 9:00am and noon, starting at the Kinderplatz.
Saline is also the regular home (throughout the year) to the Ann Arbor Antiques Market, the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society, and a variety of other cultural and social programs. This delightful community offers a superior quality of life; visitors and residents alike love the small-town charm of Saline.
Among other attractions, Saline is home to Wellers', the former Henry Ford mill and factory, which is on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The city is also the site of the Rentschler Farm Museum, which features a fully restored windmill, as well as a farmhouse depicting 1930s farm life. Both buildings are a tribute to the economic history of the city. Currently, most working residents of Saline are employed in the automotive industry or by the University of Michigan.
Martin Bouma - your Ann Arbor neighborhood expert - can meet virtually all of your Saline and Ann Arbor real estate needs.
Whether you're buying or selling a home, the Bouma Group
can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor. Interested in Washtenaw County, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood? Call the Bouma Group today!
And don't forget to check out our Condo Hotline
- we've got a handle on the Ann Arbor condominium market.
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010 by Martin Bouma
Allen Creek – A Bit of Ann Arbor History Right in the City
Allen Creek is the site of the first settlement in Ann Arbor, and it still runs through the city's west side. The creek was named for Ann Arbor's co-founder, John Allen, in 1824. The main branch of Allen Creek runs northward roughly parallel to the Ann Arbor Railroad tracks, starting at Pioneer High and flowing into the Huron River just below Argo Dam. Near the creek lies Allen Creek Condominiums. Built in 1988, the cozy complex features two decks, walk-out lower levels, fireplaces, and garage parking.
In 1846, William Maynard laid out the first section of the Old West Side, from First to Fourth Streets. When Ann Arbor began developing in the 1850s, many businesses were located along Allen Creek. Four tanneries on the creek used its water to soak cowhides, and pelts of wild animals trapped in the surrounding forests. A foundry (located at the current site of the Y on Huron Street) used the creek for its sand casting. And two breweries used the creek water to cool their beer.
Also near the Allen Creek Condominiums is Eberwhite Woods, a 29-acre forest situated between Liberty, Dartmoor, Soule, and Arbordale streets. The woods is owned by the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and is open to the public. The woods are a unique environment, a remnant of a native oak-hickory forest which has never been clear-cut. A wide variety of wildflowers, including some state-threatened species such as goldenseal, can be found in the woods.
Residents of Allen Creek Condominiums are located near shops and resturants on Stadium Ave. The complex is also near downtown Ann Arbor which not only has a world of restaurants, shops, and galleries to explore, but is the scene of festivals and other events throughout the year.
If you want more exercise than walking to eat and shop, you can work out the Liberty Athletic Club on W. Liberty where you can enjoy indoor basketball courts, swimming,and tennis in addition to workout facilities and a day spa.
Allen Creek is offers convenient access to I-94, as well as the University of Michigan campus and the favorite Ann Arbor classic, The Big House football stadium.
If you've been looking for a Realtor who knows the Ann Arbor condominium market, look no further! Whether you are buying or selling your condo, the Bouma Group can help you with your real estate needs in Ann Arbor, as well as keep you up to date about Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor neighborhoods. Check out our Condo Hotline to get a handle on the Ann Arbor condo market.
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 by Martin Bouma
Ann Arbor is One of the Best Small Cities in America for College Students
The city of Ann Arbor is becoming a magnet for awards and recognition from various sources. The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) recently named Ann Arbor to its list of country's 75 Best College Towns and Cities for college students. Ann Arbor ranks #2 (of 20) among small cities (those with populations of 250,000 to one million residents) on the AIER's College Destination Index. That ranking is up from #3 last year.
The Institute looks past the most frequently used factors in choosing a college, including the schools themselves, costs, academics, and athletic programs. Their criteria analyze other less used but equally important variables. Rather than focusing on the schools themselves, the AIER looked at the types of opportunities - social and economic - which are available to students and graduates in the cities themselves. Factors considered included (among others):
- Student Concentration: number of college students per 1,000 residents
- Student Diversity: percentage of all students holding foreign passports
- Degree Attainment: percent of the 25-34 year old population with college degrees
- Cost of Living: based upon average rent for a two-bedroom apartment
- Arts and Leisure: number of cultural and entertainment venues per 100,000 residents
- City Accessibility: percentage of workers over age 16 who commute on foot or by public transportation or bicycle
- Earning Potential: income per capita
- Entrepreneurial Activity: net annual increase in total number of business establishments per 100,000 residents
According to Charles Murray, AIER's President, "The amenities that create great college communities also make these destinations great places to visit, live, retire or locate a business." This is clearly true, as the awards for Ann Arbor just keep rolling in. We've recently reported our city's selection as one of the country's Best Small Cities (CNN/Money magazine), Parenting magazine's Fourth Best City for Families, and one of Kiplinger.com's Top Ten Cities in the Country for Families.
If you're a recent graduate, or considering relocating to Ann Arbor, Martin Bouma -your Ann Arbor neighborhood expert - can help you find the perfect piece of Ann Arbor real estate. Whether you're buying or selling a home, the Bouma Group can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor. Thinking of settling down in Washtenaw County, Saline, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood? Call the Bouma Group today! And don't forget to check out our Condo Hotline (a great option for college students) - we know the Ann Arbor condominium market better than anyone!
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2010 by Martin Bouma
Ann Arbor: A Terrific Place to Raise Your Family
Starting a family is a big decision, as is choosing a place to call "home." Ann Arbor, according to a new Kiplinger.com report, is suggested as one of the Top Ten cities in the country for families. This won't come as a surprise to those already raising families in Washtenaw County; we already know the many benefits of living in Ann Arbor.
The report uses three criteria important for anyone (not just families) as a baseline: the state of the city's economy, the liveliness of the local culture, and the rate of job growth. Then, they factor in some important issues for families: an already-strong presence of families with kids, low crime rates (their figures were provided by the FBI), the quality of the public education system (using ratings from Great.Schools.org), and the availability of parks and recreational venues.
Consider these facts:
- If you like spending time outdoors, Ann Arbor is definitely the place to be. More than 2,000 acres of city parks means plenty of sledding, cross-country skiing, and "snow person" building in the winter, as well as picnicking and Frisbee-tossing during the more temperate months.
- Using a combination of their own ratings and data from the National Assessment for Educational Progress, GreatSchools.org selected Ann Arbor Public Schools with a score of eight (ten points is the highest rating) for school districts in mid-sized cities in the United States. This ranking group has noted that overall, the best school districts in the country (including Ann Arbor schools) have a passion for innovation, pushing teachers and students to excel beyond their comfort zone.
- According to the FBI, the Ann Arbor rate of violent crimes per 100,000 residents is 256; the national average is 455. Match this with a low rate of property-related crime (burglary, home/business theft, and motor vehicle theft), and Washtenaw County's overall safety weighs in attractively when you're planning to raise a family here.
Martin Bouma -your Ann Arbor neighborhood expert - can help you find the perfect piece of Ann Arbor real estate in which to raise your family. Whether you're buying or selling a home, the Bouma Group can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor. Thinking of settling down in Washtenaw County, Saline, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood? Call the Bouma Group today! And don't forget to check out our Condo Hotline - we know the Ann Arbor condominium market better than anyone!
Posted Tuesday, September 07, 2010 by Martin Bouma
Ann Arbor’s Swift Biosciences Receives $3 Million for Development of Genetic Analysis Products
Swift Biosciences, a small Ann Arbor start-up company, has been awarded $3 million in venture capital from Houston-based DFJ Mercury to pursue its work in molecular biology reagents.
DFJ Mercury is joined in the Swift funding by several Michigan-based individual investors, who also helped launch Swift Biosciences with seed funding in January 2010. Swift Biosciences is developing molecular biology reagents – substances which allow identification of specific genetic characteristics to help scientists and doctors conduct genetic tests to identify whether patients are susceptible to specific diseases.
As a firm which invests in information technology, advanced materials, and bioscience companies, DFJ Mercury partners with entrepreneurs to build competitive businesses around the world. Their focus is on the midcontinental US, particularly in the states of Texas, Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan.
Swift Biosciences was founded in January 2010 by David Olson, PhD, the former Chief Scientific Officer of Accuri Cytometers. In a statement, Olson said, “This funding will help us accelerate product development and customer testing. DFJ Mercury is an ideal partner for us as we grow from the idea stage into commercial launch. We have been fortunate to have the early support of both local and national investors.”
Dr. Olson further noted that, “We have also benefited from the entrepreneurial community in the area, including our local business accelerator, SPARK, who has helped us recruit an outstanding team from across the country. The abundance of biomedical activity locally makes Ann Arbor a great place to launch a life science start-up.”
Ann Arbor is taking the lead in Michigan and the Midwest with acquisition and implementation of new technologies and new jobs. Whether you are buying a new home, or selling your current residence, the Bouma Group can help you with your real estate needs in Ann Arbor, as well as keep you up to date about Washtenaw County and specific Ann Arbor neighborhoods. Check out our Condo Hotline to learn everything you want to know about the Ann Arbor condo market.
Posted Friday, September 03, 2010 by Martin Bouma