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Posted on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Historic district awards honor Ann Arborites committed to preserving city's past

By Ryan J. Stanton

Upon acceptance of a lifetime achievement award for historic preservation, Ann Arbor resident Rosemarion Blake used the podium Monday night to lament the destruction of seven century-old homes to make way for City Place apartments on Fifth Avenue.

"Something must be done to save the very fine homes we still have," she said. "Once you lose them, they're just really gone, and it's a shame to lose beautiful old houses."

The city of Ann Arbor's planning department handed out a slew of awards Monday night, honoring local efforts to preserve unique pieces of the city's history.


Ann Arbor resident Rosemarion Blake, left, is congratulated after being announced as the 2012 winner of the lifetime achievement award for local historic preservation.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Awards were given for preservation, rehabilitation, lifetime achievement, special merit and two centennial awards — all in honor of National Preservation Month.

Blake has worked to promote local history by serving on the city's Historic District Commission, Washtenaw County Historical Society, Ann Arbor Historical Foundation, Kempf House Board, Cobblestone Farm Association, and many historic study committees, including one that resulted in publication of a book called "Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor."

She grew up in Ann Arbor and in 1949 married the late Richard Blake, a former Ann Arbor Transportation Authority marketing service coordinator and namesake of the Blake Transit Center in downtown Ann Arbor. He passed away in 1989.

Rosemarion Blake worked for many years as an office supervisor at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. Today she remains an active member of her church, Bethel A.M.E., where she has worked to preserve her congregation's rich history.

The following is a list of the other 2012 Historic District Commission Awards announced during the Ann Arbor City Council's meeting Monday night.

Members of the award committee included Patricia Austin, Ina Hanel-Gerdenich, Patrick McCauley, Louisa Pieper, Ellen Ramsburgh, Mark Rueter, Fran Wright, Grace Shackman, Tom Stulberg and Susan Wineburg.


These are awarded to owners who have rehabilitated their properties in accordance with good preservation practice as established by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

  • 1. 1407 Broadway Street - Clifford Williams
  • 2. 508 Fourth Street - Martin Soave
  • 3. Burton Memorial Tower - The Regents of the University of Michigan
  • 4. 519 Third Street - Swati Dutta
  • 5. 300 West Huron Street - The Relax Station, Eileen Bristol


These are presented to owners who have preserved their property for over 10 years of continuous ownership. They also demonstrate good preservation techniques in their maintenance of their homes and/or businesses.

  • 6. 1555 Washtenaw Avenue - Holde and Robert Borcherts
  • 7. 549 South First Street - Kathy Clark and Mike Anglin
  • 8. 1223 Pontiac Trail - Kenneth and Elizabeth Baird
  • 9. 1334 Arlington Boulevard - Kenneth and Elizabeth Nesbit
  • 10. 2250 Belmont Road - James and Jane Kister
  • 11. 1075 Chestnut Road - Peter Hinman
  • 12. 1336 Glendaloch Drive - Glenn Watkins
  • 13. 356 Hilldale Drive - Myron and Barbara Levine
  • 14. 2601 Heather Way - Carol Amster
  • 15. 302 East Liberty Street - Herb David


Special Merit Awards were presented to Nancy Deromedi and Tracy Aris for the establishment of the A2Modern group and website.


  • 1. 100th Anniversary of the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School - Dean Janet A. Weiss
  • 2. 100th Anniversary of the Zal Gaz Grotto Club - Monarch Jim Richardson

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

Instead of seeking the truth, more than a few commenters continually repeat bad info and myths regarding historic districts. Just another day at annarbordotcom.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

"annarboral" makes an astute observation. Yes, this "historic district" identity is schizoid at best..... totally arbitrary.... no "integrity" whatsoever. "Brad" is correct: there's a lot of confusion over what is "old" and what is "historic". Hey, I suggest those haughty readers, who suggested that some of us don't deserve to live in a certain part of Ann Arbor, visit the sustainable living celebration in another part of Ann Arbor this Saturday. We ARE living in the 21st century..... wake up, pretentious ones.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

Somtimes old, inefficient things need to be replaced with new, efficient things. Time marches on.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

What is more sustainable than protecting the houses that would otherwise be destroyed by NOT having a Historic District?


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

I fail to read where anyone suggested that some people don't deserve to live in a certain part of A2. What I read is that if someone doesn't want to live in a historic district, they don't have to as there are other choices.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

I wonder how much it costs the city to host these awards and then support the historical commission? I drive down East Anne St. from Division to the U-M Hospital taking my wife to work. There is a historical district sign along the way. All I see is old marginally maintained student housing with signs advertising the management company. I can't imagine how that can be considered historical. It might be all right to stuff in as many students as possible but families or professionals wouldn't want to live there. There may be other worthwhile historical districts but if this is a good example then to me it's a waste of money & time.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

Like always, any awards and presentations in council chambers regularly take place as part of a council meeting. It's sad that some people don't know how council works, when or where it meets and instead of finding out the facts they prefer to rely on rumor, innuendo and hearsay and other annarbordotcom commenters, which is no different than rumor, innuendo and hearsay.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

What is this? Fascism?


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

No, it's people who use the word fascism when they don't really know what it means.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

"acedeucetownie" precisely understands the racket. Those creaking plinthes on the hysterical committee who derive malicious satisfaction allowing some (think money and power) to architecturally change their buildings while putting the kabbash on the plans of others (think young families, of little money and no insider political power) to make their homes more ecological and efficient are intellectual antiques. Their judgments on what constitutes historical "integrity" LACK integrity. It's really unfortunate when working people labor to make their older homes beautiful and comfortable... and affordable, but are denied simple improvements by a bunch of pompous hysterians. New windows, replacing leaking ones from the 1800's, with NO external difference of appearance SHOULD be acceptable. But, no, the hysterical committee wants these struggling families to invest life savings in many thousands of dollars per window to retain the original glass, even if it's cracked! I have NO respect for this committee or for awards that go to rich folks with connections. For shame.

Stan Hyne

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

Well said. The houses should look the same but they should allow energy saving and comfort enhancing changes.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

Alas, one more commenter who has no clue about what historic districts are, who makes the rules and what they are and how the benefit the residents who live in them.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 4 p.m.

Solution....DON'T LIVE IN A HISTORIC DISTRICT! OR, educate yourself BEFORE you buy a house in a historic district.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

There continues to be a lot of confusion about the difference between "old" and "historic".


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

And most of the confusion tends to be on the part of the "anti" commenters. Most of whom have shown that they know nothing about the facts of any historic district, the State of MI rules regarding districts (there are no separate Ann Arbor "rules") and the benefits of living in one, like you aren't going to end up living next to an junk yard.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Awards for suckers falling into the traps of the historic district, who claim their goal is to preserve Ann Arbor's historic sites...when they really are just a group of people on a crazy power trip. Let's nominate some people who are ingenious enough to slip through the cracks of the hysterical aka historic comitees stupid policies and maintain their homes by the owners standards.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 4 p.m.

You've proven to everyone that you have no clue about what historic districts are, who makes the rules or how these districts improve the quality of life for the residents.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

way to crap all over a positive event...nice work

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

How did Ann Arbor lose its original African American Neighborhood along Wall Street and Maiden Lane? How is it that the University of Michigan was able to buy the Baptist Church on Wall Street and replace it with the Kellogg's Eye Center instead? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that a few building were saved from the brink, but an entire neighborhood has been wiped out and no markers have been placed anywhere honoring the African American community that first settled the banks of the Huron River.