For many people, Ann Arbor is synonymous with the University of Michigan, but few realize that the university was actually founded in Detroit before Michigan had even become a state. Back then it was called the University of Michigania. The school didn’t officially move to Ann Arbor until 20 years later in 1837.
Many Wolverines believe that Bo Schembechler is the winningest coach in Michigan history. While he is a legend, current softball Coach Carol Hutchins holds this illustrious title. She recently led the Michigan Softball team to Women’s College World Series where they placed second. She is even the winningest active coach in all of NCAA D-1 softball. Check out Hutch and the girls this season at Alumni Field.
Having a class in the Dennison Building (now Weiser Hall) is unavoidable. The eternally cold building with the strange layout (one tall narrow building connected to a short squat building by the second floor) and covered in what appear to be 90’s textbook cover decals has its very own legend attached to it. The story goes that the building (the tall side) is sinking every year due to the fact that it was designed and built by an engineer from MSU. Both parts are completely false. Let’s do a little math. The building was built in 1963, so one inch a year means that the building has sunk around 52 to 53 inches or around 4.5 feet so far. I’m sorry guys, the earth isn’t reclaiming it, but it IS currently being renovated.
Also, the building was designed by architect Albert Kahn, who also designed the Burton Memorial Tower and Hill Auditorium on campus as well as the Ford River Rouge Complex in Dearborn.
If you’ve ever visited the giant rotating cube on the north side of the Union, chances are that you’ve noticed this perhaps odd-looking building. What you may not have noticed is the strange window arrangement or how the outer walls are angled so that the tops extends out further and get slimmer as it goes down. This is the Fleming Administration Building, and the rumor is that it was designed to be riot proof. The window placement makes it so you can’t tell which windows go to what office and the leaning walls prevent ladders from being placed against them. Supposedly, there is also emergency access to the steam tunnels, which are connected to the President’s house as well. All of this preparation was the result of being built during the tumultuous political era of the 1960’s. You may have to ask a high up administrator to debunk this one!
The Michigan Union is a fixture on campus as a place for meetings, events, food, and even relaxation. Many are familiar with the rumor that the Union used to be for men only, and it is 100% true. Women could only enter through the north entrance (the one near U-go’s,) and they had to be accompanied by a male escort. The Michigan League was built in response as a Women’s Union. Today everyone is welcome in both buildings.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Michigan Union used to have a bowling alley, a swimming pool, and a barbershop?
Arguably the most famous Michigan lore is tied to the large brass “M” located in the center of the Diag. The legend is that if you step on it before you take your first blue book exam, you will fail it. (Blue books are essentially empty notebooks used for lengthy handwritten exams.) Luckily, there is also a way to reverse the curse or at least there used to be at one time. The reversal involves streaking from the “M” to the pumas in front of the Natural History Museum and back between the first and last chimes of the Burton Memorial clock tower. Unfortunately for those unlucky people, the tower stops chiming at 9 pm these days.
While this myth may or may not be true, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t believe in the curse, it’s best to avoid stepping on it out of respect.
The West Hall arch should look familiar to most of us. Whether you’re headed out of the diag to get your caffeine fix or into it on your way to the UGLi, you’ve most likely passed through it. Legend has it that if you kiss someone under this arch at exactly midnight, you will go on to marry that person. Call me a cynic if you like, but, while the story is cute, I wouldn’t put any money down on a ring just yet.
Keeping You Informed,