Lots 34 to 41 , West Liberty Heights
2515 to 2575 Russell Street
The Steinmans sold Lots 34, 35, 36, and 37 to Edgar
Stevens and his wife on June 2, 1931 for $750 cash, and Lots 38-41 to
and his wife on May 23,1931 "on contract for $550.00 with $50.00 down
and $20.00 per mo or more," according to notes kept by Mr.
Steinman. Mr. Steinman's notes also indicate that on "Sept 6 1934
Stevens paid in full for abstracts was given same on Sept 9-1934"
The house at 2535 Russell Street
built (not sure exactly when), and Edgar and Gorton Stevens and their
wives are listed as living there in the 1943 City Directory. 2535
Russell Street 's current legal description is, "All of lot
37, also the west 7.5 ft of lots
34, 35 & 36 of West Liberty Heights Subdivision." This house
was the only one on Russell Street until 1998.
George Gorton Stevens sold Lots 34-41 to Ettore and
Josephine Mazzolini on January 1, 1955. The Mazzolinis lived at
2535 Russell Street until shortly after Mr Mazzolini passed away on September 16,1977. Josephine
Mazzolini sold the house at 2535 Russell Street and the other Russell
Street lots to the
Galilean Baptist Church Mission on December, 29, 1977. Mrs.
to Lurie Terrace, and a minister and his wife lived in the house.
Josephine Mazzolini passed away on August 10, 1998. John L. and
Josephine A. Darling purchased the house at 2535 Russell Street and all
of the other Russell Street lots from the Galilean Baptist Church on
November 25, 1983.
I spoke to Josephine Darling on February 7,
2007. She told me that they had three small children when they
bought the house, which she said was affordable because Maple Meadows
was across the street.
They liked the house. It had wood floors and natural woodwork,
and a breakfast nook in the back of the kitchen.
There was a sleeping room above the garage. There was a large
hedge of lilacs all along the front, almost to Maple Road. In
the back there were fruit trees and grapes and a concrete fish pond.
She said she did not have any problems arising from
Meadows. She has a pencil or pen and ink drawing of the house on
her wall now. The Darlings sold their home because the City of
Ann Arbor levied a special assessment for annexation and road
Their house was listed for sale in a June 30, 1988
MLS book (which I found at the Ann Arbor Reuse Center). The price
was $74,900, for the house and all of the Russell Street lots.
The listing included the following:
THERE WILL BE A ROAD ASSESSMENT UPON COMPLETION OF MAPLE RD. IMPROV. APPROX $14000 WITHIN NEXT 2 YEARS. REZONING TO R4 WOULD BE IDEAL FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS. CITY INDICATES THIS WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE. CURRENT HOUSE COULD BE CLUBHOUSE, DAYCARE OR RENTAL OFFICE. CITY OF ANN ARBOR CALLS FOR MULTIPLE DWELLINGS ON THIS SITE.
The Darlings sold 2535 Russell along with all of the
other Russell Street lots to Eric J. and Ann M. Stalhandske
for $75,000 on July 29, 1988. The Stalhandskes sold lots 34 and
Habitat for Humanity for $16,800 on December 3, 1993 and sold the house
at 2535 Russell Street and the rest of the Russell Street lots to
Habitat for Humanity for $105,000 on February 16, 1994.
Six new homes were built by Habitat for Humanity in
1998. Originally, lots 34, 35, and 36 fronted on S. Maple Road;
however, 2515 and 2525 Russell Street (the two houses on these lots)
Tabitha Harris bought 2535 Russell Street on
August 28, 1998. I met Tabitha after I
the Ann Arbor News about a
May 17, 2007, meeting she attended. The purpose of the meeting
was to discuss problems such as chronic drug dealing, gambling,
fighting, and noise that were occurring at the City's public housing
complex, Maple Meadows (800 South Maple, across the street from
Tabitha's home on Russell Street). She and a friend had been
working very hard to get the Housing Commission and the Police
Department to solve these problems, with limited success.
I live only four houses north of Maple Meadows, and I
was totally unaware of these problems. I knew that both Maple
Meadows and the Pine Lake Cooperative have a reputation for such
problems, but my personal experience and reading of crime reports in
the Ann Arbor News led me to
believe that these reputations arose from "urban myths." Tabitha
assured me that the problems are there and that they impacted her life
and the lives of her children.
Tabitha passed the Bar Exam and was sworn in
on February 1, 2008. She told me that prior to buying her home,
she and her children lived in a transitional home which was basically a
shelter. She was working for the County and like many single
parents, "barely making it." A resident in the transitional home
showed her an article about Habitat for Humanity. She called and
they sent her an application. She started to not fill it out
because she was so discouraged about her situation, but she did fill it
out, sent them a
letter about her life and was accepted.
Unfortunately, Tabitha was not as happy as I am about
living in her older home, and of course there are the problems with
what happens across the street from her at Maple Meadows.
Tabitha moved out of 2535 Russell in June 2008.
I'll miss her. I hope whoever buys the house is as good a
neighbor as she.
My hope is that problems at Maple Meadows can be
that people who live close to it will not have to raise
their children in an atmosphere of drugs and violence.
This page was last updated on December 8, 2008.
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