Lots 8 and 9, West Liberty Heights
2553 and 2561 West Liberty Street
Benjamin J. Steinman and his wife
Eleanor C. Steinman lived at 2553 W. Liberty Street. Mr. Steinman
came to Ann Arbor at age 20, in 1909. By 1912 he
was a "McNess
Man," a salesman for McNess Products.
He did well enough to be able to "save enough from his earnings to pay
for a 15 acre Poultry and Garden Farm 1/2
mile out of the City of Ann Arbor with all new buildings on it."
(Excerpt from July, 10, 1919, issue
of the Sanitary Salesman).
Mr. Steinman purchased his 15 acres
on November 16, 1914. Had he
built the house at
2553 W. Liberty by 1919? He also sold "Wood to Burn" (see images
in the Gallery, link above) and grape wine. On the inside cover
of a notebook in which Mr. Steinman recorded his business expenses, are
Ten Secrets of Success and a recipe for Good Egg mash (for the
|Good Egg mash
40 part yellow corn meal
30 part bran
10 " middlings
10 " beef scraps
5 " alfalfa meal
3 " lime stone
1 " salt
The Steinman's subdivided and
farm in 1925 and recorded the West Liberty Heights Subdivision on
August 1, 1925. By the end of 1931 Lots 1, 2 3, 5, 10 and 31-41
been sold. Mr. Steinman built the houses on Lots 5 (770 S. Maple
Road) and Lot 11 (2571 West Liberty) in addition to his own.
Houses in the subdivision at that time shared a well, and the pump
house is still on Lot 6 (2527 W. Liberty). The barn that was on
Lot 7 (2541 W. Liberty) is gone but some of the foundation
remains. In total, Ben Steinman lived in Ann Arbor for
54 years before his death on December
After Mr. Steinman's death, his son, Glen, and
his wife Ruth, lived at 2553 W. Liberty. Glen Steinman was an
electronic technician for many years. At one time he repaired
two-way radios at Ideal
Radio. He wanted to open a shop at his home, but neighbors
objected. An affidavit of sale, land contract, between Glen
Steinman and Freddie Barrett was filed on April 17, 1974, for
Lots 6 to 9 and 12 to 16. The
Barretts ran a ceramics business at 2553 W. Liberty. They
then sold 2553 W. Liberty and the surrounding lots to Robert and Donna
Phillips on May 16, 1994. Mr. Phillips ran a business at
that address. Five years later, on September 17, 1999, Mr.
Phillips sold Lots 8 and 9 to
Teresa (Hirth) and Robert Caldwell.
The Phillips retain ownership of lots 6 and 7 but sold the other contiguous lots (12-16) to Habitat for Humanity for $15,000 each on June 14, 1999. Whereas most of the lots in the subdivision are zoned R1C, these two lots are zoned R4B. The following excerpt from the Knecht Annexation and Zoning Staff Report, prepared for the March 19, 1996, Planning Commission Meeting, explains:
. . . Lots 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16, and containing a total of 2.2 acres was annexed to the City in 1970 and was zoned R4B in anticipation of redevelopment of the site for senior high-rise housing. The project never materialized due to funding problems. Single-family homes exist on approximately half of the sites in this R4B district, while the rest remain vacant.
The vacant lots are 6, 7 and 9.
Beginning with Mr. Steinman this location has
supported home businesses. The current one is Bodywise Therapeutic Massage.
Take my word for it, the massages are wonderful.
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