The Surrounding Area


Click here to return to the Subdivision Map
Return to the first page.

I asked a neighbor further south on S. Maple if she could tell me what the general neighborhood was like before I came. She and her husband contributed the following:

David Singer says:

I moved to Ann Arbor in 1958, and in 1960 decided with my first wife to shift from renting to buying.  My wife and I looked around and found this tiny farmhouse in 2.25 acres of cornfield.  It was very inexpensive, needed a lot of work, could be bought on a land contract, and was less that 3 miles from the campus, although outside the city limits.  The house, while small, seemed to be a very solid piece of old-fashioned construction.  Shortly after moving in, we began serious renovations. 

By the mid-60s we had added a raised and screened back deck.  With two growing  children and the cost of housing in AA (even then!), we decided to expand rather than to move, and began adding and changing.  Much of the early work, such as adding a sunroom to the south exposure, increasing closet space and so forth, was done by myself and my students, although I did hire a contractor to build a large room connecting the previously free-standing garage to the house. 

In the early 60s, we had bought and planted several hundred evergreen seedings, of which scores have survived to become large adults.  We reoriented the house, turning the original living room into a bedroom, adding two doors to the outdoors, upgrading windows,  and so on. 

Throughout this time, Maple Road was an "improved" road, graveled and unlined except by two rows of massive maples.  In the 1980s, the City claimed all its setbacks, chopped down all the trees, and widened and paved the road.

Dr. Singer passed away on December 28, 2009. Here is an article that appeard on on January 8, 2010.

University of Michigan Professor Emeritus J. David Singer's goal was to quantify war in order to stop it 

Posted: 4:09 p.m. January 8, 2010

University of Michigan Professor Emeritus J. David Singer aimed to quantify the causes of war scientifically in the hopes of eliminating war altogether.

“As kids growing up, that was all we talked about - how awful war was,” daughter Annie Singer said. “And how that was why he was devoting his work to getting rid of it.”

Singer, 84, a globally recognized scholar of international politics, died Dec. 28 in Ann Arbor. He was involved in an auto accident on Sept. 22 and had been hospitalized since.

At the time of his death, Singer was a professor emeritus at U-M, where he’d been on the faculty from 1958 until retiring in 2002.

“He was involved in many peace efforts personally,” Annie Singer said, “but his academic success was his applied methodology.”

Singer is best known as founder of the Correlates of War (COW) Project, dedicated to the systematic accumulation of scientific knowledge about interstate and civil military conflict. It had its genesis in a 1963 grant from the Carnegie Corporation to U-M’s Center for Research on Conflict Resolution, a portion of which went to Singer and for the study of war.

Singer and his associate, historian Melvin Small, generated the project’s first database, which described the frequency, participants, duration and battle deaths of all wars since 1816. Subsequent data sets included diplomatic ties, geographic proximity, territorial changes, intergovernmental organizations, civil wars and the military, economic and demographic dimensions of power.

Singer’s goal was to produce generalizations about the conditions associated with the onset and seriousness of war coded by specific variables. An influential book came out of the COW Project in 1972, The Wages of War, which established a standard definition of war that has guided the research of hundreds of scholars.

“That project wrote the book on how to do more rigorous research on conflicts. The project still exists to this day, and everyone is looking at it now,” Annie Singer said.

Singer’s larger and more visionary goal, however, was to generate explanatory knowledge about the causes of war that could, in practice, be applied to the purpose of eliminating it. Over the years, Singer repeatedly expressed his hope that scientifically derived knowledge on war would be used by government leaders to produce better policy and minimize human suffering.

The data his research produced is still used today by the U.S. Department of Defense and other military organizations, his daughter said.

Daniel Geller, professor and chair of the political science at Wayne State University, said Singer's passing is a loss to the academic world and the greater community. Geller co-authored a book with Singer in 1998 titled "Nations at War."

"He not only provided a basic understanding of international conflict," Geller said. "He also created a means of sophisticated quantitative analysis that has been used by government analysts in the design of foreign policy for the last several decades."

 Born in Brooklyn on Dec. 7, 1925, his 16th birthday saw the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Singer enlisted in the U.S. Navy two years later. He served as a deck officer on the USS Missouri at the end of World War II and on the USS Newport News during the Korean War.

He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1946, and his PhD from New York University in 1956. Singer also served as consultant to the U.S. Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, and most recently, to the U.S. Strategic Command 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.

During his years at U-M, he received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the World Society Foundation, and the US Institute for Peace.

“His students for almost 50 years just adored him,” Annie Singer said. “He was one of the finest advisors and mentors ever.”

Singer is survived by his wife, Diane Macaulay of Ann Arbor, his daughters Annie Singer of Washington, D.C. and Katie Singer of Montclair, N.J., and his two grandchildren, Kayla and Jake Ephros of Montclair, N.J.

A public memorial service is being planned for the spring (2010) in Ann Arbor.

Diane Macaulay says:

In the 1990s, I began stripping 50 years of paint off the original woodwork and wallpaper off the walls, replacing the remaining original windows, and turning the "yard" from impenetrable woods of buckthorn and honey suckle back into the light woods and prairies of native plants.  This process continues.  We removed the original oil tank and had the site treated and inspected, and switched to gas heating.  In the first decade of this century (yikes, this sounds like HISTORY), we concluded our final expansion, removing half the roof and turning the unfinished attic into sitting room, bedroom, and a study. 

We are here to stay.

In 2008 I met Victoria Moessner, another neighbor who lives on S. Maple Rd.  Her family owned the land along the west side of S. Maple (aka Townline Rd.) from about 1100 S. Maple Rd. to a point north of Pauline Blvd.  Victoria grew up here and has returned after living in Fairbanks, Alaska, for a number of years, where she was a Professor of German at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Click here to see early photographs she has donated. 

From what I can tell, our neighborhood was "in the country" in the 1960's.  Maple Meadows was built  in 1971, but the area was still sparsely developed at that time.  In spite of recent developments, I still look out at woods on three sides of my house at 2509 W. Liberty.

Three things have happened since I moved here that are worth adding.  Shortly after I moved in (June 2000), the West Liberty Road Construction project began and seemed to last a long, long time.  The road in front of my house was dug up and completely rebuilt.  The sidewalk used to end at the west end of my property; it was extended westward to the I-94 bridge.  The road was widened, sewer and water connections were added, and bicycle lanes and curbs installed.  

The second thing was the proposed rezoning of the northern portion of 775 S. Maple (the Discovery Center site).  Click here to view the timeline of this event. 

And the third is the ongoing construction of the West Towne Condominium development.  There is a 2-acre wetland on this site, with peepers in the spring, mallard ducks, and geese.  Click here to view the continuing timeline for this project.   And click here to view the West Towne Gallery of photos.

In a letter stamped February 18, 1977, to the Scio Township Tax Review Board, Robert McConnell (who used to live at 2536 W. Liberty (the West Towne site) wrote,  "I own one and one half acres at 2536 W. Liberty Rd., A2 48103.  When I first bought this property in 1949 there was a 'swamp hole,'  to the back or north of my property, which would rise or fall depending on the season of the year, and it never gave me any real problem.  Now as this area, to the north of me and the 'swamp hole' has been developed and fill dumped in around the water and along Maple Rd., there is a flooding, of a portion of my property, which stays all year."  To see aerial views from 1947 on the left and 2005 on the right and compare the wetland area click here. The property is outlined in red.  The pond does seem to get larger every year.  When I first moved here in 2000, the pond was pretty dry in August; since 2008 it has had water in it all year.

Of course, you will also notice the evolution from sparsely developed farmland pre I-94 to the 2005 picture of suburbia.

Note that the zoning suggested in the 1995 West Area Plan for neither the 775 S. Maple site nor the West Towne Condominium site was followed.  Recall that the West Area Plan recommended zoning office, research, or light industrial for the West Towne site, which is now zoned R4B, multifamily residential, and that the recommendation for the 775 S. Maple site was office, and the northern half of the parcel is still zoned C-1, commercial.  Since the West Area Plan is now 17 (in 2012) years old, perhaps a revision is in order.

Return to the top of the page. 

Last updated February 4, 2012.