East Liberty Historic District

East Liberty Historic Block

This cluster of houses, now a center of commercial activity, has a special identity and serves a special purpose in the downtown area. Many Ann Arborites view this block as an attractive way-stop between State and Main Streets. They prize its "human scale," its homey quality (most buildings have residents as well as shops), the diversity of rooflines, and trees and small grass plots.
This block is a valuable link between the larger commercial historic districts. It draws pedestrians and affords to everyone (pedestrian and driver) a visual historic connection between the districts. It also dramatizes the separation of the old commercial districts. It will interpret for future generations and visitors a fact well known to older Ann Arbor citizens but now fading: that Ann Arbor once had a clear division between "town and gown" - two almost self-contained communities on either side of Division Street, each with its own shopping area, neighborhoods, and aspirations. Perhaps twenty years from now, when these districts have grown together, these houses will be an even more eloquent reminder of the past.
Two of the houses in this district are very old: the Enoch James House, at 321 E. Liberty (built in 1847), and the Emmanuel Lueck House, built ca. 1845. Around the corner on Fifth Avenue is the Jacob Shuh House built in 1866. The other houses date from either the late-nineteenth or early-twentieth centuries. They offer an interesting variety of gables and rooflines, but their chief value is that they stand where they were built, furnishing a sense of age and historic identity in the midst of newer and larger buildings springing up around them.

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311-325 E. Liberty 301-311 S. Fifth Ave.