Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tubal Cain Owen's Property Projected onto Modern Map of EMU; Did Abba Live Near Your Classroom?

Tubal Cain Owen's landholdings covered quite a swath on the north side of Ypsilanti. On this land he grew oats and other crops and raised livestock that included horses, a registered Holstein bull, "Geneva Boy," and son Eber's bunnies and prize-winning poultry. Here are Tubal's holdings highlighted on the 1895 plat map. The black star marks the approximate location of the well and Owen home. (click on image to enlarge).

Fun fact: You can see on this old map that Forest Ave used to run right through campus. I've also seen a photo that suggests that there was a streetcar line running down Forest over campus, too. Someone decided that cars or streetcars speeding over campus was a tad unsafe. That stretch of Forest was converted to the walkway stretching between McKenny Hall and College Place.

Here are Tubal's landholdings projected onto a modern map of EMU.

Note that the home and well (yellow dot) lay close to the present-day Roosevelt School building on campus at the end of College Place. As soon as they finish fixing up College Place and you can stroll down it once are likely retracing Abba's vanished footprints as she came back home from the post office or downtown grocery.

Did College Place begin as Tubal Cain Owen's driveway?

Dusty D reads a lot of microfilm up on the second floor of Halle Library. The microfilm area is on the southwest corner of the building. Sometimes I look out of the window, at the boiler house and beyond. Between Halle and Oakwood used to be Tubal's westernmost strip of farmland. Halle was likely just outside the southeast corner of this parcel.

How about you? Remember that EMU building you used to attend classes in? Or presently work in? Is it within or without the land once owned by Tubal? If a few folks toss in their ideas, all of us can get a better handle on Tubal's property boundaries.

Headed to class or work, grabbing lunch in the old McKenny Union or the beautiful new Student Center...were you strolling over Tubal's land...perhaps retracing Abba's invisible footprints?

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