Friday, June 17, 2011

Sherzer Hall (in 1918, the Science Building) with Pokagon Tipi

This photo from the 1918 "Aurora" yearbook from EMU has a hidden gem. Though it focuses on the Science Building, now called Sherzer Hall, take a look at the extreme right. That strange little structure is the onetime birchbark tipi that used to stand on campus. It was built by Simon Pokagon, and the story of its creation offers a thread back to the days of Potawatomi. The Potawatomi were onetime residents of Washtenaw County at one point in their migratory history, and later and today, continue to live in southwest Michigan (and areas in adjoining states as well as reservations out West).

Today of course the tipi is long gone. It stood on the east side of Sherzer.

Another view of the east side of Sherzer where the tipi once stood in its cage. You can see the north-south double walkway leading to the street to Halle.
Below is an early 20th-century picture postcard of the tipi. The story of this tipi and of its history and cultural background appears in my upcoming book Hidden Ypsilanti, which will be out this fall. I'm working hard on this book right now--it has summer deadlines, which is why blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground lately. Please bear with me as I try to make Hidden as good as I can, and stay tuned. Thanks for reading!

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