The University of Michigan was founded in 1817 as one of the first public universities in the nation. It was first established on 1,920 acres of land ceded by the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi people "...for a college at Detroit." The school moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor in 1837, when Ann Arbor was only 13 years old. The city had a booming population of 2,000, a courthouse and jail, a bank, four churches and two mills. It had been established in 1824 by two Easterners, John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. The town was named to honor the wives of the founders, Mary Ann Rumsey and Ann Allen, and the natural arbor created by the massive oaks in the area.
It took four years to build the necessary facilities for the new campus in Ann Arbor. The buildings consisted of four faculty homes and one classroom-dormitory building. (One of the homes is still standing and is now the President's house.) Cows owned by the faculty grazed over much of campus. As late as 1845 the campus was covered in the summer with a crop of wheat, grown by a janitor as part of his remuneration. Faculty families harvested peaches from the orchard of the ...
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