Large, luxurious homes with extensive grounds lined Washtenaw Avenue when UM Librarian Andrew Ten Brook built his mansion across the street in the 1860s. Financial hardship soon required Ten Brook's wife to open a boarding house, providing meals for students in her home.
Making homes into rooming houses began in 1858, when the university turned its dormitories into classrooms. In 1892 Phi Kappa Psi began the trend to convert Washtenaw's mansions to fraternities, when it moved into merchant Chauncey Millen's house at the corner of Hill Street. Phi Delta Theta replaced Ten Brook's residence in 1903 with a new house designed by Albert Kahn, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon occupied the home of manufacturer George Bullis to your right. Kappa Alpha Theta sorority remodeled the house next door in 1916. A year earlier, private benefactors had funded the first women's dormitories, Helen Newberry and Martha Cook. By 1941 eight more dormitories had been added for both men and women. Student cooperatives became part of the housing mix in the 1930s during the Depression, with shared housekeeping responsibilities reducing costs.
In 1906 Ann Arbor's first apartment house, the Cutting, was built at Monroe and State. The Anberay opened on East University in 1923, the same year the city's first zoning ordinance limited apartment blocks
and rooming houses to areas adjacent to campus. By the end of the century, most houses near campus had been converted to apartments.
Photos courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library