Monday, January 10, 2011

Name That School!

Recognize this school?

I know what you are thinking: "That postcard says "Tappan!" But I know that's Burns Park!"

According to the Burns Park school website:
Burns Park is named after Professor George Burns who was the Ann Arbor Commissioner for a time. In 1910 the old [county] fairgrounds, located here, were changed to a park and named in his honor. Before 1925, there were trolley barns here. In January 1925, they burned and this school building was built as Tappan Junior High. In 1951, Tappan moved and took its name with it. This building then took its name from the park. (Emphasis added.)
So I guess that really, we should call Tappan Middle School: Tappan Middle School II.
By the way, this picture was found on the Ann Arbor District Library's web site, where there is a lovely and large selection of historic images and information from and about Ann Arbor.


  1. I'm pretty sure that this was the "Old Tappan School", on East University, rather than the Burns Park School we know now.


    and look in the building in the background, which is clearly the same building.

  2. No, Ed, this is definitely the school now referred to as Burns Park. It was definitely referred to as Tappan before it was renamed Burns Park.

    I believe the picture that you put in the link is of the old University High School (now, the School of Education), which is, actually, on East University.

  3. Old photos...they are so confusing!

  4. And more confusion! University High School wasn't built until the 1920s. Neither was the school we now call Burns Park (used to be Tappan). Ed's picture is from before 1914. Was there a pre-1914 Tappan School in Ann Arbor? Does anybody know?

    Here is a nice background piece on University High School (now the School of Education).

  5. Yes, there was an earlier Tappan school. It was built in 1883 next to what is now the East Engineering Bldg. on E. University. When Tappan moved to what is now Burns Park, it was sold to U of M in 1922, and destroyed in the 1950s or 60s to make way for the Physics-Astronomy Bldg. You can see a tiny bit of the building to the left of E. Engineering in the picture on this page:

  6. So Matt, I think what you are saying is that the FIRST Tappan School was over on E. University. When it was sold to UM, they built and named the school that is currently Burns Park as Tappan School, and then they built the third--and current--Tappan School where it is currently located?

  7. It turns out that there were actually not one, not two, but THREE Tappan schools, as cited in the Ann Arbor Sesquicentennial Journal:
    "Dr. Henry P. Tappan (1860) TAPPAN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL The present Tappan school building in Ann Arbor is the third to be so named. The first was an elementary school on East University. It opened in 1883 and was named after Henry Philip Tappan, former president of the University of Michigan. It was sold to the University of Michigan in the 1920's and was then renamed East Hall. A new elementary school was built on South University in 1922 but it was named Angell School rather than Tappan. The name Tappan was given instead to the new junior high school -built on the Burns Park site in 1925. Thus, for two and one-half years there was no Tappan School. In 1951 the present Tappan Junior High School on East Stadium Boulevard opened and the old building became Burns Park Elementary School. "