Favorite thing: This is an interesting monument to a prominent Lenawee woman: Laura Haviland Smith. (In the first place, it's interesting simply because it's a 19th century monument to an important _female_: it's remarkable how few markers there are that commemorate the contributions of women in America.) Laura Haviland Smith was born Quaker, but converted to Wesleyan Methodism in the 1840s when the Society of Friends proved to be lukewarm on the Abolition of Slavery. Haviland became actively involved in the abolitionist movement, which was very important in this area of Michigan. (Adrian College was founded in part to be an abolitionist college.) She became centrally important in the "underground railroad," and assisted in the escape to freedom of dozens of former slaves. During the American Civil War, she became a passionate advocate for the interests of prisoners of war and refugees. Later, when she was almost 70 years old, she moved to Kansas and assisted in the resettlement of former slaves in new communities on the frontier. In this statue in front of the city hall in Adrian, she is shown holding a copy of her 1881 autobiography, "A Woman's Life Work," in which she writes about her committment to the causes of social justice: "Are we not our brother's keeper in a more extensive view than we are prone to conceive?"
Favorite thing: Another Adrian building which is on the National Register of Historic Places. This also dates from the 1870s, and was originally built as a meeting hall and theater. Note the French mansard roof - very much of its time.
Favorite thing: Terra Cotta is a kind of hard-baked pottery frequently used in architectural detailing. The late 19th century marked the glory days of terra cotta in America - look for it especially on buildings designed by the masterful Louis Sullivan. I like the terra cotta here in Adrian. I think that is the great native American leader Tecumseh looking out from his prominent vantage point.
Favorite thing: LAte nineteenth century American Architecture rediscovered the beauty and functionality of the Roman arch. Look for it in places like Trinity Church Boston (soon to be on my new Boston VT page) or any of the dozens of Richardsonian Romanesque buildings on American college campuses. Here the Adrian County Courthouse (from the 1880s) sports an attractive arch over the main front entrance.
Favorite thing: "Lenawee County was first settled in 1824 at Tecumseh, which the Terretorial Legislature subsequently made the county seat. Pioneers, mostly from upper New York State, then established Blissfield and Adrian, the latter called Logan. The largest Indian tribe was the Potawatomi. In 1838 the first State legislature moved the Lenawee seat of justice from Tecumseh to Adrian. The first courthouse was built in 1837 but burned in 1852. Immediately purcharing this site, formerly the western terminus of the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad, the county erected a temporary courthouse. The present Romanesque style edifice was completed in 1885 and features round arched entracnes and an ornate tower. The exterior is also adorned with class reliefs and terra-cotta trim. Since 1885 this impressive structure has been the seat of Lenawee County government."
Favorite thing: It's a proud tower! Interestingly, it is located not in the center of town, but instead is just to the north of the city center. The courthouse has an important location in Adrian, but it's not really "at the center of everything."