The Michigan Union on The U of M Campus in Ann Arbor is Steeped in History

Kathy Toth and Team, Keller Williams Market Center, Ann Arbor, MI  734.426.6669 – The University of Michigan Student Union.

The U of M Historic Michigan Union is Steeped in History.

Take a stroll through the historic Michigan Union Located at 530 S. State Street on Central Campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In 1904 the Michigan Union began with a meeting held at the Waterman Gymnasium with over 1100 students in attendance to form an “all inclusive organization” promoting unity for the men on campus. As the organization grew, the University of Michigan Union founders acquired a new location on S. State Street in Ann Arbor and in 1907 opened the Clubhouse in the remodeled residence of Judge Thomas M. Cooley, a longstanding member of the University of Michigan law faculty.  The organization grew so quickly, and again they needed a larger facility.  Plans were designed to tear down the Cooley house, their present location, and build right there rather than relocate.  In 1916 groundbreaking took place and the new Michigan Union officially opened in 1919.  See before and after photos of the Building and History of the Michigan Union.

Over the years there have been many additions, expansions and rule changes to the organization and to the building which keep the Michigan Union a vibrant location for education, study, entertainment, and camaraderie to this very day.  To read more about the history of The Michigan Union, get a copy of the book “The Michigan Union: 1904-2004 – 100 Years of Student Life.” By Jeffrey M. Rowe.


Here are a few interesting facts about the Union.  For instance, did you know that there was a swimming pool and a bowling alley in the Union at one time?  They were located under the present bookstore.  And women – you are now welcome to use the front door and enjoy all that the facility has to offer.  Until 1954, women were not allowed inside the building and not allowed to use the front door. Women could use the North entrance only and must be accompanied by a male member.  Due to social change, women were finally able to have full access and privileges to the facility in 1972.

Over the years the Michigan Union has been honored to have such dignitaries as President John F. Kennedy in 1960 and a visit by the Dalai Lama  as special guests.  When Senator John F. Kennedy made his visit during the last few weeks of the Presidential campaign in 1960, he stood on the steps of the Michigan Union and announced his vision of the Peace Corps.  He talked about foreign service, and volunteering  individual time and talent in underdeveloped countries of the world.   Read the transcript of his speech.

The Michigan Union is a great place to visit, eat, tour or attend any of the special events throughout the year.  Take the opportunity to stop in and walk through this beautiful building and be a part of Michigan history.  The Michigan Union is open for regular Fall/Winter Semester hours Monday – Saturday 9 am – 2 am and Sunday 9 am – 2 am.  Hours change somewhat for Spring/Summer terms. Learn more about the Michigan Union events and meetings.

After you visit the Michigan Union – step outside and visit the Tony Rosenthal initeractive Cube within walking distance to the North of the Student Union.

View Michigan Union in a larger map   

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