Photo Essay: Nickels Arcade

Constructed between 1915 and 1918, Ann Arbor's Nickels Arcade is 261 tiled feet of history and Euro-inspired architecture in the heart of the city's downtown.

Linking State and Maynard Street, the three-story glass atrium-style gallery was home to 18 street-level businesses, several of which are still open today. Adorned with architectural terra cotta of Beaux Arts Classical design and deco-style storefronts, the arcade was designed by Ann Arbor architect Hermann Pipp, and emulated the shopping galleries that were popular in France. It's second and third floors are occupied by offices and shops.

Developed by Tom E. Nickels, it replace his father's meat market on State Street and adjacent land that had been willed to his siblings. Nickels passionately believed that in order for Ann Arbor to thrive it needed to grow its downtown to accomodate more business.

Nickels arcade is one of the very few glass-ceiling urban arcades in the United States and has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1987.

Look about and you might notice stone owls set in the arcade's upper reaches. They were installed, much as the ancient Greeks once did, to scare away pigeons. Shop owners (and the constant sound of cooing) will attest to their failure. Still, they're nice to look at.

Check out the stores and people who work in historic Nickels Arcade. Better yet, give them some of your business.

Click on the image below to view photographer Dave Lewinski's photo essay or use this link: View Nickel's Arcade Photo Gallery.

Editors note: Some businesses in Nickels Arcade did not want to participate in Concentrate's photo essay.
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