Rank (MI): 7th
Founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey and named for their wives
, Ann Arbor was in fierce competition
for capitalship of the State of Michigan
. Although it was beaten out by Lansing
in 1847, the University of Michigan
was moved there from Detroit
in 1841, where it is regarded as one of the most respected universities
in the United States
. The university
boasts an enrollment
of 37,846 students
The placement of the large university, combined with the liberal populace (which, incidentally, meant almost shockingly liberal drug laws) and the general changing of the times in the mid-to-late 1960s made Ann Arbor somewhat of a "Hotbed" for so-called "Hippie" activists and protestors. During this period, political and social figureheads of the ilk of Abbie Hoffman and John Lennon regularly considered Ann Arbor to be among their favorite cities to visit. This led to Ann Arbor's being renowned for it's drug culture and idealistic nature.
Ann Arbor's annual contribution to the drug counterculture is in the form of the "Ann Arbor Hemp Rally" (or "Hash Bash", as it's more commonly referred to). This NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Legislation)-sanctioned event takes place in the beginning part of April. Citizens of Ann Arbor and surrounding metropolitan areas gather and share ideas about marijuana reform activism. Due to the public drug use that ensues, the event has garnered a great deal of fire from the University of Michigan for many years. This forces the location of the rally to be moved on and off university property (in the Downtown district) on any given year. Currently NORML and the "U of M" are litigating the location of the "Hash Bash". Drug use at the event has declined dramatically over the years. Possibly as an effect to this, so has attendance.
Despite it's "Druggie" reputation, Ann Arbor is one of the safer citites in the US, ranked 192nd in the nation (of cities with a population of 100,000 or more) in overall crime rate. While it is still considered a largely liberal place to live, Ann Arbor continues to become more in-step with the rest of the country, raising property taxes often and enacting stiffer drug penalites. Despite comparasion to other "liberal" communities (such as San Francisco, CA and Boulder, CO) Ann Arbor has etched out a very distinct and unique identify for itself in the social landscape of the United States.
Ann Arbor also has (1) Denny's and (2) Taco Bells.
Sources: United States Department of the Census, The State of Michigan, The City of Ann Arbor, and the Michigan State Police. All facts and figures are reproduced under the Freedom Of Information Act 5 U.S.C. § 552 of 1966.