What Division Street divided


Do you remember the dry line? Did you ever “cross Division” to visit the Pretzel Bell or other downtown bar? Tell your story in the comments section below.


  1. Katherine Coffey - 1952

    My first time in the Pretzel Bell was when I was about 3, according to my father, while he was supposed to be baby sitting. I went on to spend my 21st birthday there, as did most of my classmates and friends, and it was the accepted gathering spot most Fridays. I was sorry to see that it was no longer there when I was in Ann Arbor some twenty years ago — and even more saddened to see that my great grandfather’s home is now a restaurant. At least I was able to visit there, enjoy lots of memories as well as an excellent meal! Kudos to Jim Tobin for the wonderful historical pieces he shares with all of us.


  2. Marty Stockard - 1957`

    Born and raised in Ann Arbor and a student/graduate, I remember having to drive to close to Jackson for a “cocktail” other than beer! Can’t remember the name of the restaurant that was the “preferred destination”, but it was a drive!


  3. Rowell Huesmann - 1964

    Going to the P-bell late evenings after studying to drink beer was a tradition for a lot of us during the early 60s. The place had quite good food (roast beef was excellent) and also was never rowdy — probably because they hired football players as bouncers. And on your 21st birthday they rang the old bell over the bar and announced your birthday while you stood on a table and chugged a beer. For many guys the beer they chugged was the 21st of the night. Of course, you might wonder how we managed to be familiar with the place before we even had our 21st birthday there. The simple answer is that drivers licences did not have pictures at that time!


  4. Mitch B - 2003

    I lived on Division Street from the Fall of 2000 until the Spring of 2003. Besides the great location of our house, I never thought twice about its name. I enjoyed the piece on the history of the street’s name and Ann Arbor’s self imposed “dry-line.” We took full advantage of the changes that came to our neighborhood. I’d love to see more articles/videos on the history of different areas throughout Ann Arbor.


  5. Cheryl S - 1976, 1979

    I vaguely remember Division St., but I do remember the P-Bell and as a Freshman I was too young to drink there (I didn’t know much about fake IDs). But what I remember most fondly is the Garbage Pit where we could get a huge, delicious taco for $.50. Haven’t found one like it since, and of course the Garbage Pit is long gone.


  6. Bob Acker - 1969

    I remember the P-Bell, but didn’t visit it until my senior year in 1968 when I turned 21. I was taken there by my fraternity brothers. As others have recalled, they’d ring the bell on the bar and called your name, whereupon you had to stand on a table and chug at least one glass of beer. I’d already had several glasses by the time they rang the bell for me and managed to chug 3 glasses before having to rush to the downstairs bathroom to regurgitate. By the end of the evening I was pretty drunk. How drunk? I couldn’t remember the words to ‘Varsity’, a song I knew since freshman year! I was sorry to hear that it had burned down several years ago and never replaced.


  7. Kirk Nims - 1970 and 1980

    My father, Richard, when he came to campus in 1934 became a worker at the P-Bell. He became life long friends with Ralph Neelands who was the owner. I have my father’s autograph jacket from the 4th anniversary of the P-Bell. It is white cotton with the P-Bell logo embroidered in blue on the back, with brass buttons. All the wait staff wore these white coats and were all men. For the anniversary, they had patrons sign their coats. This coat has autographs from Al Champion, and other students of that time, and many of the famous performers that came to play at Hill Auditorium during that year. My father said that most of the artists came to the P-Bell either before or after their performances for a meal and a drink.


  8. Ramona Bashshur - 1984

    I lived on Division St. in a flat near Krazy Jim’s one fall semester. The memories of that semester are as golden as the fall season was that year. I remember sitting on the porch with a textbook, studying and listening to the sounds of the marching band practice nearby while the autumn leaves fell. The brilliant blue sky, red and golden leaves, the comfortable porch and the brilliant notes from the band all combined to create a feeling that life didn’t get any better than this on earth, and the memories of which still bring tears to my eyes today.


  9. Mike Smith - 1968

    Yes, I certainly do recall Division and the P-Bell. I attended many ‘coming of age’ celebrations at the P-Bell, enough that when my own turn came in 1968 the bouncer at the door checked my license and said, “Well, it’s about damn time!” I managed to consume the 21st glass standing on the table and completed a full tuck forward somersault down the stairway to the porcelain facility. I still have the bell-shaped souvenir log of that evening’s adventures.


  10. Patricia J - 1994

    I attended UM as a grad student and am not a drinker so have no P-Bell memories to share. However, I\’ve always wondered about the use of \”Division\” as a street name in so many Michigan cities. I was a bit surprised to learn the name initially came about because it divided the properties. Is that true in other cities as well? I just always assumed (or maybe someone told me?) it had something to do with \”dry lines\”!


  11. Lucas Snaker - 2010

    I am very happy to find out about the old history of Ann Arbor, but if I ever had to walk past Divison street to get a beet i would have become a bootlegger myself. How did they do it? and to hell with the temperence women. Protect your own children dont rule for others’.


  12. shari rodriguez - 1979

    My husband and I attended U of M from l977 to 1979. We got married on campus in 1978. Our fondest memories while attending the university includes going to all those places where beer was served, including Lamplighter, Second Chance, Del Rio, and the Old German restaurant. Thank you for giving such a history. Now we can be thankful that we attended the University the time we did! Shari Rodriguez


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