Historic District Study Committee Hears Comments, Recommends Historic Designation

The Public Hearing of the Historic District Study Committee was held on Wednesday October 18.  Members of the public mostly spoke in favor of the historic designation, but there was a dissenter as well.   We will provide a link to the final report when it becomes available.

The report and recommendation have been submitted the City Council, who will vote on an ordinance declaring the historic district at a future meeting.  We will provide updates on that meeting time and date when they are available.  

Public Hearing on the Historic Designation OCT 18, 5:30 PM

The Public Hearing will be held Wednesday October 18 at 5:30PM in City Council Chambers (City Hall, 301 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor).  The public is invited to comment on the report of the Historic District Study Committee, available by clicking here.    Anyone who wishes to express support for the report and the proposed historic district should come as well.  

University alters listing of Inglis House 

July 31, 2017.   New listing is for the house and 4.5 acres.  $2.9M.   We have asked the university for details, noting that this change follows closely on the heels of the study committee's filing their preliminary report.  

AA historic district study committee files preliminary report

On July 21, 2017, the committee studying the proposed Inglis House historic district filed their preliminary report.  That report is available by clicking here.  

Highlights:  The historic district would include the entire 9 acre parcel, house as well as land surrounding.  

Public Hearing:  There will be a public hearing  Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:30pm – 6:30pm in the Conference Room, Council Chambers.    Anyone is welcome to comment on the study committee report.  

After the public hearing and if the study committee submits a finalized the report that recommends the establishment of a historic district, City Council, may introduce and pass or reject an ordinance establishing that historic district.  

Inglis House listed for sale

We will try to get a link to the listing.  Description is for house, 9.06 acres, caretakers building, and outbuildings.  $5.9M.

Listing # R217035092

AA city council establishes Inglis House historic district study committee

Resolution CA-06, passed at the May 1st city council meeting, will create a study committee of 3 people to explore the creation of an historic district to protect the Inglis House.  Importantly, the consent agenda item also includes the requirement that all applications for permits within the Inglis House historic district be referred to the Historic District Commission for review.   The vote was unanimous, with council members Lumm, Westphal and Mayor Taylor speaking in support.  Cooperation with the University as the sale of the Inglis House goes forward was stressed by speakers, by council members, and by the mayor.   Complete coverage:


400+ people have signed the petition to save the Inglis House

This includes the Inglis House's direct neighbors, but it also includes University faculty and staff who have fond memories of the house, community members who are aware of its history, and lovers of Michigan history.  

Even temporary deed restriction would protect the house

We hope that even if the University cannot be dissuaded from selling the house, they will put a temporary deed restriction in place that will protect the house at least until it can be purchased by someone who will leave the house intact.   

City investigates declaring Inglis House an historic district 

Since the university has so far refused to protect the Inglis House, maybe the city will.  Agenda item added for May 1st meeting:  

CA-6 17-0609 Resolution Establishing Inglis House Historic District Study Committee and to Require all Building Permit Applications within the Proposed Inglis House Historic District to be Referred to the Historic District Commission for Review

Update:  Should the Inglis family ask for the house back? 

James Inglis' original intention was to provide the University with a house for its president.  He did not foresee (nor do his grandchildren condone) the selling of the house and grounds.  The intent of the original donor matters, according to the court.  In Robertson vs. Princeton, the Robertson family took Princeton University to court and forced them to redirect the original gift in its original direction. Here is a description of that issue from Philanthropy Magazine.


Update:  Speakers defend the Inglis House at Regents' Mtg 

Four community member and one Inglis family member spoke at the Regents' Meeting 4/20 in defense of the Inglis House.  Forty additional community members showed up in support, holding up purple signs that said "Re-vote on the sale of the Inglis House" and wearing "Save the Inglis House" buttons.  By the time all the neighbors arrived, the room had reached capacity!  Thank you to those who came to show their support; it was just the display of community support that we needed to show the Regents.  

The speakers addressed the lack of transparency on the part of the University, the strong opposition of the Inglis family to the sale, and the rapid pace set for the sale.  Each speaker asked the Regents to postpone the sale at least temporarily and the community members held up signs and applauded each speaker.   Esther Kyte, Inglis family member, went last, reading the family's joint letter of outrage and the 25 names appended to it.  It was a powerful moment.   

Local and state coverage of the meeting:




Update:  Inglis family members defend the Inglis House 

The neighborhood organization has now heard from many members of the extended Inglis family expressing outrage and disgust that the University would sell the family heritage that was entrusted to it.  A part of one letter received from a family members reads as follows:  When this House was donated to the University of Michigan, my understanding from family legend has it that everyone in the Inglis family revered the University and thought it would be a worthy caretaker of the home in perpetuity.  THIS IS NOT WHAT MY ANCESTORS INTENDED NOR WOULD WANT FROM THEIR GIFT of this magnificent home and grounds.  I am grateful to the many A2 residents who are protesting the BoR's most ungrateful and unwise decision to sell this historic property.   I add my voice to theirs in dismay, horror, and disbelief.  

Another family letter reads:  This plan to sell to a developer, my grandparents late home which was gifted to the University in good faith, is an extremely unsatisfactory outcome to their generosity. I am confident it is NOT what they would wish to see happen. I am strongly in opposition to any sale except to an individual family that would legally be required to always sell in perpetuity to a single family who would treasure my grandparents' gift as was intended. I plan to let the regents know of my thoughts. 

A representative of those family members will speak directly to the regents at their meeting Thursday 4/20 at 3 pm.  Everyone who would like the regents to retract their decision to sell the Inglis property should come Thursday to show support.  Note that you will have to sign in and go through security.  Note also that the location is the Anderson Room of the Michigan UNION (not League as reported earlier).  

Update:  Over 100 concerned neighbors attended the informational meeting put on by the University 4/13.  

University spokesperson Jim Kosteva described the process by which the Regents voted to sell the property and the process by which the property will be listed.  While indicating that the Regents appreciated the unique qualities of the house, he said that they would not be attaching a deed restriction that would protect the house from demolition.  The University expects Sotheby's to be handling the sale and to listed it in early May (2 weeks from now).  Many audience members asked pointedly why the process had been so rushed and had been conducted without input from community, from university donors, or from any other stakeholders.  The general audience consensus was that the Regents should agree to back up and revisit the decision after taking into consideration the views of stakeholders like neighbors and the community.  

Following any sale to a private party, there will be a re-zoning of the property from public land to (most likely) residential, either R1A or R1B.  Given the 9.1 acre site with the house demolished, anywhere from 9 to 35 houses could be built on the rezoned site.   While it is possible that a historical designation could be placed on the house by the city, that would take some time and would not hold up a sale.  


The room was packed and people waited in the hallway.

Total attendance was over 100.

Without community outcry, the Inglis House and grounds could be sold to a developer who would most likely tear the house down

The 1927 house, including 9.1 acres of land and a formal garden, was donated to the University by the Inglis family in 1951 as a home for the presidents of the University.  The University has maintained it since then, using the house as a guest house for VIP visitors including the Dalai Lama, President Gerald Ford, among others, and also as a site for internal University meetings and celebrations.  

In March, the Regents decided not to renovate the property, but instead to offer it for sale.  There is NO historic designation for the house which would prevent it from being torn down.    

View of house and grounds

View of house and grounds

The Inglis House, with 9.1 acres adjacent to the Nichols Arboretum, is a one-of-a-kind building in Ann Arbor on a one-of-a-kind site.  If the house is torn down, Ann Arbor will lose a piece of history it can never regain.  

The Inglis family donated the house to the University in good faith and the University took on that trust.  Please help us stop the university from selling it in a way that could result in its demolition.  


Formal gardens

Formal gardens

Take Action

Sign our petition to save the house.

Ask the University to protect the house from demolition, with at least a temporary deed restriction.  

Click "TAKE ACTION" at top right to find out how