The Lost Campus

From the mid-1800s to World War I, the view from a dirt road north of campus called The Boulevard provided a great view of campus buildings and the town. “As many as 900 have been counted passing over this boulevard on a beautiful spring or fall day,” wrote Judge Noah Cheever. (Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library)

 The great American playwright Arthur Miller graduated from Michigan in 1938. When he returned in 1953, he was dismayed by the massive and unfamiliar new residence halls. “There are buildings now where I remembered lawn and trees,” he wrote. Each cadre of students at Michigan goes through Miller’s experience. Graduates of the 1850s who came back after the Civil War were surprised and a little wistful to find no cows grazing in the Diag. Every alumnus carries a cherished memory of Michigan — then returns in 20 years and realizes their Michigan is hard to find among the new construction of someone else’s Michigan.

—  From “The Lost Campus” by James Tobin, presented at the U-M Heritage Project website, celebrating U-M’s 2017 bicentennial


Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.