Q. When did Robert Frost reside in Ann Arbor? Did he write about the city?
A. As U-M poet-in-residence in the early 1920s, Frost lived in a home at 1523 Washtenaw Ave. In a November 1987 Observer article, Peter Tiernan wrote that it was owned by the widow of “the distinguished classicist” Martin D’Ooge; her parents had built it for the couple as a wedding gift. After her death, the home was demolished and replaced by the University Lutheran Chapel.
When Frost returned in the mid 1920s, he lived on Pontiac Tr. in an 1830s house that was later moved to Greenfield Village. It was replaced by the mid century modern home of U-M art dean Jean Paul Slusser; another celebrated visiting poet, W.H. Auden, lived there in the 1940s.
Frost enjoyed walking Ann Arbor at night and one of his most popular poems, “Acquainted with the Night,” is believed to be set here. The “One luminary clock against the sky” that “proclaimed the time is neither wrong nor right” is thought to have been the one in the tower of Washtenaw County’s 1877 courthouse. Replaced by the current courthouse in the 1950s, it is probably the most mourned of all lost Ann Arbor buildings.
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