On Tuesday (Dec. 30, 2008) I noticed work on the front of TCF Bank on South University Avenue: some panels, at least, are being replaced with glass windows. [Editor's note: Cf. comments below.]
This completes a circuit back to fall 1969, when during an anti-war protest, bricks or other objects were thrown through the big glass panes of this bank building, then Ann Arbor Bank.
I left the march at that point, failing to see the connection. Shortly after, Ann Arbor Bank replaced most of the panes with paneling.
Amid all the brick work on another old bank building at the corner of North University and Thayer, soon to be a Panera’s, I was surprised that the three-letter word along the top of the building was not “fixed.”
Selma Sussman, wife of Rackham Dean Al Sussman [1974 to 1985], first brought it to my attention when the bank building was being constructed. (We worked together at UM Social Work.)
I recall her saying that she heard the word was a “tribute” by the bricklayers to UM co-ed walkers-by, and that some of the bricklayers lost their jobs as a consequence.
[Editor's note: It isn't clear what the impact of the city's new graffiti ordinance is on this word, now set in stone, nor whether it poses a challenge as the city contemplates adding design guidelines to its zoning code, nor whether this location could serve as the anchor for the new adult entertainment district that has received some limited discussion locally.]