During the preceding year I had been the newsletter editor and “West Side Neighborhood Advocate” for the little downtown revitalization group spearheaded by Ernie and Torrey Harburg, who had started the Del Rio.
Briarwood’s opening had left empty gaps on Main Street. A fatal shooting at the Fleetwood had led many to fear going downtown.
I would have first met Sam while he and/or I was photographing old, unrehabbed, utterly authentic storefronts and alleys west of Main Street. Sam then did PR for Ann Arbor Bank (later NationalCity, now PNC). The bank was the Observer’s first big advertiser.
Sam fed us countless story ideas and historic photos. Many involved trains and trolleys, of course! High school graduates of Webster Groves, MO, we had been Ann Arborites only since 1967. (Toledo Congressman Lud Ashley wrote us complimenting our little piece on his grandfather’s Ann Arbor Railroad.)