The Catholepistemiad, or university, of Michigania resided in a building near this site from 1818 to 1837. Conceived by the Reverend John Montieth, Father Gabriel Richard
and Judge Augustus Woodward, the university was established by territorial law on August 26, 1817. Modeled on the University of France, created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807, the institution was the center of a statewide system of primary, secondary and college education. Reverend Montieth, the first president, and Father Richard held the first professorships. In 1837 the university was relocated to Ann Arbor.
The original building was razed in 1858.