Ypsilanti Citizen Community Sidetrack

Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

Historical Society showcased for '09 Heritage Fest

Al Rudisill, president of the Historical Society, stands in front of the Ypsilanti Historical Museum and Archives. The museum and archives, at 220 N. Huron St. will have special hours throughout the weekend. Photo by Christine Laughren

Al Rudisill, president of the Historical Society, stands in front of the Ypsilanti Historical Museum and Archives. The museum and archives, at 220 N. Huron St. will have special hours throughout the weekend.
Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

Festival dedicated to museum, archives dedicated

By Christine Laughren
Aug. 17, 2009    ·    11:10 a.m.


Every year at the end of August, Ypsilanti celebrates its heritage and history with a festival.

It’s only fitting then, that this year’s festival is dedicated to the Ypsilanti Historical Society, Museum and Archives.

“We thought it was appropriate to showcase them and honor them,” Lynda Hummel Festival Co-Coordinator said.

Hummel said the Heritage Festival committee chose the Historical Society, Museum and Archives for its work preserving and displaying the “unique history of the Ypsilanti community.”

A pen and ink watercolor rendering of the Ypsilanti Historical Museum, courtesy of Ypsilanti resident Debra Vetter (see front cover), is also featured on this year’s Heritage Festival poster and schedule of events brochure.

“It’s a really impressive honor,” said Al Rudisill, president of the Historical Society. “We have been doing a lot of work over the past three years since we bought the building from the city.”

With the cement barely dry on the new parking lot recently installed, Rudisill said a new roof, handicap access to the basement archives and other structural improvements have been made. The Ypsilanti Historical Society bought the 1860 mansion, at 220 N. Huron St., from the city in 2007 to ensure its future as the home of the Historical Museum.

In an effort to foster area pride and preserve the heritage of the city and surrounding areas, the historical society offers free tours of the museum and access to the archives at no cost. Most weeks the museum is open from 2 – 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

However, the Heritage Festival is a little different. Rudisill said the museum will have longer hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Volunteers will also be in each room of the museum to answer questions and give mini tours and demonstrations throughout the house and basement archives.

A special “Lost Ypsilanti” exhibit, created for Heritage Festival weekend, will focus on Henry Ford’s impact on the city and the surrounding area.

“We expect quite a number of people,” Rudisill said standing in the front yard of the historic structure watching the concrete pour out of a hose for the new parking lot. “We are really looking forward to it.”

A brief history

The office of City Historian and a Historical Committee were created in 1960 by a group of preservation-minded citizens and by late that year, this Historical Committee had formed the Ypsilanti Historical Society.

Foster Fletcher was the city historian during that time. As historical objects were donated, the City Council agreed to house these collections in the lower level of the Ypsilanti District Library where the members of the historical society were able to construct exhibits for the public on a regular basis. In 1966, the city was given the House at 220 N. Huron and then Mayor Burton suggested moving the exhibits to the Italianate mansion.

In 1970, the collections were moved to this new location and during the following two years the historical society renovated and restored the mansion to its 1860 state by removing drop ceilings and partitions built in the 1920s and 30s.

The museum opened the doors of 220 N. Huron to the public in 1972. By 1975 the Historical Society received an award of merit from the Historical Society of Michigan for organizing such an important cultural resource for the community.

In 2007, the Ypsilanti Historical Society raised funds and bought the 1860 mansion from the city to ensure its future as the home of the Historical Museum. Also in 2007, the society renovated the basement to serve as the Historical Archives and a community meeting space as well as controlled collections storage.

The Ypsilanti Historical Society is operated by volunteers including the president, financial officer, secretary and board of trustees as well as the individual archives advisory board and director and the museum advisory board. The society has three part-time paid staff members, the archives director and two graduate assistants. The graduate assistants are masters-level students attending Eastern Michigan University who act as assistant directors for the museum and archives.

As she walked through the historic structure, giving a brief tour Veronica Robinson, a graduate assistant who works at the museum, said she is happy to have the festival dedicated to the to the Ypsilanti Historical Society, Museum and Archives.

“I love it,” she said with a big smile standing near the muskets and rifles at the Civil War display in the “Ypsilanti room” of the museum. “I think it’s a great way of showcasing the local history.”

The Ypsilanti Historical Museum currently holds around 15,000 objects in its collections, the largest of which is the 12-room brick Italianate mansion. Most of the objects are mid-19th century to early 20th century domestic objects including children’s toys, wood and metalworking tools, handiworks including samplers, quilts, needlepoint and lace, spinning wheels and sewing machines, dishware, utensils and china.

The furniture collection includes chairs, tables, pianos, china cabinets, a pie-safe, an icebox and a 1903 wood-burning stove. The museum also houses a professionally restored window commissioned by Mary Starkweather and created by the famous Louis Comfort Tiffany for the city’s Ladies’ Library.


Festival Hours

Thursday - Opening Reception from 7 – 10 p.m. in the parking lot at 220 N. Huron St.

Friday - 1 – 5 p.m.

Saturday - 11:30 – 6 p.m.

Sunday - 12 – 5 p.m.



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