Ypsilanti Citizen Opinions ]]>

Thank you Ypsilanti
By Dan DuChene & Christine Laughren
Jun. 23, 2010   ·   5:07 p.m.

Christine Laughren and Dan DuChene, co-owners of the Ypsilanti Citizen, pose in front of their company's banner at Frenchie's during the Citizen's one-year anniversary party.

The Ypsilanti Citizen was launched in November 2008 to inform the Ypsilanti community about the news and events that were happening in their area.

Since our launch,...read more

Crossroads Summer Festival; rockin’ ladies night
By Dave Heikkinen and Frank Wright
Jun. 23, 2010   ·   4:37 p.m.

Barbara Payton and the Big Boss Trio rock Washington Street.

A special Ladies Night was held Friday at the 2010 Ypsilanti Crossroads Summer Festival in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Just...read more

Crossroads to hold Ladies Night for Relay for Life
By Dave Heikkinen and Frank Wright
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   9:13 a.m.

On June 11, the 2010 Ypsilanti Crossroads Summer Festival featured a rousing opening set from roots and blue grass band Dragon Wagon.

Dragon Wagon was joined on...read more

Electric rail pollution leads to dirty laundry
By Laura Bien
Jun. 15, 2010   ·   11:42 a.m.

From the approximate vantage point of the present-day Materials Unlimited, the interurban car barn and powerhouse on Michigan Avenue loomed large.

Maggie Smith was not looking forward to a forenoon of sewing pleats.

She put down her newest customer’s summer dress. Downstairs, she offered to get potatoes...read more

EMU students in wartime
By Laura Bien
Jun. 1, 2010   ·   10:32 a.m.

The 1942 Aurora yearbook, the 50th
anniversary edition, included images that contrasted modern and
old-time students.

Leroy Grindle was an Ypsilantian soldier who lost his life in WWII. He was a member of the Michigan Normal (EMU) class of ’41, and is memorialized with a black...read more

A Prohibition New Year’s Eve, 1925

A cartoon in the January 1, 1926 Daily
Ypsilantian-Press highlighted the major global events of 1925. Photo by Ypsilanti Archives

A cartoon in the January 1, 1926 Daily Ypsilantian-Press highlighted the major global events of 1925.
Krispy Krunchy Chicken

To the Archives

By Laura Bien
Dec. 29, 2009    ·    8:32 a.m.


In the 1920s, Ypsilanti carried on a brisk trade in alcohol smuggled from Detroit, the so-called “bootlegger’s paradise.”

Detroit bootleggers transported 75 percent of the liquor supplied to the United States during Prohibition across the Detroit River, the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair.

Raids on Ypsilanti smugglers, distillers and home brewers were fairly common. In early December of 1925, a large police raid netted 43 miscreants, including two proprietors of a blind pig on Monroe Street, a taxi driver and his sidekick who smuggled booze from Detroit and assorted citizens deemed “disorderly.”

By New Year’s, the city had quieted down for a time, and the celebration as reported in the paper was festive but not raucous.
“Bells and guns afforded the welcome to the New Year in Ypsilanti,” said the Jan. 1, 1926 Ypsilanti Press. “As the city clock finished striking 12, church bells commenced ringing; a heavy gun fired five times and a dozen others were fired in various sections of the city, afforded some[thing] of an Independence celebration effect, while social events reached their climax.”

New Year’s celebrations in town consisted of public dances, public and private parties, and church services.

“At the country club, games and dancing helped to keep the evening lively,” said the Press. Fifty couples attended, and local musician Leo Whitmire organized the live music. “[C]hurch parties brought a big attendance and numerous house parties kept homes brightly lighted so that the New Year found a hearty greeting.”

Despite the recent raid, the evening wasn’t completely dry but police were lenient, as the paper reported.

“There was little revelry in Ypsilanti. A few over zealous drinkers found their way off from the streets through advice from the police and a few of the private parties are said to have gotten pretty well along,” the Press said.

Over at Prospect School, now Adams Elementary, 15 couples danced until midnight to live music by Ellsworth’s Orchestra. Another dancing party attracting 75 couples enlivened Arbeiter Verein Hall.

“Lunch was served during the evening,” said the paper. “During the favor dance horns were given to all present.”

A still larger celebration took place in the downtown Armory, where one hundred and fifty couples “danced all the old time dances to music of Heart’s four piece orchestra.” As at Arbeiter Verein hall, an evening lunch was served.

An 11:30 p.m. sermon commenced at the Lutheran church, followed by a choir program. Presbyterian church pastor Rev. S. C. Hathaway gave a New Year address at the Baptist church.

The paper reported, “The subject was ‘Resolutions and Resolute Men,’ and he spoke from the subject in a strong and resolute manner.

“Baptismal service followed the address and the next hour was given to group singing; a violin was played by Miss Ruth Toles; and a delightful group of old time songs was sung by Miss Mary Flint, who was dressed in fitting costume. Luncheon was served during the hour between 10 and 11 and the congregation reassembled for a look back over the past year.”

It had been both a quiet and an eventful one. Between the wars and before a long, brutal slide into the Great Depression, the city had seen the creation of Riverside Park as a result of a deal struck between the city and the Edison Company supplying its electricity.

Nearby, the telephone company began construction on its new building at 209 Pearl, a building across from the bus stop that still stands today. Two-way radio communication between Ypsilanti and the Pacific coast was established for the first time by Ypsilantian Lee Augustus.

Arguably the most lasting local influence of 1925 occurred when Bulgarian-born architect Ralph Gerganoff started his architectural firm in Ypsilanti that year. He went on to design many buildings in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti that include Estabrook School, Eastern Michigan University’s Rackham Hall and numerous residence halls and an expansion of the old high school, now Cross Street Village.

Let’s hope Ypsilantians in 2010 continue to create similarly lasting legacies, large and small, to improve and strengthen our city.

Laura Bien is the author of “Tales from the Ypsilanti Archives,” to be published this winter. She also writes the historical blog "Dusty Diary" and may be contacted at ypsidixit@gmail.com.



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