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

Train used to highlight Ypsi

This program, put out by the Michigan Central Rail Road in 1895, served as a souvenir guide to Ypsilanti's history and culture. Photo by Ypsilanti Archives

This program, put out by the Michigan Central Rail Road in 1895, served as a souvenir guide to Ypsilanti's history and culture.

To the Archives

By Laura Bien
Dec. 15, 2009    ·    8:33 a.m.

In 1895, the Michigan Central Rail Road published “Headlight,” a souvenir program to distribute to passengers traveling on the Chicago-Detroit route.

Though the train had come to Ypsilanti almost 60 years earlier, train travel was apparently still sufficiently glamorous as to warrant a special souvenir.

Published in Chicago, the 9 by 11.5-inch booklet replete with photographs highlighted the points of interest to see in Ypsilanti.

“With this edition of HEADLIGHT,” said the booklet, “we show so near a complete representation of the charming little city of Ypsilanti as the circumstances would warrant.

“This city was named after a noted Greek warrior, Demetrius Ypsilanti, and is prettily situated upon the beautiful Huron River,” the program said. “It has a resident population of over 7,000 people [closer to 8,000, according to the 1894 Glen V. Mills Directory, or, 6,100, according to the state census], and is known as one of the best educational centers in the State.”

The program highlighted the Michigan State Normal School [now EMU] as “easily the second educational institution of the great State of Michigan” and a leader in teacher education. Following a detailed description of the course offerings, the program turned to Ypsilanti High School [now Cross Street Village].

“Being located so near the Normal School and U. of M.,” the program said, “the scholars feel the influence of the larger seats of learning, and a higher degree of scholarship is attained than by the pupils of similar schools less advantageously situated.”

The program touched upon the Ypsilanti Electric Company, a short-lived municipal power company founded by Alexander Rorison before the city’s 1905 conversion to contracting services from Detroit Edison. Rorison’s power house stood at the southeast corner of River and Michigan Avenue, behind the Ainsworth Mill [now Eleven West Spa].

“They use an engine of 150 horsepower for generating purposes,” said the program, “run two alternators and one arc, supplying all the commercial trade in the city, in addition to the public lighting.”

The souvenir program also mentioned T. C. Owen’s famed mineral water well, saying “[T]his is one of the most unique enterprises of Ypsilanti, and if half that is currently reported as to the marvelous cures that have been made by drinking this famous water is true, it is certainly one if the most valuable adjuncts to the city.”

Owen claimed that his miraculous water could even cure cancer—at least, he did until the 1906 Pure Foods Act, after which he toned down his advertising. Tragically, his daughter Abba and son Eber both died of cancer.

After a section on the local newspapers, the railroad program delved into the city’s Foerster Brewing Co.

“Lager beer seems to have been from the earliest antiquity the beverage that assimilated closest to the hygienic necessities of man,” said the MCRR program. “The history of mankind goes to show that with all people and in all ages a stimulant of some kind has been invariably used, and recognizing this necessity, it is of course desirable that such stimulant be as harmless and healthful as possible, and no objection [by the many ardent pro-Temperance advocates throughout Ypsilanti history] can be reasonably made to pure lager beer.”

A peek at the Ypsilanti Savings bank is followed by an examination of the Scharf Tag, Label, and Box Co. “They employ upwards of 100 hands, [and] manufacture all kinds of tags, labels, boxes, etc., and occupy two large and spacious factory buildings . . ,” part of which may be seen in the present-day beautiful castle-like Congdon’s Hardware building.

The program touched on the Ainsworth mill at the southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and Huron (now Eleven West Spa), the Scovill lumber yard on Frog Island, and the Peninsular Paper Mill, saying of the latter, “Commencing in a small way, they have gradually increased the capacity of their plant from several hundred to 18,000 pounds of paper per each twenty-four hours. Their product is shipped to all prominent cities between St Louis and Buffalo, which speaks volumes for the quality of their work.”

The program dwelt on several other local businesses and spotlighted the Occidental Hotel, on the east side of Huron just north of Michiagn Avenue. “The convenience, not to say the necessity, of a first-class hotel to the general public is best known to the people who, by lack of domestic comfort and home privileges, are compelled to patronize them . . . In addition to the usual hotel conveniences there is a mineral bath house in connection with it that is possessed of medicinal qualities for which the mineral wells in this district are famous.”

The program concludes with an engraving of O. E. Thompson & Sons in the Thompson Block, with two chimneys on the Cross Street side of the then-intact building spewing industrious smoke.

With a proposed commuter train coming to Ypsilanti in 2010, can the city provide a souvenir program that similarly entices commuters to step off the platform, visit awhile, and sample the good food, lively entertainment, and scenic vistas of our beautiful city?

SESI Motors

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