Ypsilanti, Michigan facts for kids

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Ypsilanti, Michigan
City
City of Ypsilanti
Images from top to bottom, left to right: Ypsilanti Water Tower, Depot Town/Sidetrack Bar & Grill, Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, Michigan Firehouse Museum, and Eastern Michigan University's Starkweather Hall
Images from top to bottom, left to right: Ypsilanti Water Tower, Depot Town/Sidetrack Bar & Grill, Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, Michigan Firehouse Museum, and Eastern Michigan University's Starkweather Hall
Flag of Ypsilanti, Michigan
Flag
Nickname(s): Ypsi
Motto: "Pride. Diversity. Heritage."
Washtenaw County Michigan Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Ypsilanti Highlighted.svg
Country United States
State Michigan
County Washtenaw
First settled 1823
Incorporated village 1832
Incorporated city 1858
Area
 • Total 4.52 sq mi (11.71 km2)
 • Land 4.33 sq mi (11.21 km2)
 • Water 0.19 sq mi (0.49 km2)
Elevation 719 ft (219 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 19,435
 • Estimate (2012) 19,621
 • Density 4,488.5/sq mi (1,733.0/km2)
 • Density 4,489.0/sq mi (1,733.2/km2)
Time zone Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)
ZIP Code 48197, 48198
Area code(s) 734
FIPS code 26-89140
GNIS feature ID 1616910
Website cityofypsilanti.com

Ypsilanti (/ˌɪpsˈlænti/ ip-sə-LAN-tee; often mispronounced /ˌjɪpsˈlænti/ yip-sə-LAN-tee), commonly shortened to Ypsi, is a city in Washtenaw County in the U.S. state of Michigan, perhaps best known as the home of Eastern Michigan University. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 19,435. The city is bounded to the north by Superior Township and on the west, south, and east by Ypsilanti Township. Ypsilanti is located 6 miles (10 km) east of Ann Arbor and about 18 miles (29 km) west of the Detroit city limits.

The geographic grid center of Ypsilanti is the intersection of the Huron River and Michigan Avenue, the latter of which connects downtown Detroit, Michigan with Chicago, Illinois, and through Ypsilanti is partially concurrent with U.S. Route 12 Business and M-17.

History

Early history

Ypsilanti Water Tower Exterior Cross and bust
Bust of Demetrios Ypsilantis at the Ypsilanti Water Tower

Originally a trading post established in 1809 by Gabriel Godfroy, a French-Canadian fur trader from Montreal, a permanent settlement was established on the east side of the Huron River in 1823 by Major Thomas Woodruff. It was incorporated into the Territory of Michigan as the village Woodruff's Grove. A separate community a short distance away on the west side of the river was established in 1825 under the name "Ypsilanti", after Demetrios Ypsilantis, a hero in the Greek War of Independence. Woodruff's Grove changed its name to Ypsilanti in 1829, the year its namesake effectively won the Greek war, and the two communities eventually merged. A bust of Demetrios Ypsilantis by Greek sculptor Christopher Nastos stands between a Greek and a US flag at the base of the landmark Ypsilanti Water Tower.

Automotive history

Ypsilanti has played an important role in the automobile industry. From 1920 to 1922, Apex Motors produced the "ACE" car. It was in Ypsilanti that Preston Tucker (whose family owned the Ypsilanti Machine Tool Company) designed and built the prototypes for his Tucker '48. Tucker's story was related in the film Tucker: The Man and His Dream, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

In 1945, Henry J. Kaiser and Joseph W. Frazer bought the nearby Willow Run B-24 Liberator bomber plant from Ford Motor Company, and started to make Kaiser and Frazer model cars in 1947. The last Kaiser car made in Ypsilanti rolled off the assembly line in 1953, when the company merged with Willys-Overland and moved production to Toledo, Ohio. General Motors purchased the Kaiser Frazer plant, and converted it into its Hydramatic Division (now called its Powertrain division), beginning production in November 1953. The GM Powertrain Division ceased production at this facility in 2010.

Ypsilanti is also the location of the last Hudson automobile dealership. Today, the former dealership is the site of the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Collection. The museum is the home to an original Fabulous Hudson Hornet race car, which inspired the character Doc Hudson in the 2006 Pixar animated film Cars.

Political history

Statue of Harriet Tubman Ypsilanti Michigan
Statue of Harriet Tubman in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

In the early 1970s, along with neighboring city of Ann Arbor, the citizens reduced the penalty for the use and sale of marijuana to $5 (the Ypsilanti Marijuana Initiative; see also the Human Rights Party). When Ypsilanti prosecuted a man possessing 100 pounds (45 kg) of cannabis under state law, the defense argued he should have been charged under Ypsilanti's ordinance. The trial judge declared the ordinance's requirement that Ypsilanti prosecute only under city law unenforceable. An appeal court upheld the trial judge's ruling. Later, Ypsilanti City Council, using its power of codification, deleted the ordinance.

In 1979, Faz Husain was elected to the Ypsilanti city council, the first Muslim and the first native of India to win elected office in Michigan.

In the 1990s Ypsilanti became the first city in Michigan to pass a living wage ordinance.

In the late 1990s, the city adopted an ordinance to ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity/transgender status, body weight (i.e., being obese or underweight). Two ballot measures to repeal the ordinance were led and bankrolled by conservatives, including Tom Monaghan. Both measures failed, the second by a larger percentage than the first.

On July 23, 2007, Governor Jennifer Granholm announced that Ypsilanti, along with the cities of Caro and Clio, was chosen by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to take part in the Blueprints for Michigan's Downtowns program. The award provides for an economic development consultant to assist Ypsilanti in developing a growth and job creation strategy for the downtown area.

Timeline

  • 1809 – Trading post established by French-Canadian Gabriel Godfroy from Montreal
  • 1823 – Village of Woodruff's Grove platted
  • 1825 – April 21, Plat recorded under the name Ypsilanti
  • 1827 – Ypsilanti Township organized
  • 1832 – June 19, Woodruff's Grove re-organized and incorporated as the Village of Ypsilanti
  • 1849 – Eastern Michigan University founded as Michigan State Normal School
  • 1858 – February 4, the Village of Ypsilanti reincorporated as a city
  • 1890 – Michigan's first interurban, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Street Railway, begins service
  • 1890 – The Ypsilanti Water Tower is completed
  • 1929 – Miller Motors Hudson opens, it eventually becomes the last Hudson dealership in the world
  • 1931 – McKenny Union opens as the first student union on the campus of a teachers' college.
  • 1959 – Eastern Michigan becomes a university
  • 1960 – Tom Monaghan founds Domino's Pizza as DomiNick's Pizza at 507 W. Cross St, Ypsilanti.
  • 1967 – Ypsilanti resident John Norman Collins is suspected of being the perpetrator of the Michigan murders, a series of murders of coeds at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. He was convicted in 1969, but of only one of the murders.
  • 1990 – Eastern Michigan University achieves its highest student enrollment of 26,000
  • 1998 – The Michigan Firehouse Museum is established preserving a firehouse built in 1898.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.52 square miles (11.71 km2), of which 4.33 square miles (11.21 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.49 km2) is water. The Huron River flows through both the City of Ypsilanti and the Charter Township of Ypsilanti.

Ypsilanti is located at 42°14′N 83°37′W / 42.24°N 83.62°W / 42.24; -83.62, in the western reaches of the Detroit/Windsor metropolitan area. Suburban development between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, via Washtenaw Avenue and Packard Road, has been unbroken since the late 1960s. Downtown Ypsilanti and the surrounding neighborhoods are the site of many historical homes, including kit homes by companies like Aladdin and Sears.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,955
1870 5,471 38.3%
1880 4,984 −8.9%
1890 6,129 23.0%
1900 7,378 20.4%
1910 6,230 −15.6%
1920 7,413 19.0%
1930 10,143 36.8%
1940 12,121 19.5%
1950 18,302 51.0%
1960 20,957 14.5%
1970 29,538 40.9%
1980 24,031 −18.6%
1990 24,818 3.3%
2000 22,362 −9.9%
2010 19,435 −13.1%
Est. 2015 19,945 2.6%
Sources: United States Census (1900–2000)
U.S. Census Bureau (2009)

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 19,435 people, 8,026 households, and 2,880 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,488.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,733.0/km2). There were 9,271 housing units at an average density of 2,141.1 per square mile (826.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 61.5% White, 29.2% African American, 0.6% Native American, 3.4% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.9% of the population.

There were 8,026 households of which 18.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 19.7% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 64.1% were non-families. 42.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.92.

The median age in the city was 25 years. 14.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 35.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.3% were from 25 to 44; 16.6% were from 45 to 64; and 8.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.7% male and 50.3% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 22,362 people, 8,551 households, and 3,377 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,081.5 per square mile (1,962.3/km2). There were 9,215 housing units at an average density of 2,094.0 per square mile (808.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 61.40% White, 30.58% African American, 0.44% Native American, 3.18% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.32% from other races, and 3.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.47% of the population. 13.6% were of German, 6.8% Irish, 6.4% English and 5.5% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 8,551 households out of which 19.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.0% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 60.5% were non-families. 40.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 15.9% under the age of 18, 38.2% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 12.4% from 45 to 64, and 7.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,610, and the median income for a family was $40,793. Males had a median income of $30,328 versus $26,745 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,692. About 16.9% of families and 25.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.1% of those under age 18 and 15.3% of those age 65 or over.

Nicknames

Ypsilanti is often shortened to "Ypsi," particularly in spoken conversation and local/regional usage.

Because a large number of residents or their ancestors migrated from Appalachia, certain neighborhoods (particularly on the far east side of the city and into Ypsilanti Township) are sometimes called "Ypsitucky." Harriette Arnow's book The Dollmaker, which was made into a film starring Jane Fonda, focused on the lives of these "Ypsituckians."

Recently, the use of the term "Ypsitucky" has come under increased scrutiny due to its historically derogatory connotation. In 2008, the issue was raised after a dinner being held in Ann Arbor to honor Harriette Arnow was described as an "Ypsitucky Supper" in some of the event organizer's media releases. In 2009, planning began for the "Ypsitucky Jamboree," a new music festival celebrating bluegrass music to be held in Ypsilanti in September 2009; this resulted in objections from some area residents and some members of the City Council, leading to renaming the event as simply "The Jamboree."

Sites of interest

Michigan Firehouse Museum PICT0035
The new addition to the historic building which houses the Michigan Firehouse Museum was completed in the summer of 2002.

Ypsilanti has the second largest contiguous historic district in the state of Michigan, behind only the much larger city of Grand Rapids. The historic district includes both downtown Ypsilanti, along Michigan Avenue, and the Depot Town area adjacent to Frog Island Park and Riverside Park, which features many specialty shops, bars and grills, and a farmers' market.

The Tridge is a three-way wooden footbridge under the Cross Street bridge over the Huron River at 42°14′44″N 83°36′42″W / 42.24561°N 83.61160°W / 42.24561; -83.61160. The Tridge connects Riverside Park, Frog Island Park, and Depot Town.

The Ypsilanti Water Tower, adjacent to the campus of Eastern Michigan University, holds the unique distinction of being the winner of the Most Phallic Building contest.

Starkweather Chapel
Starkweather Chapel, in Richardsonian Romanesque architectonic style, in Highland Cemetery

Other sites of interest include:

  • Ypsilanti District Library
  • Ypsilanti Historical Museum (housed in a Victorian mansion built in 1860)
  • Automotive Heritage Museum
  • Michigan Firehouse Museum
  • Ypsilanti Water Tower (built in 1890)
  • Ypsilanti Food Co-op
  • Highland Cemetery
  • Pease Auditorium (on the campus of Eastern Michigan University)
  • Starkweather Hall, built in 1896 as a student religious center (currently housing EMU Honors College)

Transportation

Ypsi streets
Street map of Ypsilanti

Highways

  • I-94 bypasses the city to the south.
  • US 12 travels east to Detroit and west toward Chicago; it runs concurrently with I-94 from exit 181 to the west of the city to exit 185 to the east of the city.
  • US 23 passes just west of the city.

  • BUS US 12 is a loop route through downtown Ypsilanti.
  • M-17 connects Ypsilanti with nearby Ann Arbor.

Other

  • Willow Run Airport, located near Ypsilanti, serves a variety of freight and general aviation air traffic. Major international freight carriers Kalitta Air and National Airlines are based there, however there are no scheduled commercial flights. Willow Run was once one of the Detroit area's major commercial airports, hosting international flights to Europe, but all commercial traffic had switched to nearby Detroit Metro Airport by 1967.
  • Amtrak's twice daily Wolverine service from Chicago to Pontiac passes through Ypsilanti, but does not stop. Amtrak's last passenger train stopped in Ypsilanti in 1984. Amtrak and area leaders have said they are considering reinstating a stop at Ypsilanti, however.
  • The Border-to-Border Trail winds through Ypsilanti, linking the city to Ann Arbor and (eventually) Dexter.

Culture

Ypsilanti Water Tower 2011
The Ypsilanti Water Tower and bust of Demetrios Ypsilantis.

Cultural history and attractions

Domino's Pizza was founded in Ypsilanti in 1960 near the campus of Eastern Michigan University.

By 1963, Clara Owens established the Ypsilanti Greek Theater in Ypsilanti, Michigan for the performance of Greek theater productions.

In 1966 the Ypsilanti Greek Theater opened at the EMU Baseball field. Bert Lahr and Dame Judith Anderson starred in two productions, The Oresteia, a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus and The Birds by playwright Aristophanes.

Since 1979, the city has become known for summer festivals in the part of the city called "Depot Town", which is adjacent to both Riverside and Frog Island Parks along the banks of the Huron River. Festivals include the annual Ypsilanti Heritage Festival, the Elvis Festival, the Orphan Car Festival, the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival, the former Frog Island Festival, and a Latino festival.

Painter Fay Kleinman moved to Ypsilanti in the late 1980s with her husband, pianist Emanuel Levenson.

Overlooking Riverside Park is the non-profit Riverside Arts Center. Established in 1994 through the efforts of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority and several public spirited citizens, the Riverside boasts a 115-seat black box theater, a sizable art gallery and some meeting rooms and offices. In 2006 the adjacent DTE building was renovated with "Cool Cities Initiative" money and is in the process of being incorporated into the center's activities.

Depot Town in Ypsilanti is also home to the Michigan ElvisFest every summer.

In popular culture

  • It has been said that Ypsilanti is the Brooklyn to Ann Arbor's Manhattan. Comparable to the gentrification causing many artists, poets, musicians, and hipsters to flee the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City to areas like Bushwick, Brooklyn, nearby Ann Arbor has experienced massive increases in land value and taxes over the last several decades. Despite Ann Arbor's reputation in the region as a bohemian cultural center, many creative people have been driven out of the city to Ypsilanti due to these changes. A vibrant, underground arts scene has begun to emerge as a result. This community gathers semiannually at the juried Shadow Art Fair held at The Corner Brewery.
  • Milton Rokeach's 1964 psychiatric case study, The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, inspired a stage play and two operas. Poet W. H. Auden described it as "a very funny book ... about a hospital in which there are three gents, all of whom believe themselves to be the Lord. Which is common enough, except in the case of one—who had actually found a disciple!"
  • Author Kurt Vonnegut has a chapter titled "A Sappy Girl From Ypsilanti" in his 2005 book A Man Without a Country.
  • The Ypsilanti City Council declared Lee Osler's "Back To Ypsilanti" the city's official song in 1983.
  • Iggy Pop grew up in the Coachville trailer park, lot 963423, on Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township (near Ypsilanti) during his teenage years at the start of his music career.
  • Ypsilanti is the subject of Sufjan Stevens' song, "For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti", on his 2003 album Michigan.
  • A portrait of jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon, painted by his grandmother, Fay Kleinman, is part of the permanent art collection of the Ypsilanti District Library. Napoleon performed his first public gig as leader at the age of twelve under a tent at the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival, an event sponsored by WEMU radio.
  • The Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Ypsilanti hosted filming for two days of the Movie Stone, starring Robert De Niro. The funeral service and a few outside scenes were filmed at the Church, with locals posing as extras.
  • In the 2004 cartoon Superior Defender Gundam Force, in the intro for the eighth episode "A Princess, A Cake, and A Winged Knight" a character named Shute goes onto to describe his hometown and claims it to be Ypsilanti, Michigan, shortly after he says he was "just kidding" and introduces the city as Neotopia.

Sister cities

  • Greece Nafplio, Greece

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