Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How did Ypsilanti Streets Get Their Names?: River St., Mill (Park St.), Grove St., North St., South St.

First in a series of posts exploring Ypsilanti street names.

How did the batch of streets just east of the river, near Michigan Ave., get their names? A look at the 1864 plat map helps explain:

1. River
2. Mill (now Park)
3. Grove
4. North
5. South

1. River: the north-south street closest to the Huron River.

2. Mill Street: it ended in an area near the river in the vicinity of several mills. Changes to "Park Street" on the 1874 map. Reason: the north and south parts of the Public Square, (marked with a green "7") on either side of Congress/Michigan Ave., were sliced up into residential lots, as depicted on the 1874 plat. These lots were marked, "Gilbert's Park Addition." Likely the "Park" honorific/name was intended to (guiltily?) memorialize the usurped public square.

3. Grove: led down to "Woodruff's Grove," established by Benjamin Woodruff in 1823 outside the eventual city limits.

4. North St.: One block north of the East Public Square.

5. South St.: One block south of the same public square.

6. East of River St. is an unmarked alley/street. This gains a name, Lincoln, on the 1874 plat map. Lincoln died in 1865, one year after the pictured map was drawn. Likely it was named to honor him.

7. East Public Square, later chopped up into lots.

8. The unnamed street along the southern edge of the East Public Square became Parsons Street on the 1874 plat map. It was named after Samuel Parsons, an early businessman.

9. The little unnamed north-south street between Parsons and South Street, next to Grove, was named Farmer Street, probably named for John Farmer, who drew one of the late-nineteenth-century plat maps (yeah, he saw that blank street and grabbed it, didn't he?!)

DD: "I think we should rename all the Ypsilanti streets. It's time for a change."
DDH: "We'll call them all Bob."

Sources: Ypsilanti Archives; Teaboldt; plat maps

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