Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Turn-of-the-Century Ypsi Map with Interesting Highlights Marked

http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifHere's a treat I hope you enjoy as much as I do. It's a roughly turn-of-the-century map with a baker's dozen of cool vanished stuff that I numbered. It really helped me visualize things like the "Dress Stay Company" (ohhh, right on Huron, there!) and discover new things (pickle factory?!). Here's the map with a key below.
1. Mysterious Depot #2. I never knew of this second depot, right at the bend of Huron if you're traveling north and just passed the DPW yard/Powell's pub. Why was it here? Whom did it serve? It's 1/2-way between the Peninsular Paper Mill and Hay and Todd--two big employers. Was it for the workers? But Hay & Todd isn't far from the Depot Town Depot. Hmm...what is this enigmatic depot?

2. Tubal Cain Owen water well. Owen tried "his hand at several business enterprises
(including attempting to build a flying machine) before pursuing the marketing of mineral water. Often described as “flamboyant,” “cocky,” and even a “bit peculiar"...In 1882 the Ypsilanti Paper Company bored a well, seeking pure water but found what was then perceived and marketed as medicinal mineral water. Various sanitariums sprang up in a vigorous rivalry. Tubal Cain Owen jumped into the fray when he sank an 808 feet deep well in 1884 at 360 feet north of Forest Avenue, behind his house (presently near the northwest corner of the east wing of the Roosevelt Building on the Eastern Michigan University campus). He named the well “Atlantis” and by 1885, acquired patent number 13127 for his trade mark for Ypsilanti Mineral Water. He found darker, even murkier water than his competitors, which at that time was believed to be more beneficial. It was reddish brown and described as having an “odor that sent strong men reeling toward the saloon,” yet was sold as far as Boston and with great popularity particularly in Chicago."

3. Normal School (EMU) gymnasium. This was a magnificent castle-like crenellated structure occupying what's now the little parking lot just east of the Water Tower.

4. Old Ypsi High School. This is where Carry Hardy taught math. Now the senior community Cross Street Village.

5. Pickle Factory. Pickle factory? This is a new one on DD. I do know there was an "Ypsilanti Condiment Co" somewhere in Depot Town...perhaps related? I'm hoping they didn't use river water for the pickles, considering it's downstream from the Peninsular Paper Mill, which is said to have often dyed the river a variety of interesting colors, and the numerous mills in the Frog Island area. On the other hand, vinegar neutralizes everything, right? No worries! Enjoy the distinctive taste of Ypsi Pickles!

6. Mineral Well and Sanitarium: Ypsi's famous water "San," the "Ypsilanti Mineral Bath House," located where the Riverside Arts Center--->Haab's is now; a big operation!

7. McCullough Foundry, where Allie's dad and later, her brothers, worked. The family lived across the street.

8. Dress Stay Company, manufacturing steel rods for stiffening and shaping women's dresses, in lieu of the earlier whalebone.

9. Scharf Tag, Label & Box Co. (now occupied by Congdon's), like #8 a business in which former mayor H. P. Glover had great influence.

10. The old city well.

11. The old fair grounds.

12. Apparently each ward had its own little school.

13. Depot for the Ann Arbor-Ypsi Streetcar, (the "Ypsi-Ann,") which ran down Packard to AA.

Lots of other goodies on this map, such as the Ypsi Coop appearing as its former incarnation, the Ypsilanti Machine Works. What else do you see that should be added to the list?


Anonymous said...

Ypsilanti: city of undies and dubious pickles.

Dusty D said...

Anon: Yes; the pickle plant was a new one on me. I want to find out its connection to the Ypsilanti Condiment Co., if any. Also want to find out what exquisite Condiments the Condiment Co. produced, for the delectation of locals.

Edward Vielmetti said...

I'm pretty sure that Ypsilanti Condiment Co. is the pickle factory, though they made more than just pickles. the evidence:

Glen V. Mills directory (1895) lists an "Ypsilanti Condiment Co. (James P. Deubel)" at Cross St. E. near Huron River. That matches up with the location in your map.


Annual report of the Dairy and Food Commissioner of the State of Michigan, 1899 records this case:

People vs. Spencer C. Drake (Ypsilanti Condiment Co.)

Charge: selling adulterated vinegar.

Plea: guilty. Fined $50.00 and $4.50 costs



Deubel is one of the mill owners in town; couldn't find anything more about Drake.

Dusty D said...

Mr. V.: that is fascinating. I checked, following your good lead, and saw that the Ypsilanti Condiment Company's vinegar was, not only adulterated, but also below par for acidity.

You can't deny, fellow loyal Ypsilantians, that adulterated, sub-acid vinegar made from orangey-colored paper-mill river water fortified with sawdust from the Scovill sawmill on Frog Island possesses a gritty, exciting Ypsi street cred ("sprinkle it on your salad, IF YOU DARE!") that puts to shame those foofy pure vinegars (feh!)

Pass that lurid orange vinaigrette, please. Nom nom.

Lisele said...

Could very dangerous to use adulterated vinegar in food preservation, though. Without a certain level of acidity, those bad bacteria could creep in and then you'd be history -- or at least very very sick.

Dusty D said...

Lisele: That is fascinating. I didn't know that. Paralysis was the #8 cause of death in the county around the turn of the century. It's also a side effect of botulism poisoning. I do wonder if there's a connection, given primitive "open kettle" canning methods: