Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Arrangements for free postal delivery are assuming definite shape. The city will be divided into four districts, and the following persons have been appointed as mail carriers: Wm. R. Shier, Samuel Fletcher, W. B. Eddy, and Walter L. Fuller, with Wm. Scoville as substitute. --Item in May 31, 1889 Ypsilanti Commercial newspaper
IT is told of a young gentleman, whom a maiden liked but her father didn't, that at a reasonable hour the old gent mildly intimated that the time for retiring had arrived. "I think you are correct," answered the nineteenth century, modestly. "We have been waiting over an hour for you to put yourself in your little bed." The father retired thoughtfully. --Item in the May 31, 1878 Ypsilanti Commercial newspaper

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rev. Edward Werner
Had his examination in Detroit for using old Postage stamps, and was bound over to appear on his own recognizance. The Rev. gentleman has fled the coop. --Item in the May 27, 1871 Ypsilanti Commercial newspaper

Riverside Park Flood, 5/26/11

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Indianapolis, Ind.--Wm. H. Brown, president of the Brown-Ketcham Iron Works, one of the well-known business men of Indianapolis, has been treating his fine carriage horse by Christian Science to cure lockjaw. When asked yesterday if he had resorted to Christian Science methods to cure the animal, he said, "I resort to prayer in all my sorrows."

The police were called to his home to investigate a case of alleged cruelty to animals. They ascertained that the horse had been suffering for several days from lockjaw, and that Mr. Brown had been trying to cure it by faith.

Mrs. Brown informed the police that her husband had been praying daily for the recovery of the animal as he has as much faith in Christian Science as in the solidity of a mountain. They were informed that a veterinarian had been called, but that Mr. Brown had broken all the bottles of medicine that had been left, as Mrs. Brown declared that he was absolutely confident that prayers would save the horse.

The humane officers were notified, and have charge of the case. --May 25, 1904 Ypsilanti Evening Press

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tonybumpkins & Co.

Hey! How many times have you wondered what the popular dog names were in Ypsilanti a century ago?

102 years ago, to be precise.

Well, hold onto your seat. I will tell you this thing. These are from a list of dogs whose owners followed the local law and got their dogs a license...there was an intermittent rabies scare that long-ago spring and summer, with one kid bundled off to U-M for rabies treatment, which was fairly painful in those days.

Anyways, who's a good boy? Whooo's a gooood booooooooyyy?

Beaut, Bess, Bettie, Bing, Doc, Don, Gil, Jack, another Jack, Jim, John, Lassie, Nellie, Piker, Queen, Rab, Riley, Rover, Sheriff, Stub, Sugar, Teddy, Tip, Tobias, Toby, Tonybumpkins, Trey, and Willie (one of our dog's names!).

--July 13, 1909 Ypsilanti Daily Press
A new baby boy at the home of Chas. Seegar, the Huron Street barber. We understand that 377 people have asked Charlie if the baby is a "little shaver."

A new nine pound baby girl has lived with Prof. and Mrs. D'Ooge since Tuesday last. She is believed to be proficient in ancient languages, as all she has so far said has been "Greek."

--Items in the May 24, 1889 Ypsilanti Commercial newspaper.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Plane, a Saw, and a Mannequin

This photo from the Archives is labeled only "student group in basement." It appears to show a group of women posing with a small number of various woodworking tools. On the blackboard the words "Rules for Pharmacy" can be discerned. In the foreground a mannequin is dressed in a dress and bonnet and labeled "B. Beedle" (whom I couldn't find in a cursory search of city directories). The girls seem to be college age and it's tempting to assume they are Normal students, but it's impossible to know, as it is impossible to discern what they are doing in this room.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bonesteel, S. D. --John Herron, a homesteader north of here, thought to evade the federal laws limiting one family to one claim of 160 acres. Though two children had been born to his wife he was not deterred. A divorce was received and then his wife was free to take out another claim of 160 acres which she did, taking the quarter adjoining Herron's. They built a house so that half was on the woman's claim and half on the man's. Then they lived, each on the claim taken,but were under the same roof and the childen were as well cared for. They were to remarry when the woman secured her patent and the family would be $6,000 ahead. When all seemed lovely a neighbor, whose name is unobtainable, began courting the woman, and now she has married him in the helpless indignation of Herron, who has lost both wife and land. --May 10, 1904 Ypsilanti Evening Press

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It is very convenient for the people who wish to ride down from the Normal on the motor, to have it wait for them until they are ready to go. But for citizens who wish to ride down in their carriages, it is not an unmitigated pleasure to find the road blockaded by said motor for five or ten minutes, as was the case after the Wednesday evening concert. It is a thing which would be tolerated only in Ypsilanti, even Ann Arbor would rebel against the monopoly of her highway by her street cars. She does not so much as permit the motor to enter the city. Could not the "tooter" be stopped either above or below the crossing, and thus avoid nnoyance to the driving population of the town? --May 9, 1895 Ypsilantian

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wm. Travis was standing on his wagon seat east end Forest avenue bridge, Wednesday morning, clearing out the street lamp, when the horse started. His coat was caught in the wheel, and by the time the west end of the bridge was reached, he was minus his coat, and had received injuries on the head, hands, and hip, and was "shuck up" generally. --Item in the May 20, 1882 Ypsilanti Commercial newspaper

The First Bris in Ypsilanti

This May 20, 1905 Ypsilanti Daily Press article marks the birth of the first Jewish child born in Ypsilanti.

The celebration described here is actually likely the 8th-day bris ceremony at which the baby is circumcised, though the story omits that part.

This story interested me because it produced an "ohhh, yeah...." moment of realizing that in 1905, there were no synagogues in Ypsilanti. You can see that the family even had to import a rabbi from Detroit to preside over the ceremony. Given that Ypsi had Eastern European immigrants, it's likely there were other Jewish people in town...was there a minyan, the quorum of ten Jewish males needed to conduct services? If so, where did the men gather? It's nigh impossible to know; the census never recorded religious affiliation, though it certainly pried into other very personal areas of people's lives over the years.

The tone of this article is respectful, and the level of detail implies that there was a reporter present, versus a post facto report delivered to the paper. Taken together, this may imply that Judaism was not looked down upon or discriminated against in town. This is in stark contrast to the manner in which Catholics were treated in the paper a mere fifty or so years earlier, by Protestant editors who hated the idea of supposed sons of liberty in America subjugating their hard-won free will to a foreign authority.

Edited text of article: "What is said to have been the first ceremonial of this kind according to the full Jewish rites was performed yesterday at the home of Mr. Samuel Raport, 204 North Street, when his 8-day-old son was given the name of Edward, according to the Jewish service and creed, the rites of the church being performed by Rabbi A. Rubiner of Detroit, who came here for the purpose.

"Mr. and Mrs. Raport came to Ypsilanti about three months and Mr. Raport is in the employ of Mr. Thompson and is a paper hanger by trade and as he proudly announced, a member of the union.

"Yesterday, however, was a gala day in the little home and after the formal ceremony a feast was served to the participants, at which wines of choice vintage and various sweetmeats took a conspicuous place.

"Never was an 8-day babe better provided with sponsors than Master Edward, for in addition to the official witnesses of the naming he was further provided with three godfathers and a godmother. . . "

"Master Edward Raport has the honor of being the first child of Jewish parents born in Ypsilanti and although he has a small sister and still smaller brother, they claim the Empire State as their native heath. The young gentleman was the recipient of some pretty presents, among them being some beautiful dresses from his godmother."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Now on Sale at 128 Michigan Ave.

E. M. Comstock's, run by Edgar M and Charles F Comstock, dealt in dry goods, carpets, window shades, oilcloths, curtains, and curtain rods. This ad is from the May 17, 1889 Ypsilanti Commercial.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kalamazoo, Mich.--The marriage of Julia Damon and Henry Chamberlain, which occurred last week, has presented some interesting developments. Chamberlain was a peanut vendor, nearly a pauper. Proceedings for license ejectment had been started against him by the city council. Miss Damon, 30 years old, is a heavy property holder here and has considerable capital in local banks. The couple are spending their honeymoon in Chicago. Tacked in front of the vendor's old stand is the placard, "Closed: am on honeymoon." Chamberlain is 69 years old. --May 10, 1904 Ypsilanti Evening Press.

Postcards from the Archive

Gymnasium, Michigan State Normal College.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Everybody Come and Enjoy the Re-union with the Boys.

This rainy evening marks the 107th anniversary of a special day in Ypsilanti: the 5th reunion of Michigan veterans of the Spanish-American War. In addition to the Ypsi boys, there were vets from Ann Arbor, Jackson, Detroit, and elsewhere in Michigan. You can read more and see their portraits here.

The Leonard Cleanable Refrigerator

Best in the world. Great ice saver. Made of ash, with beautiful antique finish. Five walls for preserving ice, viz: 1st, zinc lining; 2nd, lining of building paper; 3d, inside box; 4th, charcoal filling; 5th outside case. Patet lock and hinge plates genuine bronze, non-rustable; removable flues; improved ice rack; solid metal shelves; new system of ventilation by interior circulation.

Insist on having the Leonard Cleanable. For sale only by Clayton, Lambert & Co., this city.

--Advertised for sale in the May 17, 1889 Ypsilanti Commercial
Allie Neal, the man who created a disturbance here a few nights ago and later attempted to hang himself in the county jail in Ann Arbor, was discharged from jail yesterday and ordered to quit the county. The city physician pronounced Neal a dope fiend and the county officers took strong measures to rid themselves of the man. He has a mother residing in the south. --May 13, 1905 Ypsilanti Daily Press

You've Been Warned

--May 17, 1909 Ypsilanti Daily Press

Monday, May 16, 2011

Boarding at Rollins

This is an interesting bit of evidence from an era when many adults rented a room in someone's home or in a rooming house as their residence. Around this time there was even a short-lived single-panel cartoon called "Room and Board" (the "board" being an old term for the table).

Roomers in boarding houses sometimes got meals in the house (especially true of Normal students around campus) but others fended for themselves. This restaurant offered a meal plan for roomers. $3 in 1905 would be about $72 today.

--May 15, 1905 Ypsilanti Daily Press

The Year of Peaches

Photo inscription: "Taken in the first big year of peaches. The horse: Old Kit. Dog: Old Tom. Mort, Maud, Margaret, Duane Crittenden, Ellis Rd., 1912."

Ellis Rd. is the old name of Washtenaw when it approached Ypsilanti. In this picture, if it were taken in 1912, Mortimer is 42, his wife Maud is 39, daughter Margaret is 11 and son Duane is 9. Maud had had 2 children and both had survived. Their farm was on the west side of Ypsilanti somewhere outside the city limits.

No info on the man in the background, likely a farmhand. Based offhand from the market reports I've read in papers from around this time I'd guess these peaches might fetch around 45 cents a bushel more or less. This crop apparently warranted an expensive photo...why? Had Mortimer taken a big risk in buying this farm and was triumphant that his orchards were producing? He wanted someone to remember, and we do, his first big year of peaches.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Whither the Whister Sisters?

In 1901 or 1902 the Ypsilanti Whist Club rented this fancy livery getup from the Palace Livery in Ann Arbor and posed in their finery for a photo by Ann Arbor's Randall photography studio.

These are the wives of some of Ypsilanti's businessmen. They could not vote and likely most of them did not work outside the home--they didn't need to, and only a few acceptable jobs for women were available to women in general. Several of them likely had servants at home. To fill their days they participated in church groups and church socials, likely the Ladies' Home Association charity organization, maybe a temperance group. And they played card games like whist.

There is some degree of pathos? in that this photo to all appearances looks like one taken to commemorate an important occasion--the founding of a local school for girls, say, or a delegation elected as representatives to travel to Lansing and campaign for a women's issue. Yet it was only a card club; for this seemingly trivial occasion you can see the women spent considerable pains dressing in their finest. Their lives were very circumscribed by today's standards. It must have been hard to have been an intelligent woman in that day and to be forced to find or invent dignity in participating in and dressing up elaborately for a card club.

The people in the front seat from left to right are Mrs. E. W. Matthews, Mrs. S. H. Tepper, and "Mrs. Henry." Other ladies pictured include Mrs. L. M. James, Hattie Benistub (sp?), Mrs. Carlos Childs, and Mrs. H. R. Scovill. Click on the last photo for a giant version.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

One of Ypsi's More Unusual Products

Nothing says comfy cozy slipper like a swastika.

These were made in Ypsilanti--in Depot Town, in fact.

But why?! And by whom?

And why were they advertised in national magazines?

Find out in the Chronicle; thanks to them!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Past and Present: Hudson Dealership

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

For solid comfort, inside and out, you can't beat the genuine Indian Moccasin.

A 1913 ad from Outing Magazine for the moccasins made by the forgotten Ypsi company the Indian Shoe Company. There'll be a story about it in this Thursday's Courier; be sure to grab a copy (to support your hometown paper!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

It is understood that Judge Kinne can now give direct evidence as to the perverseness of the bicycle. As a judge of course, he knows that hearsay evidence is no good in court, and he naturally desired to get posted on the subject. It is hearsay evidence that he succeeded. --Item in the May 9, 1895 Ypsilantian newspaper.

Neighborhood Budget

The late-19th-century Ypsilantian newspaper ran a column called "The Neighborhood Budget." It comprised a hodgepodge of random news tidbits, many culled from other papers across the state with whom the Ypsilantian had an exchange.

Here are a few of the May 5, 1895 tidbits that editor W. M. Osband saw fit to share with his readers:

"An exchange says: A minister annoyed by tobacco chewing, thus spoke to his congregation: "Take your cud of tobacco out of your mouth on entering the house of God, and lay it gently down on the side of the sidewalk or on the fence. It will positively be there when you go out, for no rat will touch it, neither will a hog; you are certain of your cud when you go after it. Not the filthiest vermin of the earth will touch it.

"Might not the same advice apply to young ladies whose communion with the saints apparently is measured by the persistency with which they chew their cuds of gum during divine service.

"Ludington is credited with a bicycle riding ghost."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Birth of Ford Lake

Ford Lake was born early in the Depression, and here was one of the first steps: closing the old north-south Tuttle Hill Road then crossing what is now the middle of the lake. The old Tuttle Hill Road that once crossed over the river now crosses the Ford Lake lakebottom, traveled only by carp--or long since covered in ooze.

It happened this time of year in 1932: this article is from the May 8, 1932 Ypsi Daily Press. Construction of a temporary coffer dam had taken place the previous October. Once dammed, the level of Ford Lake rose slowly over the spring, summer, and early fall of 1932.

Take a look at the original Tuttle Hill Road and its little bridge over the pre-Ford Lake Huron River. This plat map is from 1915. The area where the river meanders back and forth, and a section downstream from that, is the region referred to in the above article as the "flats." Old Tuttle Hill Road is marked in pink. Farmlands belonging to members of the Tuttle family, ancestors of whom were landowners here from the earliest days of county settlement, are marked in yellow.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Postcards from the Archive

Horticultural Gardens, Michigan State Normal College.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Early 19th-Century Ypsi Photo Censorship

This is a 1917 photo of D. L. Quirk, son of the well-known bank founder. Father and son both had large mansions, still standing, on North Huron St. Daniel Jr. was well-known for his love of the theater and the performing world. He often had theater performers or circus performers as guests in his home. Here he is participating in "Alley Festa," a onetime downtown street festival.

Daniel Jr. is seen here in blackface, in line with the longtime (and, thankfully, onetime) popularity of minstrel-type performers. Minstrel shows were quite popular in Ypsi a century ago, as elsewhere. I've read accounts of minstrel shows at the Normal school, or performed by local Masons/other fraternal groups, or performed by traveling troupes and shown in venues on Michigan Avenue.

This picture is interesting in that it shows some serious tampering done by the photographer. It took me a while to see it. Can you spot it? Why do you think it was done?

Thanks, Absolute Michigan! :)

Hey, thank you, Absolute Michigan, for reposting the photo I found in the Archives of the mysterious laughing group! And hi to the folks who came here from AM! (waves)!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Past and Present: Luna Lake

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

From the November 10, 1931 Minutes of the Home Association Monthly Meeting

Long before state or federal relief or welfare programs, Ypsilanti's Home Association--founded in 1857--provided food, fuel, and clothing to the needy in town. Some of the most prominent women in town were members. Their meeting-books with notes from the late 19th century up through the Depression are preserved in the Archives, and offer a rare glimpse of the juxtaposition of the upper and the lower classes in town.

Despite its best intentions, sometimes the H.A. could do only little.

"Mrs. Converse told a sad story of the unemployed--a man and family [with] 3 children who walked from Indiana hoping to receive help or work in Mich & was returning disappointed. Mrs. Converse's father fed them and Mrs. Converse gave them $3.00 [$43 in 2010 dollars] to buy more food."

"Them".....the children walked along as well. And all the way home again.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Postcards from the Archive

Monday, May 2, 2011

Owing to the rapid increase in the demand for their famous Root Cutters and Grass Seeders, O. E. Thompson & Sons find it necessary again to enlarge their manufactory, and are now laying the foundation for an addition, 20 x 40 feet, two stories high, which when finished will give them for business purposes a full half acre of floor space. Their market for Grass Seeders and Root Cutters has wonderfully increased during the past two years, and the prospect for the next season is brighter than ever. The public appreciates good things and the Thompsons have them sure. --Item in the May 2, 1895 Ypsilantian newspaper.

Can't Believe He Said That

Tree and Bird Day

In 1924, the governor of Michigan urged residents to devote May 2 to tree-planting, in the hope "that the date mark the beginning of the greatest tree planting ever conducted in the state."

It wasn't the founding of Arbor Day, though the man who founded it, Julius Sterling Morton, grew up in Monroe County, Michigan and was a student at--but not a graduate from--the University of Michigan. He moved to Nebraska and in 1872, he began the campaign of tree-planting that resulted in today's Arbor Day.

Oh, and the name of the Michigan governor Tree and Bird Day booster?

Alex Groesbeck.

--April 17, 1924 Ypsilanti Record