Historic Walking Tour

Historic Ypsilanti Walking Tour
Welcome to A Walking Tour of Historic Ypsilanti, where we invite you to enjoy the beautiful architecture and history of our community. These buildings are for viewing only from the outside - they are current residences, so please respect their owners' property and privacy.

First Tour
  1. 103 S Huron Street - Parish House Inn. This Queen Anne-style house was built in 1893 by the First Congregational Church on North Adams Street. It was the home of their ministers until the 1950s, then used as a Sunday School until 1984. In 1987, the house was moved to this location and totally renovated in 1993 to become the Parish House Inn Bed and Breakfast. (Go south on Huron Street to Catherine Street. Cross Huron Street and proceed north looking for hearts on the sidewalk to indicate stops.)
  2. 220 S Huron Street - Barnes/Newton Residence. Built circa 1879 for Samuel Barnes, vice president of Peninsular Paper, this house is in the Italianate Style. It received extensive remodeling by Charles Newton, chief buyer for Greenfield Village, in the 1930s and 1940s to reflect his interest in the Classical Revival Style.
  3. 212 S. Huron Street - Griffin Residence. This distinctive stone house, which defies a particular style, has elements of Queen Anne and perhaps Tudor influences. Note the slate roof and the beautiful relief carving above the front porch entry. Owner Darwin Griffin, a local attorney, completed this house in 1905.
  4. 206 S Huron Street - Childs Residence. This home represents the Eastlake Style. It was built by Louis Childs, a local florist and grain dealer, sometime between 1873 and 1878. A multiple dwelling for much of its life since the early 1950s, the building is being restored by the present owner.
  5. 202 S Huron Street - Larzelere Residence. In 1830, this Federal-style house was built in two stages: front and back. It rests on heavy oak beams, and the basement is paved in brick which, it is believed, may have been imported from France. Pioneers Jacob and Abraham Larzelere owned this house.
Second Tour
  1. 114 S Huron Street - J.F. Sanders Residence. The beautiful porch details and turret make this delicate Queen Anne home circa 1890 a distinctive addition to the street scape of Ypsilanti. It belonged to Josiah F. Sanders, a downtown merchant and developer. (As you look east and west along Michigan Avenue, you see historic downtown Ypsilanti. Cross Michigan Avenue and continue north.)
  2. 119-121 N. Huron Street - Watling Dental Clinic/House. These elaborate mid-Victorian buildings once were the office and home of dentist Drive. John Watling. It was built around 1872 and represents the Tuscan variety of the Italianate Style. Mrs. Watling helped found the Ladies Library Association, and her husband was instrumental in the establishment of the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan.
  3. 125 N Huron Street - Ballard/Breakey House. The original structure was a modest Federal-style house of brick and stone built in 1830. The massive Doric columns were added in the 1840s. The house is listed in the Historic American Buildings Survey. Mr. Ballard was Mayor of Ypsilanti, and Drive. Breakey was a judge.
  4. 203 N Huron Street - Cornwell Residence. This Georgian/Queen Anne-style residence was said to be the largest example of its type between Detroit and Chicago. Built in 1883 by Cornelius Cornwell, a local pulp mill owner, it boasted the first telephone in Ypsilanti. (Cross Huron Street to continue the tour.)
  5. 120 N Huron Street - St. Luke's Episcopal Church. One of the many interesting church buildings in our community, this mid-Victorian Gothic Revival building dates back to 1858 and is Ypsilanti's oldest existing church. Eventually the parish hopes to reinstall the spire and bell, removed in 1971 due to building stress. A garth, or memorial garden, is also located here.
Third Tour
  1. 130 N Huron Street - Starkweather Home/Ladies Library. This Italianate-style home was built in 1858 by local merchant Edwin Mills. It was later occupied by Mary Ann Starkweather until she gave it to the Ladies Library Association in 1890. It was used as a library until 1964.
  2. 206 N Huron Street - Showerman/Quirk Residence. Note the hipped slate roof and Italianate window hoods on this home built in 1863 by Delos Showerman, sawmill operator and builder. The Daniel Quirk family added the large north addition and the neoclassical detailing in 1909.
  3. 214 N Huron Street - Andrews/Drury/Thompson House. This Italianate-style Victorian frame house has served as the Ypsilanti Teen Center as well as a counseling center and classroom site for Washtenaw Community College. It was built in 1851 by Frederick Andrews and has housed many families since, including Mayor Cheryl Farmer.
  4. 220 N Huron Street - Ypsilanti Historical Museum. This former brick mansion of the Dow family, built in 1860, has been home to the Historical Museum and Archives since 1970. Several rooms have been furnished to represent gracious homes of the Victorian period. Visitors are welcome between 2pm and 4pm on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  5. 300 N Huron Street - D.L. Quirk Sr. Residence. A rare example of the Second Empire Style, this 1860 home was built for Daniel L. Quirk. It features a mansard roof. In 1914, it was donated to the city and served as the City Hall until 1977. (Turn right on Cross Street and proceed east. Note the original city hall at 6 W Cross St.)
Fourth Tour
  1. Historic Depot Town. This is a restored shopping area.
  2. Riverside Park. This park in the heart of downtown Ypsilanti is ideal for strolling, picnicking, or fishing along the Huron River. (Follow the path to the red footbridge to Michigan Avenue. Turn right on Michigan Avenue and proceed west to Huron Street.)
  3. One S. Huron Street (at Michigan) - City Hall/Ypsilanti Savings Bank. This building, built in 1887 at a cost of $20,000, originally possessed a steeply pitched roof of slate. The city offices were moved to this site in 1977. The restoration project was completed in 2000. (Turn left on Huron Street to finish your tour.)
Other Interesting Historical Places in Ypsilanti
  • Water Tower - Located at the corner of West Cross and Washtenaw Avenue, this landmark water tower (originally known as the Water Works Sand Pipe) was a part of the Ypsilanti water system installed in 1889, which included 85,580 feet of pipe.
  • Old Ypsilanti Fire House - in 1873, Ypsilanti's fire department was formed. For $7,150 the building at the corner of Washington and Cross streets was completed in 1898. In 1916 the first motor-driven apparatus was purchased. It is currently a privately-owned antique auto/truck/fire museum.
  • Preston Tucker Home - The unique 1948 Tucker Torpedo, "car of tomorrow," was designed by Ypsilanti resident Preston Tucker. His home can be seen at 110 N. Park Street.
  • Hutchinson Mansion (600 N River) - The famous Hutchinson mansion, former home to one of the SandH Green Stamp magnates, features a mixture of Queen Anne, Tudor, Revival and Craftsman styles. Currently, it is the site of High/Scope, the world famous educational research foundation.
  • Eastern Michigan University - The birth of Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) in 1849 had a profound impact on Ypsilanti when the State Legislature selected it as the site for the new teacher training school. Located along Cross and Forest