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About the Ypsilanti Historical Society

The Historical Committee In 1959 Louis S. White petitioned the Ypsilanti City Council to establish a Historical Committee and appoint a City Historian. On April 18, 1960, City Resolution #60-143 was adopted unanimously, creating the office of City Historian and establishing a Historical Committee. The following individuals were appointed to five-year terms on the Committee: Rodney E. Hutchinson; Wesley H. Dawson; Ruth L. Shaw; Curtiss D. Bassett; and Yvonne Williams. At the time, Mayor Rodney Hutchinson arranged for the use of rooms on the second floor of the Municipal Court Building at 206 North Huron. It was at this location where systems were established to receive and record historical items and where the original “Obituary Collection” was established.

The Ypsilanti Historical Society: The Historical Committee formed the Ypsilanti Historical Society in late 1960. In 1961 the following officers were elected: Foster L. Fletcher, President; John Elwell, Vice President; Mrs. Oramel L. Ennen, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Carl Miller, Corresponding Secretary; and Harry L. Smith, Treasurer. At the time Fletcher also served as a member of the Washtenaw County Historical Society, the Historical Society of Michigan, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Ypsilanti Historical Museum & Archives: In 1965, the basement of the Public Library at 229 West Michigan Avenue was renovated with financial help from the City of Ypsilanti and the physical efforts of William Edmunds, Kenneth Leighton, and Society President Phoebe Miller. For the first time it was possible to have material displays and a room that could be locked for the safekeeping of the historical archives. In 1966 the City of Ypsilanti purchased the beautiful 1860 Italianate home at 220 North Huron Street. In 1970 the City authorized the Society to use the structure as a Museum and public historical archive and all the historical artifacts and information were moved to this new location. In 2006 the Ypsilanti Historical Society purchased the property at 220 North Huron Street from the City of Ypsilanti and continues to operate the Museum and Archives at this location.