This page is generally about the City of Ypsilanti. For a listing of all things Ypsi, check out the YpsiWiki page.
Ypsilanti is the cool city (pop: around 19,500) located at the eastern edge of Washtenaw County, between Ann Arbor and Detroit. I-94 runs across the south edge of the city, the Huron River runs north to south through the heart of the city, Michigan Avenue / US-12 runs east to west through Downtown Ypsilanti and Cross Street east to west through Depot Town. Ypsilanti is surrounded by Ypsilanti Charter Township on three sides and Superior Charter Township to the north; the area just east of the city is known as Willow Run. Eastern Michigan University sits just northwest of downtown, with Washtenaw Community College just to the west of the city. The city lies within the Ypsilanti Community Schools district.
According to Wikipedia, a trading post established on the east side of the Huron River in 1809 by Gabriel Godfroy, a French-Canadian fur trader from Montreal, was platted in 1823 as Woodruff's Grove. A separate community a short distance away on the west side of the river was established in 1825 under the name "Ypsilanti", after Demetrius Ypsilanti, a hero in the Greek war for independence.
Many Ann Arborites look down on (or are afraid of) Ypsi, while Ypsi pride tends to include a large measure of "we're not Ann Arbor yuppies". Ypsi is where Ann Arborites go when they want to live dangerously, get a hamburger at The Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Depot Town, or a nice plate of meat at Haab's on Michigan Avenue.
Ypsilanti has been known as one of the most tolerant and progressive communities in Michigan. In the early 1970s, along with neighboring city of Ann Arbor, the citizens reduced the penalty for simple possession of marijuana to $5 with the campaign slogan "5 is fine" (the Ypsilanti Marijuana Initiative; see also the Human Rights Party). This fine was raised in the early 1980s to $25 in both Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.
In the 1990s Ypsilanti became the first city in Michigan to pass a living wage ordinance.
Ypsilanti's reputation for tolerance was validated in the late 1990s after the city adopted an ordinance to ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of s-xual orientation, gender identity/transgender status, race, body weight (i.e., being obese or underweight), religious affiliation, country of origin and several other categories. Two ballot measures to repeal the ordinance were led and bankrolled by conservative advocates, including Tom Monaghan. The first challenge to the ordinance took place in 1998; the second attempted to alter the city charter to outlaw ordinances protecting gay people and took place in 2002. Both measures failed, the second by 67% against the amendment to 33% for it.
Ypsilanti has the third largest historic district in the State of Michigan, after Detroit and Grand Rapids, and is home to a number of annual events, including the Michigan ElvisFest and the Michigan Summer Beer Festival.
From Ann Arbor, get there via Washtenaw Avenue or Packard Street; AATA Route 3, AATA Route 4, AATA Route 5, and AATA Route 6 all run from downtown Ann Arbor to downtown Ypsi. The Border to Border Trail connects the two cities for bicyclists and joggers.
Online Ypsi is a decent competitor to online Ann Arbor, with a number of well-known and civically active bloggers and projects such as the Ypsi Crime Maps; the militant wing of the Ypsi blog scene relocated to Hamtramck in January 2005, taking its internet-streaming police scanner with it.
- Wikipedia: Ypsilanti, Michigan