Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ypsilanti, Really?

Hi All!

In lab yesterday, I was watching a video in which people fingerspelled different geographical locations. You know, cities, states, road names, etc. I had to read the names correctly and tell a lab assistant. If I got the name right, I could move on to the next example on the video. If I got it wrong I had to rewind and watch the spelling again .

Well, I am getting pretty darn good at the whole receptive thing. I got pretty much every single example correct. I was cruising. Until I got to example number 23.

Example number 23 showed a man telling where his mother lived. I tried and tried and tried to figure out what in the world this man was spelling. For the life of me, I just COULD NOT figure out where this guy's mother lived.

I watched that segment over and over . . . and over . . . and over . . . and over. I was really stumped.

Luckily, after my nine millionth attempt to figure out the city name, the lab assistant told me. It was Ypsilanti.

Ypsilanti? Where in the world? The lab assistant had no idea where this city was either. I wrote the name down and then decided to look it up on the computer when I got home.

Imagine my surprise when I googled Ypsilanti and found out it is in Michigan and is actually very important in automotive history! It is where the Tucker Torpedo was born. It is the home of the Kaiser cars. Of course, I only know about the whole Tucker car thing from the movies and Kaiser cars . . . never heard of them but I guess the company was bought and eventually became GM.

Ypsilanti? Who invented that name?


Editor's Note: I am sure that Ypsilanti is a WONDERFUL place to live and full of interesting things. It is the home of Eastern Michigan University and I really don't want any college students thinking I am "dissing" the place. I had simply never heard of it and the spelling, you must admit, is a bit wacky!

Voice Update: Today is a day when I don't feel like talking . . . to anyone for any reason! My voice is doing well but I just don't feel like making the effort. Who would ever think that talking was an effort? Welcome to the SD world, my friends. Welcome!


Mental P Mama said...

I think it's Native American name. That class sounded interesting;)

noble pig said...

Wow, what's the origin? I thought only the Polish put letters together like that.

Asthmagirl said...

I never heard of it either.

I can't imagine it being too much trouble to talk. Only because I have been so short of breath that I don't have enough air to finish a sentence. Times like that, I wish I knew ASL like you!

Anonymous said...


Come visit Ypsilanti anytime!

Paul Schreiber
City of Ypsilanti, Michigan

Building Place said...

Ypsilanti is named after General Demetrios Ypsilanti, a prominent figure in the struggle for Greek independence from Turkey around the time that Ypsilanti was founded in the 1820s. We have a statue of the General near our historic water tower.

Everything Greek was a huge fad in the 1820s (as evidenced by the number of Greek Revival buildings from this period), which is likely why our town's founders were intrigued by the General.

Other fun facts? There are two other towns named "Ypsilanti" in the U.S. - one out west and one down south, both apparently named after our "original" in Michigan.

For more about community planning, zoning, and local economic development, visit Building Place at

Stephanie Jensen said...

Ypsilanti is named for a Greek general, Demetrius Ypsilantis.


EMU Alumna, '98 and '08

Spencer said...

According to Wikipedia (and this matches what I have heard locally):

Originally a trading post established in 1809 by Gabriel Godfroy, a French-Canadian fur trader from Montreal, a permanent settlement was established on the east side of the Huron River in 1823 by Major Thomas Woodruff. It was incorporated into the Territory of Michigan as the village 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 of Independence. Woodruff's Grove changed its name to Ypsilanti in 1829, and the two communities eventually merged.

Steven said...

Ypsilanti was named after Demetrius Ypsilanti, a hero in the Greek War of Independence. There is a bust of him between Greek and American flags at the base of the town's infamous Water Tower.

Tom Brandt said...

I live in Ann Arbor just down the road from Ypsilanti (Ypsi for short). It's a great place.