Historic Walking Tour

Historic Commercial District Walking Tours

The City in partnership with the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority have assembled several self-guided walking tours and historic sites of interest where we invite you to enjoy the beautiful architecture and history of our community. Three tour documents below are guided walking tours of the three historic commercial districts, Downtown, Depot Town, and West Cross.

We also have a series of architectural highlights of North and South Huron Streets. These buildings are for viewing only from the outside - they are current residences, so please respect their owners' property and privacy.

Walking Tours of the Historic Commercial Districts

    Historic Downtown Walking Tour 
    Downtown Walking Tour Map

    Historic Depot Town Walking Tour
    Depot Town Walking Tour Map

    Historic West Cross Walking Tour
    West Cross Walking Tour Map

    Architectural Highlights of S Huron Street

    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. 
    2. 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. (Go south on Huron Street to Catherine Street. Cross Huron Street and proceed north looking for hearts on the sidewalk to indicate stops.)
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

    Architectural Highlights- N Huron Street- West Side

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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. (
    4. 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.

    Architectural Highlights- N Huron Street- East Side

    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.)

    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

    Other Historical Tours/Resources in Ypsilanti

    History stretches beyond our Historic Commercial Districts. 

    South Adams Street @ 1900 - Historic Black Neighborhood centered at the corner of South Adams and Buffalo Streets. Created by Matthew Siegfried as a Masters Project of Eastern Michigan University's Historic Preservation Program in 2014 and continues as a work in progress.

    Ypsilanti Historical Society - Public Archives and Museum.  Museum visits include a tour of a prominent 19th Century Ypsilanti household and special exhibits from two centuries of Ypsilanti history.