Depot Town - Structures


The original Michigan Central Depot, from which the area took its name, no longer stands, but it was between the northeast side of the tracks and the west side of River Street, directly across from the freighthouse, since replaced by a parking lot. The freighthouse, built in 1878, does still stand, and the area immediately around the freighthouse is home to the Depot Town Farmers' Market, one of two farmers' markets in Ypsilanti. Also in the freighthouse courtyard, a caboose sits parallel to Rice Street.

The freighthouse was closed in 2004 due to safety concerns. In early 2009, the city of Ypsilanti and the Friends of the Ypsilanti Freighthouse received more than $600,000 for repairs to make the freighthouse usable again.

Architecturally, the 's historical significance is quite apparent. Built in the mid 18th century, the building is an excellent example of the typical downtown building block (here freestanding) with retail on the first floor and dwellings/storage on the upper floors. The masonry brick and wood beam construction was build using bricks from the Great Western Hotel that was torn down to make room for the railroad tracks. The Italianate style with arched fenestration and intricate wooden frieze was particularly popular at that time and can be observed in the few remaining buildings in Ypsilanti from that time period. Its subsequent rehabilitation and preservation would be a great asset and historical resource for not only the citizens of Ypsilanti but also an excellent example of Midwestern architecture from the 1800s for the entire country.

Craig Zehnder, 1992 research report

At the northeast corner of Cross and River Streets stands the Thompson Block, a historic building which was used as barracks in the Civil War. The Thompson Block suffered a bad fire early in the morning on September 23, 2009, and the temporary supports reaching in to adjacent streets, installed shortly after the fire to stabilize the structure, blocked westbound traffic on Cross Street for more than three months and have resulted in legal tussles between the city and the property owner.

At the southwest corner of the same intersection, the building housing Sidetrack Bar & Grill—which has held a bar and restaurant continuously since at least 1850—has an unusual shape resulting from a 1929 train derailment. On an early January morning, the twelfth car, laden with lumber, of an 85-car freight train came off the tracks and crashed into the corner of the building. The owner of the building, who lived just above the section that was hit, was uninjured, but had most of her personnel effects scattered into the street. There were only a few people near the railroad crossing when it derailed including an 18-year-old female who was knocked unconscious and a man who was sitting in his car, but was able to get away unharmed. When the current owners went to build a patio on the spot, they found some of the debris had been piled up underneath, which made it more difficult to dig post holes. In 1931, the entrance to the building was moved from the east side to its current position on the north side to accommodate a post-prohibition law requiring bar entrances to be at least 500 feet from any church. The back patio was constructed after the nearby church burned down. According to Sidetrack owner Linda French, the first-floor walls are three bricks deep, with the oldest remaining bricks dating to the 1850s.

At the southeast corner of Cross and River Streets, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum is housed in the last Hudson Motor Car Company dealership. In 1927 the business opened as "Hudson Sales & Service", becoming "Miller Motors" in 1955. After the discontinuance of the Hudson brand in 1958, Miller Moters continued as a service and parts supplier for Hudson collectors.

On the east side of River Street, south from the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum across the railroad tracks, the Mill Works Building, originally a foundry, contains the Ypsilanti Food Co-op and the River Street Bakery, owned by the co-op. On the roof of the Mill Works Building, Solar Ypsi installed 12 solar panels for the co-op in April 2009, followed by 30 panels for the bakery in 2010, producing a total of 8.3 kilowatts during peak sunlight. Data from the meters can be viewed at the Solar Ypsi website, allowing anyone to compare generation from different sites.

Most of the buildings in Depot Town are two or three stories. At the east end, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum building is a single story. East of Rice Street, the building facing Cross Street from the north is four stories, while the freighthouse behind it is a single tall story. Toward the west end of Depot Town, on both sides of Cross Street, there are several one-story structures, which are of more-recent construction than the taller buildings.

Read more about this topic:  Depot Town

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Famous quotes containing the word structures:

    The American who has been confined, in his own country, to the sight of buildings designed after foreign models, is surprised on entering York Minster or St. Peter’s at Rome, by the feeling that these structures are imitations also,—faint copies of an invisible archetype.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    The philosopher believes that the value of his philosophy lies in its totality, in its structure: posterity discovers it in the stones with which he built and with which other structures are subsequently built that are frequently better—and so, in the fact that that structure can be demolished and yet still possess value as material.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

    If there are people who feel that God wants them to change the structures of society, that is something between them and their God. We must serve him in whatever way we are called. I am called to help the individual; to love each poor person. Not to deal with institutions. I am in no position to judge.
    Mother Teresa (b. 1910)