HISTORIC MICHIGAN: Depot Town, an Old 1800’s Village in Ypsilanti
Depot Town is a little section of Ypsilanti that was given it's name when the Ypsilanti Train Depot opened for business in 1838. Thanks to the direct connection with Detroit, the area around the depot kept growing with more and more businesses and residents.
Some of the establishments that popped up here in the 1800's include a barber shop, city hall, clothing store, farmer's market, fire department, flour mill, iron foundry, jail, saloon and the Western Hotel. Most of the buildings you see in the pictures below are the same buildings that were built between 1850-1880.
There were tunnels under the railroad tracks and blocks on Cross Street, which were used as part of the Underground Railroad as well as residences that helped hide escaping slaves.
When the 1950's rolled around and the railroad traffic decreased, Depot Town became neglected, abandoned, and deteriorated. After decades of numerous businesses coming and going within the vacant buildings, Depot Town finally got a shot in the arm in the 2000's and began its restoration and renovation. Today, it's a charming, historic place to visit, with many authentic structures to soak in. There are plenty of antique shops to peruse, restaurants, coffee shops, farmer's market, deli and three historic museums.
Some sites try to pass this district off as a 'ghost town' but I say it isn't. Yes, it was a vital, prosperous town back in the 1800's, it fell apart but it came back like the legendary Phoenix. It still stands with a healthy business district and loads of history to boot.
This is a very cool 'town' to check out as you explore and discover more & more of Michigan. Add it to your Michigan roadtrip itinerary!