John Nick Pappas


John Nick Pappas

John Pappas was born in Detroit, the son of Greek immigrants. Growing up Greek was his first language and he served as an altar boy in the Greek Church.

Rights Held By: 
Ypsilanti Historical Society



Transporting The John Pappas 1978 Sculpture


Transporting The John Pappas 1978 Sculpture

A huge crane and four flat bed trucks were needed to get the thirteen bronze figures moved from the Pappas Studio to the Blue Cross Blue Shield location in Detroit.

Rights Held By: 
Ypsilanti Historical Society



Wicker Rocking Chair, circa 1830-1900


Wicker Rocking Chair, circa 1830-1900

Wicker Rocking Chair, circa 1830-1900 (Wicker with scrolls on back).

Rights Held By: 
Ypsilanti Historical Society



Low-Back Armchair, circa 1850-1900


Low-Back Armchair, circa 1850-1900

Low-Back Armchair, circa 1850-1900 (Lowest back chair photographed).

Rights Held By: 
Ypsilanti Historical Society



Boston Rocker, circa 1840


Boston Rocker, circa 1840

Boston Rocker, circa 1840 from Starkweather family (Black rocker with stencils on back and seat).

Rights Held By: 
Ypsilanti Historical Society



Museum Advisory Board Report

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: Nancy Wheeler, Board Chair

Charles Kettles was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1967. A display to honor him will be dedicated at the General Meeting on Sept. 27, 2:00 p.m. The display is located in the Edmonds-Ypsilanti Room.

The quilt exhibit will be held September 13 thru September 26. At least 85 quilts are scheduled to be on display. This is always a beautiful exhibit. Thank you to Sara VanderMeulen and her committee.

An exhibit of 25 chairs is now ready throughout the Museum. We have many styles dating from the 1800’s. The history of each style is included in the descriptions. Be sure to see the Boston Rocker once owned by the Starkweather family.

Rita Sprague and Midge Fahndrich have asked to be replaced on the Museum Advisory Board. Both have served in many capacities for years and will be greatly missed. Both will continue to docent and work on special projects. Thank you Rita and Midge!

More than 50 volunteers helped to present our beautiful Museum to the public during the Heritage Festival. Will you help next year? Will you help us before then? Call 734-482-4990 and Volunteer.


Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Boston Rocker, circa 1840 from Starkweather family (Black rocker with stencils on back and seat).

Photo 2: Low-Back Armchair, circa 1850-1900 (Lowest back chair photographed).

Photo 3: Wicker Rocking Chair, circa 1830-1900 (Wicker with scrolls on back).

Clone of From the President’s Desk

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: Alvin E. Rudisill

We have installed a “Charles S. Kettles” display in the Edmunds/Ypsilanti Room in the Museum. Lt. Colonel Kettles served during the Vietnam War and is currently being considered for the Medal of Honor. The program at our 2:00 pm, September 27th, Membership Meeting will be presented by Bill Nickels and will feature the service of Lt. Colonel Kettles. The display will be dedicated following the program and meeting. Make sure you place the September 27th Membership Meeting on your calendar.

The YHS Museum and Archives was part of the “Walking Tour of Historical Sites” that took place at the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival. Many people toured the museum and archives and had their “ticket” punched so they would be eligible for the tour prizes. First prize was $1,000 and second prize was a $500 golf and weekend stay at the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor Marriott Hotel.

We are looking for authors to contribute articles for the Gleanings. With the passing of prolific authors Phil Barnes and Tom Dodd it has been somewhat of a struggle to gather the number of stories we need to fill the available space. Please call me at 734-476-6658 or email me at al@rudisill.ws if you are interested in submitting a story or in becoming one of our regular contributors.

One of our new projects in the Archives is to transcribe the many “Oral History” audio tapes that have been produced over the years by YHS members and many others, including A. P. Marshall who produced a series on African American history in Ypsilanti. Alice Calder started this project a couple of years ago and now volunteer Sam Smaltz has taken on the responsibility. A new collection titled “Oral Histories” will be established and the printed version of each audio tape along with the actual audio tape will be placed in a folder in a file cabinet.

I want to thank all of the volunteers who serve on our boards, docent in the Museum, provide services in our Archives, or provide other services to the Ypsilanti Historical Society. Without their efforts it would be impossible to provide the many services available through the Society.


Photo Captions:

Photo 1: The display case in the Edmunds/Ypsilanti Room featuring the military service of Lt. Colonel Charles Kettles.

Lt. Colonel Charles S. Kettles Display


Lt. Colonel Charles S. Kettles Display

The display case in the Edmunds/Ypsilanti Room featuring the military service of Lt. Colonel Charles Kettles.

Rights Held By: 
Ypsilanti Historical Society



From the President’s Desk

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: Alvin E. Rudisill

We have installed a “Charles S. Kettles” display in the Edmunds/Ypsilanti Room in the Museum. Lt. Colonel Kettles served during the Vietnam War and is currently being considered for the Medal of Honor. The program at our 2:00 pm, September 27th, Membership Meeting will be presented by Bill Nickels and will feature the service of Lt. Colonel Kettles. The display will be dedicated following the program and meeting. Make sure you place the September 27th Membership Meeting on your calendar.

The YHS Museum and Archives was part of the “Walking Tour of Historical Sites” that took place at the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival. Many people toured the museum and archives and had their “ticket” punched so they would be eligible for the tour prizes. First prize was $1,000 and second prize was a $500 golf and weekend stay at the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor Marriott Hotel.

We are looking for authors to contribute articles for the Gleanings. With the passing of prolific authors Phil Barnes and Tom Dodd it has been somewhat of a struggle to gather the number of stories we need to fill the available space. Please call me at 734-476-6658 or email me at al@rudisill.ws if you are interested in submitting a story or in becoming one of our regular contributors.

One of our new projects in the Archives is to transcribe the many “Oral History” audio tapes that have been produced over the years by YHS members and many others, including A. P. Marshall who produced a series on African American history in Ypsilanti. Alice Calder started this project a couple of years ago and now volunteer Sam Smaltz has taken on the responsibility. A new collection titled “Oral Histories” will be established and the printed version of each audio tape along with the actual audio tape will be placed in a folder in a file cabinet.

I want to thank all of the volunteers who serve on our boards, docent in the Museum, provide services in our Archives, or provide other services to the Ypsilanti Historical Society. Without their efforts it would be impossible to provide the many services available through the Society.


Photo Captions:

Photo 1: The display case in the Edmunds/Ypsilanti Room featuring the military service of Lt. Colonel Charles Kettles.

Incident at the Archives

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: James Mann

Some years ago, back when the YHS Archives were in the carriage house behind the Museum, a strange event happened. Late one afternoon a tall thin man entered the Archives, stepped up to me, and asked for James Mann. I told him that was me. The man told me he had come to the Archives at the suggestion of the staff at the Library, as I might help identify the ghost in their apartment. The family, he added, was in such fear of the ghost that they had spent the night sleeping in the car. He promised to pay for the research.

As we talked, a little boy entered the Archives, holding a smaller child up to his chest. The boy asked if we had a bathroom. We did, and quickly directed him to it. Once informed of where the bathroom was, he hurried past us and went to do what had to be done. Right after this, a petite, dark haired young woman wearing glasses entered and asked about the children. She was the wife of the man and mother of the children. At some point, we were told she was employed as a waitress at a nude dance club, east of the city.

The man told me the family had left the house one day, and on their return had found a noose hanging from the light in the dining room. He told me about the children playing on the floor rolling balls that would roll back to them from across the room. There was the time, he told me, of a ball rolling down the stairs, stopping halfway down, and rolling back up the stairs. The man added: “Mary Ann, the Ghost Whisperer, is a friend of ours, and she said the house is haunted and the ghost does not like children.” This was a reference to the then popular television show, Ghost Whisperer, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. The premise of the show was that the lead character could communicate with the dead. She helped those who could not cross over because they could not find peace because of unfinished business. The stories were said to be in part based on the work of Mary Ann Winkowski, who claimed to communicate with the dead. The show ran on CBS from September 23, 2005 to May 21, 2010.

The reference to the Ghost Whisperer meant nothing to me, as I had stopped watching television several years before, and had never heard of the show. Instead, I asked for the address of the house, which was 106 North Adams Street.

The house was built for Dr. Thomas Shaw, when he moved to Ypsilanti from Chelsea in 1888. He had lived in the house until his death on March 19, 1917. I pulled the biography file on Dr. Shaw and found two photographs of coffins set out in the parlor of a house. It was a common practice well into the 20th Century to hold funerals in the family home. These were photographs of two different coffins, at two different funerals, in two different homes. There was no information on the photographs as to who was in the coffins and or where or when the funerals were held. Dr. Shaw had one child, a daughter, Mary Shaw, who never married and lived in the house until her death at the age of 94. She, as her father, is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Chelsea.

George Ridenour, a fellow volunteer at the Archives, contacted the producers of the show Ghost Whisperer because the man had claimed her as a friend. Not long after, George received a phone call from Mary Ann Winkowski, who said she knew nothing of the haunted house, and did not know the family involved. She added, she would have remembered a name like Ypsilanti.

The family disappeared from the area soon after their visit to the Archives. A relative of the family told George they were safe, and no harm had come to them. We finally concluded that the family had probably wanted to break the lease and escape from paying the rent. Such is life in the Archives. By the way, the visitor never paid for the research.

(James Mann is a local historian and author, a volunteer in the YHS Archives, and a regular contributor to the Gleanings.)

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