Tubal Cain Owen and the Healing Waters of Ypsilanti

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Fall 2006,
Fall 2006
Original Images:

Author: Heidi Nielsen and Marcia Phillip

Tubal Cain Owen (1843–1913) was named for the Biblical character in Genesis 4:22 who was a pioneer in metallurgy. Perhaps these high expectations were the motivation that led him to try his hand at several business enterprises (including attempting to build a flying machine) before pursuing the marketing of mineral water. Often described as “flamboyant,” “cocky,” and even a “bit peculiar,” he married Anna Foote, the daughter of Normal College music professor E.M. Foote. He bought property on West Forest Avenue where he built a pagoda-shaped house, and later would drop a well.

Between 1880 and 1900, Ypsilanti became known far and wide for its mineral water enterprises. In 1882 the Ypsilanti Paper Company bored a well, seeking pure water but found what was then perceived and marketed as medicinal mineral water. Various sanitariums sprang up in a vigorous rivalry. Tubal Cain Owen jumped into the fray when he sank an 808 feet deep well in 1884 at 360 feet north of Forest Avenue, behind his house (presently near the northwest corner of the east wing of the Roosevelt Building on the Eastern Michigan University campus). He named the well “Atlantis” and by 1885, acquired patent number 13127 for his trade mark for Ypsilanti Mineral Water. He found darker, even murkier water then his competitors, which at that time was believed to be more beneficial. It was reddish brown and described as having an “odor that sent strong men reeling toward the saloon,” yet was sold as far as Boston and with great popularity particularly in Chicago. The water's chief ingredient was bromine and was sold for $8 a barrel under the labels of “Atlantis” and “Paragon,” the labels becoming works of art in themselves.

The Owen home and connected out-buildings began to draw visitors to the many promised healing activities that included bathing as well as drinking. Owen's promotional material stated that the water was marketed “to fulfill its errand of mercy,” even if the effect was not always merciful. For instance, the instructions for the treatment of cancer included that “the water must be taken freely, three or four glasses a day, no matter how nauseating it may be.” (Ironically, all three of Owen's children would die of cancer.) Eventually, the water was also packaged as soap, bathing salts and ointments and later used to make ginger ale.

The following introduction was published in a promotional book used to publicize the Ypsilanti Mineral Water:

On the beautiful banks of the Huron River, some thirty miles west of Detroit, and a very short distance below the city of Ypsilanti, in Michigan, are located the old Paper Mills of the Ypsilanti Paper Company, and also the Ypsilanti Mineral Spring. That company owning, in that region, paper and pulp mills some six in number, has for over twenty-five years supplied white paper to various newspapers of the land, among others the Chicago Times.

By a mere chance, the Company bored for pure water at a point a few rods across the road from the old Mill. The drilling was for a deep, or artesian well, which it was hoped would reach an unfailing supply of pure water, needed in the processes of paper making. The Company desired a water different from that found in the pretty river which turns the wheels of the Paper Mill. Such an artesian well had been long contemplated, and it was at last commenced by experienced borers, brought from the oil regions of Pennsylvania. The spot chosen is a beautiful one in its general surroundings; the Mill, the river, and the City, with trees and hills in the foreground or beyond, make a pretty picture.

The pure water which was sought for, was never reached, but in its stead a far more precious water was found. A healing water, rich in mineral ingredients was struck by the drills, below the rock of various kinds and thicknesses, at a total depth of 740 feet from the earth's surface. That discovery was made on the 14th day of December, 1882 and may be well regarded by those acquainted with the subject of healing waters, a remarkable event. Compared with the medicinal properties of its waters, those of the celebrated Springs of Europe and America are indeed mild. From the earliest antiquity till now nothing so valuable in the way of curative waters, has been known to man. Many valuable Mineral Spirits existed, but none equal to this.

The Ypsilanti Mineral Water has consequently reached a success without parallel in the history of Mineral Wells. The discovery of the water was quickly followed by its general use in Ypsilanti and by cures so remarkable as to attract attention elsewhere, and to create a demand for shipment to various parts of the country. That demand has been increasing ever since, until now it is used in every State in the Union. The well is still owned by the Ypsilanti Paper Company, one of the largest and most responsible paper companies in the United States.

The discovery of the peculiar water and the development of the healing power it possesses, was entirely unexpected; and, indeed, the proprietors were the very last to give any serious credit to the stories about relief and cures brought to their office by those who came to procure the water. Hence, at first no charge was made for the water, but it was given out freely to all who wished it. Strange to say, people came after it regularly and soon began to cart off, not only in bottles and jugs, but in barrels and kegs.

The reports of relief and even cures, were numerous within a few weeks; but before six months had passed there was no doubt about it whatever. The cases of Mr. Kimbel and Mr. Guild, currently believed to be genuine cancer cases,-and scores of cases of rheumatism, dyspepsia and kidney troubles cured, set the town of Ypsilanti in an uproar of interest, not to say excitement. Meantime friends had informed friends, and the water was shipped away and used in distant parts, without even the knowledge of the owners of the mill, until long afterwards reports of the cures in cases never dreamed of by them came back to their notice. A remarkable case in New York City — a very wealthy lady (as it is said) with cancer of the womb, a case in Toledo, Ohio, one at Bay City; several cases of dyspepsia, kidney complaint, eczema, etc. in Chicago, followed in rapid succession. Demand for the water increased. Arrangements were made, circulars printed and stationery prepared, jugs and casks were brought by the hundreds, for shipping; and the Mineral Water Department of the Ypsilanti Paper Company became an established fact. All this was literally without design or previous plan. It was forced on the proprietors by the simple merits of the water.

The following interviews, chosen at random, will, when read, give a fair idea, not at all overdrawn, of what the waters are doing and what its patrons claim for it. The proprietors make no pretensions whatever in the matter; but the water is offered to the public on what is said of it by those who have used it. Wherever it is introduced it makes its own way.

The promotional book includes a series of testimonials regarding the healing qualities of the Ypsilanti Mineral Water. Here is the first testimonial from John J. Kimbel:

The following interview was had with the first person cured by the Ypsilanti waters. The statement here given was made at Ypsilanti on August 12th, 1885, and is worth perusal:

“What is your fill name, your Residence and your present occupation?” “My name is John Jonas Kimbel, my residence is Ypsilanti, and I am in the express business; I drive a dime express.” How long have you lived in Ypsilanti?” “Most 39 years. I was born and brought up here.” “How long have you been in the express business?” “About a year and four months.” “Before that, what did you do?” “Working in the paper mill.” “What paper mill?” “Cornwell's — the Ypsilanti Paper Co.” “How long did you work for the Paper Co?” “Just three years.” “Were you working for that Company when the Ypsilanti Mineral Spring was struck?” “Yes.” “When was it struck? What year?” “I cannot say. They have it down stairs though.” [December 14, 1882.]

“It is said you had a cancer when the Ypsilanti well was struck; it that so?” “Yes sir. Four years. Well, it was six years a coming. It was from the time I first noticed it until they struck the water, six years.” “Did you use the Ypsilanti Water for your cancer?” “I did.” “How did you use it, and what was the effect?” “Well, I bathed my face, my nose, ten or fifteen times a day. Then I drank the water as free as I would pure spring water.” “How much would you drink in a day?” “Well, I will tell you,-that would sound a little big to anybody — but the room that I worked in was very warm and close, and I drank on an average about two quarts of the Ypsilanti water every day. I drank it before they knew the benefits of it.” “How long did you continue to drink that water in that way?” “Four months.”

“Please describe your trouble,-the condition of your cancer at the time you commenced to use the water?” “Well, it began from an itching, the same as if needles would be darting through my nose,-pricking like that, and through the sides of my face.” “How did the sore look at that time?” “Well, it was a dark spot,-considerable of a raise on the end of my nose, as large as a silver five-cent piece.” “Had it broken the surface of the skin on your nose?” “Yes. Well, I will tell you. Every full moon, that would drop off, then it would fester and come on larger.” “Was it always painful?” “Always, Mostly in the night and when my blood would be a little warm.” “Did you consult any physician as to your case?” “Yes sir, I did; I consulted ***** doctors in Detroit, Michigan. Also two other doctors in Detroit — I do not remember their names. Then there was one Indian Doctor from Toledo, Ohio, he heard about it and came out to my house.” “What did those doctors tell you about your case, or their opinions of it?” “Well, they pronounced it cancer, and all advised me to let them make an operation on it, it would save me trouble in time. But my conscience always told me not to meddle with it.” “Did you consult any physician here in Ypsilanti?” “Yes sir. Let me see, Dr. *****.” “What did Dr. ***** say about it?” “He thought it would be all right in a little while,-that is all he said to me.” “Did he say whether it was cancer or not?” “He did not say. He was doctoring my mother then,-she was dying with a cancer then.”

“Do you mean to say your mother died of cancer?” “Yes sir. In the stomach her cancer was.” “How do you know it was actually a cancer in her stomach?” “Well, all the way I know it was by the way the doctors all claimed.” “Now, coming back to your own case, please state what effects the Ypsilanti Mineral Water had upon your nose, or in any other way.” “In two weeks after bathing my face it showed signs of coming off — the scab,-and it came on again the same as it had before, but not quite so large, and then in four weeks it came off and left a raw place, and it began healing up from the edges to the center. And my body was covered with little boils from drinking the water. Then the prickling sensation and soreness ceased, and I have not been troubled with it any since.”

“Have any other members of your family had cancer?” “My sister,-they claim,-taken the same as my mother.” “Did she use the Ypsilanti Water?” “She did.” “How long did she use it?” “She has used it over a year.” “Is she now free of her trouble?” “She claims she is.” “Please state fully the present condition and appearance of your nose, where the cancer was located?” “In changes of weather it shows plainer where the cancer was located. My nose is perfectly smooth now.” “Do you ever have any pains now?” “No, only when I press there I can feel a little pain. In the winter time when it is cold I have to keep my hand on the end of my nose,-it stings and burns.”

There's forty new baths going, And all the healing waters flowing, Better days and health bestowing, On many a weary one.

In the above case the Ypsilanti Mineral Spring Water was used by simply bathing the nose (and cancer) many times a day, and drinking the water freely. A perfect cure resulted.

In the same book promoting Ypsilanti Mineral Spring Water the Ypsilanti Sanitarium contains and ad claiming:

“… This water is the MARVEL of the age in which we live for its CURATIVE and MEDICAL PROPERTIES. Also, NATURAL SPRING water of EXTRAORDINARY PURITY; both are NATURAL RESTORERS to health and have performed MANY MIRACULOUS CURES. To these are added ELECTRICITY, AIR, STEAM, FURM, MINERAL and SOFT WATER baths in the varied forms and at ALL TEMPERATURES required; also the VIBRATORY EXERCISER, WALKING and KNEADING machine and BED-COUCH, with a JUDICIOUS use of MEDICINE, which constitute in part our MATERIA MEDICA.”

The promotion continues with”… This SANITARIUM is located on the west banks of the Huron River in a BEAUTIFUL PART of the City of YPSILANTI, Michigan; with a surrounding country free from the low grounds and malaria breeding marshes. — Also it is THOROUGHLY VENTILATED, with SEWERAGE GOOD; consequently it has had FOR YEARS an INCREASING PATRONAGE from all parts of the UNITED STATES and CANADA, ITS PATRONS having ENJOYED the benefits of its UNRIVALED facilities for the TREATMENT of all forms of ACUTE and CHRONIC diseases.”

The healing waters business took a major hit after the passing of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act which required an accurate listing of ingredients. Truth in advertising would have dictated that Owen's water be undoubtedly described as “foul-smelling muddy water.” Also, local residents complained of the yelling of the patients at Owen's house of healing so the state condemned the property, claiming that the sanitarium posed “a serious menace to the social life of the Normal College,” allowing it to then “acquire” the land for the college's use. The Roosevelt Building was constructed on the site of the former Owen home as a high school for teacher training. The March 10, 1904 issue of the Ypsilanti Daily Press expressed the sentiment, “One wonders whether the Michigan State Normal College will ever put the water to work. Since educators have tried everything for juvenile delinquency-why not line up all youthful offenders and see what Tubal Cain Owen can do for them?”


John Knott and Keith Taylor, ed., The Huron River, Voices From the Watershed, (Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2000).
Harvey C. Colburn, The Story of Ypsilanti, (Ypsilanti, MI: Ypsilanti Bicentennial Commission, 1976). Knott and Taylor.
Healing Waters Found at Ypsilanti. Ypsilanti Paper Company.
Ad for Owen's Mineral Water Toilet Soap

Interesting Facts about the Prohibition Era

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Spring 2006,
Spring 2006
Original Images:

Author: Gerry Pety

The prohibition of the manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages at the national level was to cease on January 6, 1920, through the passage by congress of the Volstead Act. However, Michigan was one of the first states to vote in prohibition and by 1910, 36 of Michigan's 83 counties were already dry and more than 7,000 saloons and 10 breweries had been forced out of business. On November 7, 1916, Michigan voted “dry” and Detroit was the first major city in America to go dry.

With the demise of commercial brewing, home brewing continued to grow in spite of the fact that police closed down hundreds of home brewing operations and restrictions were placed on the distribution of brewing ingredients. The emergence of home brewing was reminiscent of colonial times and techniques for making beer were relearned and improved. Making beer had once again become a family endeavor and Michigan and Ohio quickly became the center for large scale smuggling of ingredients as well as brewed beer.

It is estimated that 75% of the liquor smuggled into the U.S. during prohibition arrived along a route from the mouth of the Lake Erie and St. Claire Rivers, nick-named the “Windsor-Detroit Funnel.” Lake St. Claire itself and the Detroit River are dotted with many small islands which, with a short transit of less than a mile, were a smugglers paradise. Lake St. Claire was often referred to as the Jewish Lake because of the quantities of “hooch” being brought over the border by “The Purple Gang,” a Jewish mobster group of the period.

Stroh's brought to market “Hopped Malt Syrup” with a label stating “Baking, Confections and Beverages with a Rich Bohemian Hop Flavor, Light or Dark.” This did not sound like advertising for making cookies. Another popular item that came on the market was a “Bottle Capper” that could be used for the application of “crown” type caps used in the making of root beer. The machine sold for about $2.00 and usually came with a large quantity of caps so consumers could get a head start on the new process. The directions that came along with the machine indicated the product was “not to be used with ingredients such as malt, dried hops, yeast and water.”

Part of President Roosevelt's platform in 1932 revolved around the repeal of the Volstead Act which many feel really helped in his election. Eventually on that glorious day, December 5, 1933, it was again legal to produce and distribute beer nationwide. President Roosevelt was one of the first to taste legal brew on that date as brewers were allowed to “gear up” for production months in advance.

The Blue Bird Tea Room

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Spring 2003,
Spring 2003
Original Images:

My grandparents, E.H. and Ellen Porter, operated the BlueBird Tea Room in their home on the corner of what was then Brower Street (now College Place) and Washtenaw Avenue… The white frame house still stands on the northwest corner.

E. H. and Ellen Porter moved to Ypsilanti with their two sons, Don and Craig. There weren't many places for students and faculty of the Normal to eat as this was before McKenny Union was built. I am sure the name for the tea room was my grandmother's choice She loved birds and her favorite color was blue.

My grandparents became well-known among faculty and students. They hired students to wait table and had a number of faculty as regular patrons. They quietly fed some individuals for free during the tough Depression years.

My father, Don, lived in Ypsilanti for the rest of his life. He started working at Lamb's Grocery, later managed Packers Outlet, one of the earliest supermarkets in Ypsilanti, and eventually became first Business Manager of the Ypsilanti Public Schools.

The following are recollections shared with me by Barbara Choate Shepherd a student at Normal who worked at the Blue Bird Tea Room.

I was a freshman. I lived at LaRue's kitty-corner from the Blue Bird and had eaten there. I needed a job to help with my schooling. I asked your Grandpa and Grandma for a job and they hired me.

The Blue Bird Tea Room was a very popular place for the townspeople to dine. People came over from Ann Arbor. Meals were 46 cents. On Wednesday there were specials for 52 cents. I thought that was expensive. Steak was 52 cents. I remember Fairy Loaf Pudding. If we received a tip, we had to put it in the “till.”

The meals were so marvelous. Your Grandpa was such a good cook. He was a very quiet man but had a great sense of humor. Your Grandma and Grandpa worked beautifully together. Everything went so smoothly.

I learned a lot about people when I waited on tables The wealthy people that ate there were so gracious and wonderful to us.

I belonged to the Bach Choir, headed by Frederick Alexander. When I had to be at choir at 6:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, your Grandma and Grandpa would let me stop early and eat my dinner which I always ate with your Dad and Uncle Craig in the room off the kitchen.

I wish I could put myself back in “time” to tell you more. The menus were so different and so delicious and the desserts were out of this world…I can just see your Grandpa and Grandma in the kitchen-so busy all of the time. They kept things hopping, arranging the plates in such an attractive way. Wish that I had a place to eat like that now.

According to Ypsilanti City directories the Blue Bird Tea Room was in business from 1922 until 1935. It then became Porter's Lunch Room and was operated by Ellen & Evelyn H. Porter.

Recipes of Olde

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Winter 2002
Original Images:

The following recipes were taken word for word from: The Home Guide or A Book by 500 Ladies, presented by C. R. Patterson to all subscribers of The Ypsilanti Commercial Paid up to March 1, 1879. Published in 1877.


Boned Turkey
Mrs. M., Chicago.

First, make the stuffing to suit the family taste. I took tenderloin–not too lean–chopped it fine; a teacup of cracker crumbs; 2 eggs; a pint of oysters; some summer savory; pepper and salt; mix all well; had my large needle and stout thread handy, with some two-inch-wide soft bleached old cotton cloth. Now for your turkey. It being well cleaned and singed, be careful not to break the outside skin. Cut off the legs so as to cut all the tendons where they join the drumstick. Cut the first joint from the wing; leave a good length of skin for the neck. Every bone must be taken out from the inside. Beginning with the legs, cut each ligament at the side bone joint, strip the knife close along the bone, so as to cut the flesh clean off, and draw the bone out; when both legs are boneless, follow along the back, breast and wings. The neck is more difficult, but get it out nicely as you can. Now your turkey is one shapeless slump; but begin stuffing at the neck, from the inside; having tied securely the skin to prevent escape, fill out the wings, breast, body and legs. Now sew up the skin; bandages it in a shapely manner with your strips, not too tight, for fear of the stuffing swelling so as to burst the skin; salt and pepper the outside and steam until perfectly tender. If it's an old chap steam 4 or 5 hours. When done, put a tin plate and a couple of flat-irons on top of it to press until cold. Then cut in nice thin slices.

page 19


Baking-Powder Biscuit.
Mrs. O. H. H., Chicago.

One important point is in having a hot oven; another is, have flour sifted, and roll dough as soft as you can handle; then more baking-powder is needed. For each teacup of flour take a teaspoon of powder; butter, the size of a small hen's egg, is sufficient for a quart of flour. After rubbing butter and powder into the amount of flour needed. I turn in cold water (milk will do), stirring all of the time, till the right consistency is reached; salt; then roll lightly, and bake at once. I warrant these will prove flaky, feathery, delicious, and more nutritious than biscuit raised with yeast.

page 55


Boiled-Baked Sweet Potatoes. Nannie C., Lake View.

Boil your potatoes until tender; then slice several times the long way of the potato; place a layer of the slices on the bottom of an earthen dish; sprinkle lightly with white sugar, and heavily with lumps of butter (it is the butter that makes it nice); then another layer of potatoes, and so on, until you have the sugar and butter for a top layer; then bake 30-40 minutes.

page 40


Mince Pie. Lena Gray, Chicago.

Seven pounds beef, after it is boiled and chopped; 7 pounds apples; 6 pounds raisins; 4 pounds currants; 6 1/2 pounds sugar; 1 pine molasses; 1 pound suet; a little salt; four large oranges; cinnamon, cloves, mace, allspice and nutmeg to your taste; 2 pounds citron; 3 gallons cider. Boil the orange-peel in some of the cider to make it soft; use the cider the peel was boiled in also. If I dared, I'd say put in a teacup of brandy when you are ready to bake.

page 98

Cocoanut Pie. Wlnnifred, Warsaw, ILL.

Open the eyes of a cocoanut with a pointed knife or a gimlet, and pour out the milk into a cup; then break the shell and take out the meat and grate it fine. Take the same weight of sugar and the grated nut and stir together; beat 4 eggs, the whites and yolks separately to a stiff foam; mix 1 cup of cream, and the milk of the cocoanut with the sugar and nut, then add the eggs and a few drops or orange or lemon extract. Line deep pie-tins with a nice crust, fill them with the custard, and bake carefully 1/2 an hour.

page 101


Vinegar Candy Mrs. N. W. H., Chicago.

Three cups sugar; 1 cup vinegar, a piece of butter the size of an egg. Boil 20 minutes; pour over plates to cool. Flavor, but do not stir.

page 185

Recipes from the Museum's Scrapbook Cookbooks

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, April 1988,
April 1988
Original Images:

These recipes are in one of our scrapbook cook books in the Museum so we thought you may want to try them.

Bird's Nest Pudding

4 nice apples-pare, whole and cors
Place in pudding dish-fill cores
with Sugar and Nutmeg.
Make a custard of 2 eggs to a scnt
pint of milk. Sweeten to taste.
Pout this over the apples and bake 30 minutes

Moon Shine

Beat whites of 8 eggs to a stiff froth
add 1 pint of powderad sugar, a little
at a time, beating for 30 minutes.
Flavor to taste. Prepare each dish
with some cream and one tablespoon
of Moon Shine and place this on two
halves of a peach. Any fresh berries
may be substituted for peaches.
(4 eggs is anough for six people)

Marshmallow Cake

3/4 cup butter-stir this to a cream
Sift 2 cups granulated sugar, add
graduslly and beat to a cream again.
3/4 cup water
1 cup whites of eggs, beaten vary stiff.
3 cups flour sifted with 3 teaspoons baking
powder. Add alternately, water, eggs and flour to
Sugar and Butter. Bake in two layers.
Make boiled frosting and when nearly cold,
add 10¢ worth of Marshmallows cut in bits
and beat lightly.

Pot-Luck Dinner Announcement

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, November 1987,
November 1987
Original Images:

The Board of Directors has decided upon a POT-LUCK DINNER to be held on January 30, 1988 at 6:00 P.M., at the First Presbyterian Church 300 North Washington. The Ypsilanti Historical Society will provide Meat, Beverage and Rolls, and you will be asked to bring either a desert, salad or vegetable dish to pass.

Mark your calendar now and plan to attend.

(Good handicap accessibility)

This will give all members an attempt to meet each other in a casual evening of good food and good company.

President's Message

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, November 1987,
November 1987
Original Images:

Author: LaVerne G. Howard

A Note from your President:

It was with deep regrets that we had to cancel our Annual Dinner. We were committed to have at least one hundred reservations but were unable to come close enough without taking a large financial loss.

Mike Miller spent a considerable amount of his time and his own money in his attempt to find a suitable place for this type of dinner. Churches and lodge halls are not too responsive to Sunday afternoon dinners.

Mike has suggested that a pot-luck dinner may be nice to have some time after the first of the year. This would include our whole membership. The Board of Directors will be discussing this matter which to me sounds like a good idea.

Please give a call or send a card to one of the Board members or to the office. Would like your opinions on the proposed pot-luck.

DON'T FORGET our CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE, December 13th from 1 to 5 P. The Board has promised us some great refreshments as they have in the past.

A lot of time, hard work and expense goes into decorating the house for this occasion. Every year we try to make it different.

The Festival of Lights Committee have lighted the two trees in from of the Museum and another ten thousand lights have been added to the park. Some of our own people have been working on this project and brings the Museum and our City closer together.

The MUSEUM will be open from 7 to 9 P.M., on December 17th and 18th to accommodate people that would be visiting the Festival of Lights Marge Gauntlett will have her store fully stocked.

Progress is slowly being made to get the Museum in number one shape. We have a great reputation that we have to maintain and improve on.

Thank you for your help in the past and looking forward to your help in the future.

Thanks to the Board Members that are going off the Board at this time; Robert LaRue; Marion Vorce and Michael Miller.

Welcome to the new Board members; Sharon Patterson; Jack Miller and Ernest Griffin.

Annual Dinner Announcement

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, October 1986,
October 1986
Original Images:

Ypsilanti Historical Society invites Members and Friends to attend the Annual Fall Dinner on November 2, 1986 at the Masonic Temple, 76 N. Huron Street, Ypsilanti, Michigan.

A Roast Turkey will be served by the Eastern Star Ladies.

Time: 5:00 P.M.
Price: $6.50

Make checks payable to the Ypsilanti Historical Society. Tickets may be purchased from any Board Member or at The Museum Office.

Tickets must be purchased by October 27, 1986

Our Speaker for the evening will be former Governor of Michigan, Honorable John B. Swainson who will speak on the State of Michigan Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Come and enjoy an evening of delicious food and fine friends.

Visitor From Greece

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, March 1996,
March 1996
Original Images:

Professor Cerise Margaronis recently visited the City Archives to research the Ypsilanti Family. Her story is interesting.

A Visitor from Greece comes to Ypsilanti, Michigan

After a 30 year absence, Professor Cerise Margaronis, comes back to Michigan and to her Alma Mater, the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of its School of Public Health (MPH), her second master degree (MSW) from the University of Denver, Colorado. She was Professor of Social Work in Greece and Visiting Lecturer in the faculty of Social Science at the Queens's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland and spoke at King's College in Aberdeen, Scotland. while here, she is doing personal research on the Columbus who lived in Chios, Greece under Genovese occupation of that North Aegean Island. She will be here a month, and came to the see Ypsilanti this time as it is a special, historic town founded two years after the Greek Revolution for Independence in 1821, throwing off and out the Ottoman Empire's enslavement for 4 centuries! The Ypsilanti family was active in this, they operated with others in the ‘Fileki Etaeria’-a friend's (for freedom) Society outside Greece (Romania, Russia) and gave courage to those brave souls fighting within. Also important to Ypsilanti is a fact of research that Christopher Columbus' real name was Nicholas Ypsilanti. He was a Greek Nobleman, schooled at the they (and now) Holy Mountain Monastery Coloros and was given the name ‘Christophers’ and the Monastery's which in speech became ‘Colombos’.

In a town in Chios (island) called Pyrghi (fortress), 50% of the residents have the name Columbus and believe to be heirs of Columbus. Let us join Ypsilanti to Pyrghi, this summer, two “Greek” towns and share each's rich culture. Ypsilanti may have more to celebrate this October 12th, Columbus Day!

Professor Margaronis gave us a few DELICIOUS Greek Recipes.


3 apples (medium size) peel,
and slice thin, or grate, 1/2
c sugar 1/4 c chopped nuts,
1/4 c raisins, optional, pinch
of cinnamon, grated rind of
one lemon.*


1 heaping cup pitted cherries
(fresh or canned) 1/2 c. sugar,
1/2 c dry bread crumbs, 3 tbsp
melted butter, 1/4 c nuts.
Follow directions for Apple

*Using Strudel Dough (purchased ready made) Roll filling in dough and bake in buttered baking pan about 325 until brown.


Chios is the largest island in a group which constitutes Chios Prefecture and also includes the smaller island's of Lmoussis, home to the rich shipowners whose offices are in London, New York and Piraesis, Greece, and Psara, a very small island that provided a naval fleet to fight the Oltomane (Turks) who slaughtered whole villages and mountain town's on the main island Chios at Anavatos, still a ‘ghost’ town. A Greek-American wrote a novel “Island of the Winds” about the period of history at the time your town was founded. Athena Dallas-Domis is author.

Professor Cerise Margaronis, an American of Greek heritage, revisiting Michigan after 30 years absence, opened privately and with her own funds, The Columus Center at Lmoussis, Chios. she lives in a Manor House, built by philanthropist and shipowner, the late John D. Pateras, now in a foundation operated by the last Pateras (6) Brothers, Nicholas D. Patera wealthy shipowner, she donates much to education, Greek School in London, the naval lyceum, high and elementary schools in Oinoussis. A scholarship fund for children going into higher education in Europe, America-children of Chios Prefecture.

Chios has a history rich in events and periods of high culture and intellectual development. In the period of Ionian settlement Chios reached heights in commerce and the arts. Its “Golden Century” is the 6th century B.C., Commerce, navigation and the arts flourished and great wealth flowed into the island.

From the 7th century A.D. onwards, Chios suffered many Arabian invasions: only in the 11th century A.D. the island's defenses were organized and peace ruled.

After a period of tyrannical Genoese rule (1346–1566) the Island finally came under the Turks in 1566.

Pyrghi, home to Columbus, like other villages (Mesta, Olympoi, Kalamoti) retains the characteristics of a fortified Medieval settlement.

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Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, November 1994,
November 1994
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With the best ingredients (which are always the cheapest), and with careful measurements and good judgment in cooking, satisfactory results are sure to follow.

Milk is preferable to water for mixing.

Always sift flour before measuring it.

Always use pastry flour for cakes, bread flour for bread, etc.

When butter is too hard to cream easily, heat the bowl slightly; never warm the butter.

Small ovens cool quickly; they should therefore be made several degrees hotter than a large oven, and the less the door is opened the better.

Do not attempt to bake bread and pastry together. Bread requires a prolonged, moderate heat; pastry the reverse.

If the oven bakes too hard on the bottom, place the grate underneath the cake; if too hard on top, place a pie pan of water on the grate over the cake.

Do not use butter for greasing pans, as the salt in it may cause the cake to stick; use lard.

To beat the whites of eggs quickly, add a pinch of salt, the effect of which is to cause them to froth rapidly.

Two apples placed in the cake box will keep the contents moist for quite a length of time.

A good remedy for a burn is dry soda applied to the blister.


Take a deep dish, grate in to it the rinds of 2 lemons, and add to that I1/2 cups of white sugar, 2 heaping tablespoonfuls of unsifted flour, or 1 of cornstarch; stir it well together. Then add the yolks of 3 well beaten eggs. Beat this thoroughly, then add the juice of the lemons, 2 cups of water and a piece of butter the size of a walnut. Set this on the fire in another dish containing boiling water and cook it until it thickens and will dip upon the spoon like cold honey. Remove it from the fire, and when cool pour it into a deep pie tin lined with pastry. Bake. When done have ready the whites beaten stiff, with 3 small tablespoonfuls of sugar. Spread this over the top and return to the oven to set, and brown slightly.

This makes a deep large-sized pie.

These recipes are in an old cook book we have in the Museum. There is no date on the book, it was put out by Egg Baking Powder. How many of these hints do we use today? The Lemon Pie sounds like one my Mother used to make. I shall try it and see it it tastes as good as I remember. Billie

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