Plenty of Elbow Room

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Fall 2010,
Fall 2010
Original Images:

Author: Derek Spinei

Mid-Century modern architecture is an often overlooked and easily dismissed era of design situated in the doldrums of “recent past” architecture - that time in which places are somewhere between “new” and “historic.”

Six South Washington Street is an example of just such a place. However, relating the circumstances of its inception proves to be a bit convoluted. According to the City of Ypsilanti 1951 Tax Assessment, 1951 was the year in which architect Ralph Stoyan Gerganoff’s design for George P. Ballios’ bar room was built at this address. Prior to that date, George’s Grill is listed in the City Directories as having operated at the same address from 1945 to 1951. Records in the Washtenaw County Deeds Office show that Merl & Helen Hutton sold the property to Oliver A. Hankinson and S. Arnold & Nettie C. Wiard in 1951, each owning a half stake. On December 31, 1953 they sold it to Ballios and he opened the Bell Bar. Therefore, it must have been that Ballios had his establishment built before he owned the building. This bar remained in business until 1979, although Ballios had sold a land contract to Robert M. Hannewald of Grass Lake in 1973. 1980 saw the establishment’s name change to Larry’s Bar and it became Charlie’s Bar in 1982. George Ballios died in 1978 and his wife Kalliroe finally sold the property to Hannewald in 1988 for $50,000. The Elbow Room has operated at this location since 1986 and its current proprietor is Andrew S. Garris. In 1996, Hannewald sold this and adjoining properties to Maybee resident Martha J. Clifton (née Wall) for $80,000. But she soon resold the tiny .05 acre property to its current owner Arthur Campbell in 1997 for $45,000.

A prototypical “dive bar,” the Elbow Room gained notoriety in 2008 when it was reported that several Hollywood actors working on local filming locations had been spending time at the bar. Jimmy Fallon, Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page, Juliette Lewis and Alia Shawkat got their kicks singing karaoke and serving drinks from behind the bar.

The 1880 square foot property seems to have changed very little over time. Its commercial use has remained consistent and exterior modifications have been minor. From a black & white photo of the entrance from the time of construction, the door and surrounding wood appear unpainted. The door is now red, surrounded by black painted wood. The shape of the keyhole window in the door has changed and a black mail slot was added between the two horizontal metal handles. It is unclear whether the original door has been replaced or just modified.

An undated photograph shows a vertically oriented neon “BAR” sign above the entrance. Of course the sign is no longer in place, but it is unclear whether it was original because our oldest photo does not show the building above ground level. The same is true for the decorative vertical striping along the entire length of the façade between the shallow awning and the bottoms of the second story windows, and the red and white cornice half way between the second story windows and the top of the façade, mimicking the design of the awning. However this decoration was assuredly not original, as it would have covered the cornice above the first floor and the polychromatic brickwork above the cornice arranged in a horizontally oriented diamond pattern.

Remaining unchanged are the rounded wall of textured glass blocks immediately south of the entrance door and the large red square enamel panels beneath the row of windows. The awning with three red horizontal stripes now has the structural aid of metal chains embedded in the patterned brick in two places, supporting it from above. The window trim and mullions have been painted maroon. Second story windows facing north, over the single story section of the building, have been boarded up and painted maroon, as has the entire North elevation. The West elevation, the rear, is painted brown.

No images of the original interior are available, but the window valance and curtains visible in the original photograph are no longer in place. The current ceiling is painted black with large recessed squares painted red which contain cove lighting. The walls are also black. It is highly unlikely this was the original color scheme, but the ceiling itself may be original. There is also a distinct possibility that the bar and the refrigerator doors below the bar are original based on their handle design and styling. It is assumed that all other current furnishings have replaced the originals.

The Elbow Room stands as a great example of how “modern” architecture can be adapted for use today without the complete destruction or alteration of defined design features. It has survived long enough to be considered “kitsch” or “retro,” labels not entirely negative – and usually the ones used just before “historic” begins to take hold.

(Derek Spinei is a student in the graduate program in Historical Preservation at EMU and is serving an internship in the YHS Archives.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: A current photo of the bar designed by Architect Ralph Gerganoff in 1951 and built at 6 South Washington Street.

Photo 2: An undated photograph shows a vertically oriented neon “BAR” sign above the entrance which is no longer in place.

Photo 3: The shape of the keyhole door has changed from the original design and a mail slot has been added.

YHS Archives Postcard Collection

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Fall 2010,
Fall 2010
Original Images:

Author: Derek Spinei

The collection of postcards in the Archives has recently been digitized. This collection provides illustrations and photographs of the natural and built environment of Ypsilanti and is a valuable and little-used resource for research. Especially well represented in the collection are the Huron River, Eastern Michigan University, and city parks, but there are also quite a few postcards displaying images of Cleary College, bridges, streetscapes, public schools and, of course, the water tower.

Physically, the most unique postcard is one made of floppy leather which is postmarked 1906. An inherent problem with postcards is that we can’t necessarily glean from them the date they were printed, only when they were sent – and many of our postcards were never sent. Much of the other novelty souvenir postcard-type stationery we have does not lend itself to digitization because they feature multiple pull-out or fold-out images.

(Derek Spinei is enrolled in the graduate program in Historical Preservation at EMU and is serving an internship in the YHS Archives.)

Postcard Captions:

Photo 1: The former Washtenaw Country Club at the time titled “Country Club and Golf Links, near Ypsilanti, Michigan.”

Photo 2: The log cabin constructed in Gilbert Park by the Kiwanis Club for the Ypsilanti Centennial in 1923.

Photo 3: Luna Lake in Prospect Park, Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Photo 4: Willow Run Airport Terminal.

Portrait in the Library

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Fall 2010,
Fall 2010
Original Images:

Author: James Mann

The portrait of a distinguished looking gentleman looks down from the north wall of the museum library room. He appears to be presiding over whatever is happening between the Tiffany stained glass window and the organ. The portrait is hanging to honor the memory of J. Willard Babbitt, who is today all but forgotten. However, he was one of the great men of Ypsilanti.

Babbitt was born in Gorham, New York in 1836, the son of John Winthrop Babbitt and Philinda Walker Babbitt. The family moved to Ypsilanti in 1848, where the father was one of the city’s leading physicians. The son studied law at Geneva, New York for one year in 1859, and later graduated from the university. “Going west, he opened an office in Omaha, with two young Ypsilantians, Caspar Yost and Richard Stuck, the former now manager of the Nebraska Telephone Company, as partners. In 1867 Judge Babbitt returned to Ypsilanti, and has since been in active practice here. Two younger men, D. C. Griffin and John P. Kirk, have attained legal distinction while associated with him in the profession,” reported The Evening News (now the Detroit News) on Saturday, November 9, 1901. Judge Babbitt married Florence Smalley in 1868, and she achieved fame after his death for her collections. The couple had four children, all daughters.

“Judge Babbitt’s attainments were such as to bring him a large practice, and his ability is attested in the fact that not only did litigants employ him, but members of the bar freely sought his advice. Endowed with an extraordinary stock of ‘horse sense,’ a retentive memory and rare judgment made him one of the ablest counselors in the state,” noted The Evening News.

“The deceased,” continued The Evening News, “was prominent in Democratic Party councils, and was twice honored by his party with office. Early in his home career he served two terms as prosecuting attorney, (1877-1878), and later occupied the position of judge of the probate for eight years. He was very fond of the game of whist, but would not permit himself to devote the time to it many of his associates did.”

“Judge J. Willard Babbitt was one of the ablest men in this section of the state, and his reputation among the legal fraternity is by no means confined within the borders of Michigan. An authority in all matters wherein an exact knowledge of the law was required, he was called to very many of the knotty cases of the county, and was sought for friendly advice by his colleagues in scores of others in which his name did not appear. His mind was of rare makeup, and anything to which he gave his attention, whether it was a mental exercise, a form of recreation in which he greatly delighted, whist, the writing of poetry, or the study of a foreign language, he achieved much success. He was not a man of vaulting ambition, and while accepting the more desirable of the local honors did not make any serious attempt to become a public figure or, as those who knew him best, fairly hold, he would have become an important factor in state or even national politics.” noted The Ypsilanti Daily Argus of Saturday, November 9, 1901.

Judge Babbitt died suddenly on the afternoon of Friday, November 8, 1901, of heart failure. He was 65 years of age at the time of his death; he had been a man of rugged health who appeared to be no more than 50 years of age. His passing was a great shock to the community, and many at first refused to believe the news. He is buried in Highland Cemetery. To honor the memory of Judge Babbitt, the family presented an oil painting of him to the office of the Probate Court. The work was unveiled on the afternoon of Friday, July 18, 1902, on the 100th anniversary of the birth of his father. A large number of Ypsilanti attorneys and local members of the bar were also present.

“The portrait is the work of Miss Hilda Lodeman, the talented portrait painter, and it is pronounced by the few who have seen it one of her finest efforts. Miss Lodeman had nothing to guide her but a small photograph and she had known Judge Babbitt but slightly so could not fall back on memory, but in spite of these disadvantages she has produced a most excellent likeness, while the work, as is to be expected from Miss Lodeman, is of the finest character. In one corner of the frame of the picture is the coat of arms of the Willard family, from which Judge Babbitt was a descendant, on his mother’s side,” noted The Ypsilanti Sentinel - Commercial of Thursday, July 24, 1902.

Now the portrait is on display in the library of the Ypsilanti Historical Museum. Over the years the image has darkened, and Judge Babbitt appears to be sitting in shadows. There is damage to one part of the picture. The portrait is in need of restoration, but still, Judge Babbitt seems to be presiding over all that goes on before him.

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

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: The portrait of Judge Babbitt, painted by Miss Lodeman, that hangs in the Library of the YHS Museum.

Book Review: Wicked Washtenaw County

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Fall 2010,
Fall 2010
Original Images:

Author: George Ridenour

James Thomas Mann is well known around Ypsilanti as a writer, journalist, speaker, tour guide and historian. For years he has written a cornucopia of stories, featuring all manner of subjects, usually about Ypsilanti and the surrounding area.

His latest adventure, Wicked Washtenaw County – Strange Tales of the Grisly and Unexplained, takes the reader into the darker side of the county. He gives humorless tales of murder, mayhem and mystery that will make you, the reader, check that your windows are locked and your doors bolted.

Through narrative and local news accounts, he gives us a glimpse into devilish deeds done by common folks and some better known figures of the time. In one of the stories, Shooting of Attorney Mahon, we find indeed that murder is “no joke.”

The chapter on legends and tales of “Body Snatching and the University of Michigan” is certainly an eyebrow raiser. The Medical School at the University of Michigan did not have enough bodies for the anatomy classes being taught. Many a newly inhabited grave was opened, the body removed, and later the body was traced to the cold storage vaults of the Medical School. Graves in Michigan and Ohio, of the poor, sick, rich or disabled were producers of monies for those persons (monsters) who engaged and procured bodies and then sold them for profit.

The pages of Wicked Washtenaw County drip with blood, darkness, murder and suicide. There is a cry for the ever elusive lady justice who sometimes just turns or moves out of town and is forgotten like both the victims and criminals within these pages. As a recent reader told me, “The book is disturbing and I loved it!”

Now it’s your turn. Copies are available in the YHS Archives located in the basement of the YHS Museum. Come on down and get your autographed copy.

Here’s hoping that you, too, don’t end up in Wicked Washtenaw – Part II.

(George Ridenour is a volunteer in the YHS Archives and a regular contributor to the Gleanings.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: The pages of James Mann’s new book, Wicked Washtenaw County, drip with blood, darkness, murder and suicide.

Photo 2: James Mann spends many hours in the YHS Archives doing research for his many books, articles, speeches and tours.

Back to the Future

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Fall 2010,
Fall 2010
Original Images:

Author: Maura Overland

Please join the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, October 3, 2010 for our season opener “Back to the Future” at Towsley auditorium on the campus of Washtenaw Community College beginning at 3:30 pm. Featuring the world premiere of the Ypsilanti Orchestral Jazz Suite composed for the YSO by renowned bassist and Ypsilanti resident, Paul Keller. This multimedia work honoring the history of Ypsilanti through music will be narrated by community leaders and include historic photographs from the archives of the Ypsilanti Historical Society and the Eastern Michigan University Archives.

Based on extensive research of Ypsilanti’s musical past revealing historic concert programs, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg was selected for the program because it was part of a 1928 concert performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Pease Auditorium on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. The first half of the concert will also feature several other traditional orchestral pieces selected by Adam Riccinto, YSO Founder and Music Director to illuminate certain themes and time periods in Ypsilanti’s history. Works will include Smetana’s Vltava (or The Moldau in German) originally written in celebration of the Vltava River as it runs through Bohemia and part of a series of six symphonic poems composed by Smetana entitled Má vlast (The Motherland). Riccinto selected this work because of our community’s proximity to the Huron River and its influence on Ypsilanti’s growth and development. Other pieces will include the work of John Philip Sousa and Aaron Copland.

The highlight of the concert will be the premiere of Paul Keller’s Ypsilanti Orchestral Jazz Suite featuring five movements dedicated to Ypsilanti heritage. The titles of each movement are:
#1. Woodruff's Grove (the original name of the first 1823 settlement in the Ypsilanti area along the west side of the Huron River)
#2. Ypsilanti Underground (dedicated to Ypsilanti's important connection to the Underground Railroad which helped southern slaves escape bondage)
#3. The Real McCoy (an homage to Elijah McCoy: Ypsilanti resident and an important African/American inventor of automatic oil systems for locomotives as well as the folding ironing board)
#4. Willow Run and The Great Migration (inspired by the World War II era and the northern migration of southerners seeking work in the auto factories retooled for wartime production)
#5. Downtown To Depot Town (a tip of the hat to Michigan Ave. and Depot Town, Ypsilanti's vibrant cultural scene, the resilience of the community and the bright future of Ypsilanti).

Guest narrators include Paul Schreiber (Mayor of Ypsilanti), Dr. Susan Martin (President of Eastern Michigan University), Dr. James Hawkins (former Ypsilanti Public School Superintendent), Natalie Edmunds (Founder of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival) and Linda Yohn (89.1 FM WEMU's jazz radio program director). Jerry Robbins, Conductor of the Ypsilanti Community Band will make a guest appearance during the concert and the Ypsilanti Community Choir will perform several songs related to Ypsilanti’s heritage including The Ypsilanti Comic Song and Rosie The Riveter during intermission.

A reception with appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will take place in the lobby immediately following the concert. For tickets and more information please call 734/973-3300 and/or visit

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: The advertising card for the 2010-2011 Concert Season for the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra featured a picture of the train station in Depot Town.

“Lost Restaurants” of Ypsilanti

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Fall 2010,
Fall 2010
Original Images:

Author: Peg Porter

Introduction: The summer issue of Gleanings included a call to our readers to share their memories of restaurants that had once been an important element of the town’s social and business life. A number of readers responded including three who live in other parts of the country. In our research we found that close to 100 restaurants have opened and closed since the beginning of the 20th Century. We focused on those establishments that our readers mentioned. In addition we added several others that reflect Ypsilanti’s social history.

“Fast Food” arrived early in Ypsilanti. Familiarly known as Snappy Joe’s, this short order eatery opened its doors in 1932 on Pearl Street next door to the Weidman Ford Dealership. By 1954 it had relocated to 109 1/2 West Michigan, where it was housed in a narrow building (e.g. half a storefront). The interior contained a long counter with stools and a kitchen behind. Popular with the downtown lunch time crowd, the menu consisted primarily of hamburgers, hot dogs, and soup. Often there would be a bean dish, such as chili, prepared ahead of time. Maxe Obermeyer recalls a line outside waiting for a stool to open up. Joe's Snappy Service would continue on Michigan Avenue until the early seventies.

Further east on Michigan Avenue, across the river, stood Russell's Diner, later known as Averill's. This diner offered curb service during the 1930's. (see picture). The diner was opened by the parents of the late Red Averill. After the Averill’s separated, Red’s mother moved the diner further east to the site of what is now The Bomber. Red Averill would go on in the restaurant business. He took over management of The Bomber, and then later opened three Big Boy Restaurants.

A note about the picture of the diner: the service station and garage next door was first the George Fosdick filling station, and then became the location of Thompson Autos. The ornate building in the background was the Worden House. The land where these buildings stood is now vacant and is part of the Water Street Project.

Not everyone wanted or needed to get their food in a hurry. Dining out was still considered a special occasion for most Ypsilantians. The “white tablecloth” restaurants were the best. When the Huron Hotel was completed in 1923 in time for the city’s centennial, the hotel restaurant, The Huron: Ypsilanti’s Community Tavern, opened with great fanfare on January 1, 1923. Harvey Colburn writes, “…on the afternoon and evening of that day three hundred guests gaily celebrated the occasion around its tables.” The restaurant flourished during the late 1920’s. A Christmas Dinner buffet featured a large selection including an Oyster Cocktail, a shrimp and crabmeat Newburgh, ham, turkey, and steak as well as five desserts with three kinds of pie. All of this for a cost of only $1.50 per person.

Constantine Alex, a Greek immigrant, opened the Avon Restaurant in 1930 at 205 W. Michigan. The restaurant was named for the River Avon in England and was decorated in the Tudor style with dark oak, beamed ceilings and leaded glass. Architect Ralph Gerganoff worked with Alex on the design and décor. Alex chose to use red and white or blue and white checked damask tablecloths. Harold Goodsman described Alex in an Ann Arbor News article, as “…a genteel, personable, almost dapper man. He was very gracious.” Alex was known as “Connie” to his patrons. He quickly learned the names of regular customers and seated them at their favorite booth. My mother, Ruth Porter, shared her memories in the same 1997 News article. “Every Sunday, my husband and I would go to the movies and then go over to Connie’s for a bite to eat afterward. We had our own booth and Connie always knew what we wanted without us telling him.”

The Avon seated 100 and featured an extensive menu. The Avon Annex featured a shorter menu for breakfast and lunch time diners. Prior to World War II, the Avon also served Chinese (or rather Chinese American) food such as chop suey and chow mein. The war brought other changes to the restaurant. Gone were the male waiters who were replaced by waitresses. After 42 years in the business, Connie Alex retired in 1972. The Avon is still fondly remembered by Ypsilantians. Our own John Dawson recalls, “It was an institution here in Ypsilanti. It was a nice place to eat. And it was a gathering place for local business people. The menu never changed. It was always the same. My favorite was breaded veal cutlets with mushroom sauce.”

The 1920s and 1930s saw a number of restaurants open in private homes. My grandparents,
E. H. Porter and Ellen Craig Porter, owned and operated The Blue Bird Tea Room in their home at the corner of Brower (now College Place) and Washtenaw. Their path to the restaurant business was circuitous. Both of them were born in Canada, he in Nova Scotia and she in Ontario. My grandfather attended Guelph Agricultural Institute (now the University of Guelph) where he trained as a dairyman. He met my grandmother when he was working on an experimental farm owned by the Massey family, manufacturers of farm equipment and machinery. From 1907 until about 1917 he managed large dairy farms in Missouri and Michigan. The hard work with minimal help due in part to the World War caused my grandfather’s health to decline. My grandparents then managed White Lodge on the Huron Chain of Lakes for a couple of summers. They met people from Ypsilanti at the Lodge who urged them to move to town and open a restaurant.

Their clientele included numerous Normal faculty as well as retired faculty members. Normal students served as waitresses for a meal and tips. My grandmother, an unusually kind and generous person, had a group of “distressed gentlewomen” who relied on her for food. Granny would tell them to pay when they could. Not the best business decision perhaps, but certainly in keeping with her character.

Porter’s was known for its good home cooking and Granny’s marvelous desserts, often made with fruit. She did cobblers, pies, applesauce cake as well as the best oatmeal and raisin cookies around. The frosted molasses cookies ran a close second. The restaurant closed in the early 1940’s; my grandfather died in 1944. A few years later, our grandmother returned to Canada to live with her remaining siblings.

The Gondola first opened in the 1930s in the basement of a home on Marion at Packard. It was first named LaGondola. The restaurant, owned by Laurino (Louie) Agosti served Italian food. Several of our readers remember going to the Gondola with their family when they were young. Pat Cleary recalled eating there with his parents and his sister, now Ann Cleary Kettles. Joe Lawrence said he and his Dad thought the restaurant was o.k., but his mother, Christine, “hated it.”

The Gondola thrived, however. The business was purchased by the Simpson family in the 1950s. The business relocated to a new restaurant on Washtenaw at Cornell, keeping The Gondola on the west side of town and greatly expanding its seating capacity. By this time Ypsilanti had “gone wet” allowing the serving of liquor by the glass in addition to beer and wine. The new restaurant featured an extensive bar and expanded menu. Bill Simpson managed the operation. Mike Kabat, co-owner of Haab's, remembers going to The Gondola for a prom night dinner while he was in high school. In 1966 Bill Simpson sold the restaurant to a group of Ypsilanti business and professional men who renamed it “The Wigwam.” The Wigwam was relatively short-lived. Later, the building was demolished. A CITGO gas station now occupies the property.

Other restaurants were popular with families. Evans White Gables, located at 1004 West Michigan, was owned and run by Helen and Earl Evans. Pam Shepherd DeLaittre, Judy Morey, and I all remember eating there with our families. Mamie Schell Adair and her sister were waitresses at the Gables while they were in high school. She writes from Clearwater, Florida, “There were two dining rooms. The smaller contained one very long table which was filled each lunchtime by local business people who usually ate the “blue-plate special.” A typical “blue plate” was meatloaf, corn and mashed potatoes and included a drink for the price of $1.00. A piece of homemade cherry pie ala mode added 35 cents to the bill. The typical tip was 10 cents, which was earned by waitresses from the neighborhood and college students. It was their total pay, including a meal. On Sundays families dined in the big dining room….It was a busy restaurant.” The building that housed Evans White Gables is now a Mexican restaurant.

While not within the city limits, a number of readers recalled The Farm Cupboard. This restaurant was a popular destination for Sunday dinner. Everyone would get in the car to take a drive through the countryside to Dixboro. Maxe Obermeyer especially recalls Easter Sunday when the lawn of the old farmhouse would be filled with families in their Easter best. The farmhouse opened as a restaurant in the 1920s. It later changed ownership and became The Lord Fox. Just recently the restaurant has undergone renovation and is now Roger Monks.

Talk to local Boomers or their older brothers and sisters about restaurants and their first words will be Casa Nova. Owned by the Falsetta family, the first Casa Nova opened in what is now the third dining room of Haab's. The restaurant quickly became known throughout the area for its pizza. The Falsetta’s moved across Michigan Avenue to a larger, new building. Don Porter, my brother, writes, “This special place was our favorite restaurant. The pasta dishes were fantastic and the sauces were loaded with garlic and rich in flavor. However, the most delicious item on the menu was the antipasto salad with the homemade tomato-based dressing. During Tammy’s (Eberle) first pregnancy she craved that dressing. So I would head to the restaurant and pick up some cartons to go. A few years ago, my nephew obtained the recipe for the special dressing. We made it and it was okay, but it tasted better when we had salad at a table for two at the Casa Nova.”

Sadly, family health problems resulted in the closing of Casa Nova in December, 1977. It lives on in the memories of many former customers who continue to rhapsodize about the pizza, and, of course, the antipasto salad.

Readers mentioned a number of other “lost restaurants” including Marken’s just west of the Casa Nova on Michigan Avenue, first opened in 1944; The Old Town Restaurant in Depot Town, formerly Turner’s that opened in 1941; The Spaghetti Bender, at 23 N. Washington; and George’s Huron Inn, owned by the Beaudette family from the mid-1930s until 1984.

So, what about the “Survivors,” those restaurants that have continued in business throughout the decades? For this article, we identify three, two of which were mentioned earlier: Haab’s, The Bomber, and The Tower Inn. I talked with Mike Kabat of Haab’s about why restaurants, including popular ones, close. He noted that very few restaurants survive beyond one generation. Why? The restaurant business is very hard work, long hours, and subject to increasing regulation. Staffing can be difficult as wages are relatively low. Ypsilanti is blessed with a University whose students fill many wait staff positions although the downside is frequent turnover. Mike discouraged his own children from going into the business. However, after a stint as a paralegal, his son Dave expressed an interest in joining his father and is now Junior Partner. “I failed.” said Mike. Most Ypsilantians would disagree.

Author’s note: my thanks to everyone who contributed to this project. It required a lot of “digging.” Special thanks to the Archives staff, Maxe Obermeyer, Joe Lawrence, Bill Nickels, Mike Kabat, Don Porter Jr. and Penny Schreiber.

Information, including pictures, is sparse especially about businesses. All people interested in local history are urged to look through their scrapbooks, their files or boxes and consider contributing information to the YHS Archives. Photographs can be reproduced and the original returned to its owner.

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Russell's Diner, later known as Averill's, offered curb service during the 1930's. It was later moved to the site of the current Bomber Restaurant.

Photo 2: The menu for the 1927 Christmas Buffet at the Huron Hotel. Quite a spread for $1.50.

Photo 3: Harold Goodsman described Constantine Alex in an Ann Arbor News article, as “…a genteel, personable, almost dapper man. He was very gracious.”

Photo 4: The Avon Restaurant, located at 205 W. Michigan, was named for the River Avon in England and was decorated in the Tudor style with dark oak, beamed ceilings and leaded glass.

Photo 5: The 40th anniversary of the opening of the Avon Restaurant was celebrated in 1970.

Photo 6: This is a partial menu from the Avon Annex, which had a more casual atmosphere than the main dining room.

Photo 7: E. H. Porter and Ellen Craig Porter owned and operated The Blue Bird Tea Room in their home at the corner of Brower (now College Place) and Washtenaw. The house still stands.

Photo 8: A menu from the Gondola. Note the “U.S. Choice Top Sirloin with Mushrooms” for $3.25.

Photo 9: The interior of the Gondola Restaurant (#2) which was located on Washtenaw Avenue in c1960s.

Photo 10 - Photo 11: The Bismark Café located at 14 North Washington Street provided service to people passing through Ypsilanti on Interurban Railroad Cars.

Test Answers – Scraps of History from the Scrap Heap

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2010,
Summer 2010
Original Images:

Author: Peter Fletcher

Answers for the history test located HERE.

  1. The Frenchman was a direct descendant of Cadillac, the founder of Detroit, and he was thrilled to meet folks who had recently visited the city and could tell him about it.
  2. “Harold” Sponberg was the Eastern Michigan University President at the time and was about to exit under trying circumstances.
  3. Stan Eldridge was selected by his East Middle School classmates to represent the School as a greeter for President Ford when he arrived at the Willow Run Airport for a visit to the area.
  4. The Ypsilanti Brains.
  5. James Warner, the President of the Ypsilanti Savings Bank, had provoked a major dispute with the Ypsilanti City Council and it was only after an anonymous peacemaker stepped in and calmed the waters that the deal was made.
  6. John Porter and James Brickley.
  7. Urban myth was that if any co-ed graduated from the College as a virgin the Tower would collapse.
  8. He was a very talented boy soprano who then outgrew his talent.
  9. Peninsular Paper Company produced the high quality paper needed for the daring centerfold pictures of comely lasses.
  10. Food and gasoline were rationed while rubber tires, rubber bands, paper and paper clips were in short supply.
  11. Most American businesses were caught unaware that the War was going to end so quickly after the dropping of the Atomic Bombs and therefore it took time to convert back to civilian production.
  12. Very few people realize that a whole new plant and extensive new housing had to be quickly constructed to accommodate the war production facilities.
  13. David Landy asserted that he paid taxes on both sides of the road and therefore he should be free to use both sides at the same time.
  14. General Douglas MacArthur toured the country from west to east following his firing by President Truman.
  15. The namesake of Estabrook School conducted the wedding of Azro Fletcher to Elizabeth Lambie who later had “Fletcher School” named after her.
  16. Daniel Lace Quirk who lived at 300 North Huron Street.
  17. Begole and Frains Lake.
  18. Greyhound, Shortway and Blue Goose.
  19. It was established as a teacher training facility.
  20. Tom Monaghan started Dominos Pizza in Ypsilanti near the Eastern Michigan University campus and later expanded to more than 8,000 stores worldwide.

Scraps of History from the Scrap Heap

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2010,
Summer 2010
Original Images:

Author: Peter Fletcher

This is the third in a series of tests related to the history of Ypsilanti. Click HERE to check your answers.

  1. At the inauguration of President George H. W. Bush on January 20, 1989 why did the retired President of the French Chamber of Commerce become quite excited on meeting a young man from Ypsilanti?
  2. Why was there a community chuckle when Eastern Michigan University named a new classroom building Pray-Harrold?
  3. Under what circumstances did a current Ypsilanti Township Trustee meet President Gerald Ford when he visited this area during his brief tenure as our Chief Executive?
  4. What were the Ypsilanti Braves called after the Ypsilanti High School Class of 1950 had five valedictorians?
  5. What situation put into question the construction of the Key Bank building at 301 West Michigan Avenue?
  6. Contrary to his customary “hands-off” policy, which two men did Governor William G. Milliken actively promote to become President of Eastern Michigan University?
  7. What was the “Save the Tower” campaign all about among young male students at the Michigan State Normal College?
  8. How did a young teenage boy from Ypsilanti named Cyril Tyler gain fleeting national fame?
  9. Which local business had a connection with Playboy Magazine that horrified the proper old ladies of town?
  10. How many of the items rationed or in short supply during World War II can you name?
  11. Why is it that even though World War II ended on August 14, 1945 that no automobiles or appliances are labeled as 1945 models?
  12. What is the most overlooked fact about Ypsilanti’s significant role in World War II?
  13. Who was the Ypsilanti business man who was cited for driving his car down the middle of the road and what was his novel but unsuccessful defense?
  14. Who was the hero from World War II who in 1951 spoke on the steps of the Ypsilanti City Hall at 300 North Huron Street and what was the reason for him being there?
  15. Who was the preacher that an Ypsilanti Grade School was named for that performed the wedding ceremony for a woman for whom another such school was named?
  16. Who was the prominent local man whose 90th birthday was marked by 90 different Ypsilanti High School students walking to his nearby home each delivering a single red rose?
  17. Name the small county schools that were combined with and absorbed by the Ypsilanti Public Schools.
  18. Name the three bus lines that served Ypsilanti following the Interurban of the 1920’s.
  19. Why was Roosevelt High School established on the Michigan State Normal College campus?
  20. With its Greek heritage how did Ypsilanti play a prominent role in pizza becoming popular in America?

The answers to this test can be found HERE.

(Peter Fletcher is the President of the Credit Bureau of Ypsilanti and is widely known for his inspirational speeches.)


Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2010,
Summer 2010
Original Images:

Author: Janice Anschuetz

One hundred years ago, anyone in town could point the way to Peckville, straight north on River Street, down two blocks from the train station. Today Peckville exists only in memories, a few scraps of paper and pictures at the Ypsilanti museum archives, an unused street and a few old homes and remnants of buildings.

In September, 1823, when present day Ypsilanti was woods, wilderness, swamps, bugs, wild animals and Indians, Joseph and Sophia Peck and two young sons, Egbert and Erwin, under two years of age, came here from New York on a sailing ship, with high hopes and ambition. They brought with them three head of cattle and a pregnant mare. The trip took longer than expected and a foal was born on board the ship. On the voyage, they had run out of food and water for the livestock and the foal was too weak to stand. The starving cattle had to be helped off the boat. The young family remained in Detroit until the animals were strong enough to travel. The next leg of the journey was by flat boat from Detroit to Snow’s landing at Rawsonville, and then on though the wilderness to the pioneer settlement at Woodruff’s Grove.

Joseph and Sophia built a log cabin and settled on a parcel of land from the middle of the river to what is now Prospect St., East Forest Avenue to what is now Holmes Road. In order to file claim to this land, Joseph had to leave his family and travel through dense woods to Detroit which had the nearest land office. His efforts were rewarded in June of 1825 when he received a parchment patent, signed by President John Quincy Adams. This 85 acre farm was bought for 10 shillings (about $1.25) an acre. By 1836 Joseph and Sophia had replaced their first small cabin with a large farm house, which still stands today at 401 East Forest, and was lived in by their descendants for over 130 years.

The pioneer spirit may have been in Joseph’s genes. His direct ancestor William Peck came from England and was one of the founders, in 1638, of the Colony of New Haven, Connecticut. Joseph was born in East Hayden, Connecticut on August 5, 1790. He was one of the eleven children of Elisha and Olive Peck.

In his son Erwin’s obituary, Joseph is given credit for being the first white man who bought a settlement in Ypsilanti. He was considered a very friendly man and while delivering the mail to Detroit, or going there to pick up supplies, he would often return with strangers interested in settling in Ypsilanti, and offer them his hospitality. In The Story of Ypsilanti, Harvey C. Colburn writes, “The Peck home was a center of hospitality and a cordial welcome was given to all new settlers and travelers coming along. Soon this section was known as “Peckville.” Peck Street, which exists now as the second driveway north of East Forest, on River Street, led to an artesian well which supplied early settlers and travelers with fresh water.

Joseph became the first justice of the peace in this area and served on the first jury in Ann Arbor. He is also credited with building a mill around 1830. He must have been a thrifty person, as were his sons. In the museum archives are several torn off bits of paper with legal records on them such as receipts for the bricks and lumber that built the Peck Street Primary on his property and several other legal agreements written on what we would call scrap paper.

Knowing the importance of education, he built the Peck Street Primary in 1839 on what used to be Peck Street. The brick school house was sold to the 4th Ward School District in 1850 for $40. At that time the school had 99 students. It soon became one of the first “graded” schools in the state. This was a revolutionary concept in education promoted by the Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University). In other words, students were assigned to grades as opposed to working out of a common skill book. In 1858-59, there were 139 pupils enrolled in the Peck Street Primary. This building was outgrown and replaced by the Fourth Ward School at Prospect and Oak Streets. The old Peck School was deeded to an English immigrant, George George, in 1866 and soon was converted into a malt house. The malt house was expanded and then torn down in 1912 and what is now the garage at the Swaine House is what remains of the Peck Street Primary. Several slates and slate pencils have been found in the drive, which was once Peck Street.

Joseph Peck died in Ypsilanti at the age of 59 on February 13, 1849 and was buried in the cemetery where Prospect Park is now and then his remains were removed to Highland Cemetery.

His wife Sophia Churchill Peck (on legal records in Washtenaw County she is “Sophia” but is named Sophara in an 1877 genealogical account of the family) was born in June, 1793 in Salsbury, Connecticut and died at the age of 84 in Ypsilanti, on September 30, 1876. Her mother was born in England and is said by the family to have nursed soldiers at Valley Forge. Her family contends that she is part of a branch of the family of Winston Churchill. She must have been a very impressive woman. A family friend, Florence Babbitt, writes of her “my father always said that if Mrs. Peck had been a man she would have been President of the United States.” (This was written from the Hawkins Hotel in Ypsilanti, March 20, 1929.)

Joseph and Sophia built their log cabin at Peck and River Street, among the Indians and in the woods. It is possible that an old photo shows the original home and barn behind the picture of the Swaine house taken in 1883. The old home there matches the description of where the original log cabin stood. When it was torn down, probably in the1890s, the kitchen addition was moved and attached to the Swaine house where it stands today. An oft repeated family tale helps us picture what the wilderness of what would become Ypsilanti was like in the mid 1820’s. Grandson Dwight Peck relates this story in an interview given over 50 years ago and published in the Ypsilanti Press.

“A large double log house was built for the family on an open sandy lot. Across from this open spot were dense woods. Near the house, in the opening, was a permanent camp of tents belonging to the Potawatomi. They were friendly with the pioneers and often were invited into the kitchen to share the newly baked bread, the fresh butter and the milk. However, the squaws did not care for the butter and wiped it off onto the bare floor. The floors were wide white wood and scrubbed until they shone. Being soft wood, the butter immediately stained it and Mr. Peck found an indignant housewife that evening. He calmed his wife and he, himself, scrubbed and sanded the floors until they were again spotless.

However, despite this, the relationships between the family and the Indians remained friendly and the squaws and children were always welcome. One day, a squaw came in with an exceedingly bright eyed and cute papoose. Mrs. Peck, with two small babies of her own, played with the tiny Indian and laughingly asked the squaw if she would swap babies. Quick as a flash, the Indian gathered up Erwin Peck and ran out the door. The father was immediately called and began the search for his son. He frantically went among the tents and through the woods. The day lengthened. Mrs. Peck found she was not too good at soothing a crying papoose. Finally after hours of searching, and inquiry, small Erwin was found, but it was a difficult matter making the squaw understand that the trade in children could not be permanent.”

Over the years the young family prospered in their new, large home at 401 East Forest. The 10 room house was so large that horses could enter by the front door carrying logs for the large fireplace and then walk out the back door. Egbert, born October 31, 1822 and Erwin, born December 27, 1823 were soon joined by Elizabeth born in 1829, Joseph Herbert, born in 1831 and a sister named Lois. More Peck houses were built on East Forest Ave. to house this growing family but only three of these original homes remain today.

Erwin lived for awhile in the home at 59 East Forest. His brother Egbert, wife Juliet Thayer and their children lived at 52 East Forest, in a home that was torn down about 30 years ago. The Peck home at 117 East Forest actually was moved there from across the street and a Peck family lived in that home for over 60 years. The large homestead built by Joseph and Sophia remains today at 401 East Forest. The kitchen of the Swaine house was once part of the early Peck home on River and Peck Street. Remnants of the Peck Street Primary were converted to a garage in 1912. Peck Street remains as a driveway. Dwight Street is named for Dwight Peck, who was the last remaining Peck, along with his wife, Cora LaForge Peck, to live in the home built by Sophia & Joseph.

Erwin and Egbert and some of their children continued to farm the land and various descendants, including Egbert’s son Dwight, who was the last son to live in the family homestead, followed in their footsteps until the majority of the land was sold to a developer in the early 1920s. After World War II, the Prospect Park Subdivision was built on what once were fields, orchards and grazing land.

There are bits and pieces written about the Peck farm which help us to imagine life in Peckville in the 1900’s. In the Michigan Argus of February 3, 1860 we read of a fire in Depot Town with some of the sparks flying as far as Peckville and starting one of Peck’s barns on fire and destroying it.

Fellow farmer and friend William Lambie refers to E. C. Peck numerous times in his diaries. For example in 1880 “Peck got 20 bushels of corn.” Another entry reads “Went to E. C. Peck barn raising.” In 1883 he writes “July 25 Frank and I went to E. C. Peck he promised to come and harvest,” and then in 1890 “Mrs. L. and I went to old friend E. C. Peck’s funeral.”

The local paper in 1875 published a story which illustrates how important the Peck family and descendants have been to the history of Ypsilanti. On March 1, 1875, at a meeting of the Pioneer Society, “it was proposed that the Pioneer residing longest in the County should carry the flag leading the procession to the Vestry of the Baptist Church in Ypsilanti. Quite a contest sprang up as to whom the honor belonged to. An old gentleman, Benjamin F. Knapp, who states he was at Woodruff’s Grove in 1820 (there was no Woodruff’s Grove until April 1823) claimed the right, but he was only on a Prospecting Tour and never a real resident of the County, and now living at Brownsville, Wayne City. Robert Geddes rightly has that honor…The only persons present at the dinner who had been in Washtenaw County over 50 years were Robert Geddes and E. C. Peck.”

E. C. Peck (Egbert) has left other reminders of his life in various papers in the museum archives. An interesting glimpse of farm life is a receipt for sheep and describes the transaction. On November 4, 1867 he gives A. B. Werner 50 sheep with the understanding that Werner is to keep the sheep for three years and deliver to him 100 pounds of wool each year, at his residence and at the end of three years Werner is to deliver 50 sheep, aged one to three years old to E. C. Peck. This seems to be a good business transaction for both men.

Joe Butcko published some of his memories of growing up on East Forest Avenue as a child in the 1930’s in the summer edition, 2008 of the Gleanings. He describes the Peck farm as he remembers it.

“In 1932, there were only about six houses on the north side of Forest Avenue from River Street to Prospect. It was all farmland owned by the Peck family whose house and barns were on Forest Avenue about 150 yards east of River Street. The Peck farm was a working farm with horses, cows, etc. Parents would send their kids with a bucket to get milk. Mr. Peck would let us watch him milk the cows and, with a twist of his wrist, he would squirt us in the face with the milk. Today, he would be put in jail – the milk wasn’t pasteurized. Among Peck’s other enterprises, the city hired him to clear sidewalks with his horse pulling a wooden snowplow.”

Peckville may be gone but will never be forgotten. However, there are few people in Ypsilanti now who can “point the way to Peckville,” where a log cabin and Indian tepees once stood, where children went to school carrying lunch pails and slates, where cattle, sheep, and horses grazed, and where there were fields of corn, apple orchards and sugar maples shading a dirt road. Now there are only houses and yards. However, the pioneer Peck family has left its legacy in establishing a farm from the wilderness, building one of the first schools and even starting the tradition of planting sugar maples down East Forest Avenue from Prospect to the river. Every morning when I go into my very old Peck kitchen, with the bubble glass window panes, or drive my car down Peck Street to the garage (once Peck Street Primary), I think of Joseph and Sophia and their courage, hard work, enterprise and hope.

(Janice Anschuetz currently lives in the Swaine House that is located at 101 East Forest and is very interested in the history of the neighborhood.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: In September of 1823 Sophia Peck came to this area with her husband and two young sons.

Photo 2: This 1869 map of Ypsilanti shows the location of four of the Peck houses as well as the Peck Street Primary School which was at the time converted into a Malt House.

Photo 3: Joseph and Sophia’s home, built in 1836, still stands at 401 East Forest and was occupied by members of the Peck family for over 130 years. Cora and Dwight Peck were the last Pecks to live there.

Photo 4: The Peck Street Primary School was built in 1839 and in the 1860s was turned into a malt house and then in 1913 into a garage which is still in use today.

Photo 5: Slate and slate pencils found near Peck Street Primary that still work.

Photo 6 Reward of Merit presented to Florence Smalley Babbitt in 1857 at the Peckville School.

Photo 7: Egbert, son of Joseph and Sophia, lived for awhile in the home at 59 East Forest with his wife Juliet Thayer Peck. Later, their children lived at 52 East Forest, in a home that was torn down about 30 years ago.

Photo 8 Juliet Thayer Peck, wife of Egbert Peck.

Photo 9: Cora LaForge Peck and Dwight Peck, third generation Pecks, were the last Pecks to live in the 1836 home of Joseph and Sophia at 401 East Forest.

Photo 10 Peck house at 117 East Forest was lived in by Peck descendents for many years. It was moved to that location from the Hutchinson property when he bought the land there for his mansion.

Photo 11 The house and barn that can be seen to the left of the Swaine house (101 East Forest) is believed to be the original home of Joseph and Sophia Peck. The kitchen section of the original house that can be seen is believed to have been later moved and attached to the Swaine House.

Photo 12 Photo shows the current kitchen portion of the Swaine house that is believed to have originally been a part of the Peck house.

An Old Girl Comes Home

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2010,
Summer 2010
Original Images:

Author: Lyle McDermott

Near the end of 2009 I was scanning the listings of a large firearms auction that was going to be held in Marshall, Michigan. I was looking for antique Winchesters and Colt single action revolvers. Halfway through the list, an offering that I normally would not have much interest in jumped off the page. It was an 1850’s cap and ball, half stock, “Plains Rifle” (long range hunting rifle). It was a black powder muzzle loader with a rifled 34” Heavy octagon barrel in .44 caliber with a buckhorn style open sight with eight adjustments for distance. It was marked B.D. Schofield - Ypsilanti in two locations; one on the top of the barrel (see photo) and one on the lock face in front of the hammer. That’s when my research began….

The first step was finding the earliest Ypsilanti city directory in the archives collection at the Ypsilanti Historical Museum. The 1860-61 Directory lists only a Benjamin D. Schofield, 33 years old, residing on “the north side of East Cross Street/gunsmith. The 1860 US Census lists: Ward 4 Ypsilanti. In 1860 there wasn’t home delivery of mail so house numbers were non-existent. It’s possible his shop could have been on the North side of the street in Depot town with living quarters upstairs or a house up East Cross with a shop out back.

I was lucky enough at the auction to snag the “old girl” for a fair price when the man bidding against me quit just before I did. Thank goodness he did. It would have been difficult to let a gun made in Ypsilanti in the 1850’s go to another bidder.

When I returned to the archives I proudly showed my colleagues my new find. I set about, after photographing the gun, to find out more about Benjamin David Schofield. I discovered that he was born in 1827 in Ohio, married one Sarah (Thayer) in 1848 in Ypsilanti. He lived and worked in Ypsilanti until sometime in early 1861 when he moved to Marshall, Michigan with his wife and three children.

Here the story starts getting very interesting. Information from the 1880 edition of Michigan in the Civil War by J. Robertson indicates that “…On August 21, 1861 Benjamin D. Schofield was mustered into Company “C” First Regiment of Berdans’ Sharpshooters…Michigan was to raise three companies, of 100 men each, for the 1st Regiment…In the selection of its membership it underwent a most severe test of marksmanship. The result of this test was the selection of a hundred of the best marksmen in Michigan. The company was armed with rifles chosen by each member respectively, being of various makes and sizes of the common hunting rifle in use in the west at the time.

The announcement circulated at the time, calling for enlistments, had one major requirement; “No man would be enlisted who could not put ten bullets in succession within five inches from the center at a distance of six hundred feet from rest or three hundred feet off hand (standing with no support).” The potential recruit was required to fire with his own open sight rifle, ten consecutive rounds, reloading as fast as possible, at two targets. A contestant missing the targets or averaging more than 5” from the center was disqualified.

Those men who passed the rigorous test were organized in Detroit and later nationalized in late September, 1861 in Washington, D. C. Company “C” was the 1st company of the 1st Regiment to be organized and first into combat. The 1st and 2nd Regiments of the U.S. Sharpshooters were known as Berdan’s Sharpshooters because Colonel Hirman Berdan (the country’s best marksman for the previous fifteen years) received permission from congress to form these regiments. They were intended to be used as skirmish troops and act individually and in groups to disrupt enemy formations, and to eliminate artillery crews and officers. They were to be paid higher wages, wear a distinctive Green uniform, and be paid for their own weapons which they brought with them. They enlisted for three years and the only promise to be kept was the green uniforms! So much for government promises! (Today, the green uniform, which is very, very rare, would net a seller many thousands of dollars!) Company “C” was the first to be mustered out on August 20, 1864. Of the 101 men who originally enlisted only six were present at the final muster.

The Sharpshooters’ first action was a two company (Company “C” and Company “E”) skirmish at Lewisville, Virginia on the 27th of September 1861, against enemy foragers. From then on they claimed participation in 65 actions and battles, especially distinguishing themselves at South Mountain, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. They were also at Little Roundtop with the boys from Maine.

After the War Benjamin Schofield returned to Marshall, Michigan and in 1870 lived northeast of Marshall. In 1880 he and his wife were living in Handy, Livingston County, Michigan and that same year he and his wife moved to Fargo, Dakota Territory. In Fargo he opened a gun shop and sporting goods business. He joined the local GAR (Grand Army of the Republic, John F. Reynolds Lodge #5 for veterans of the Civil War). Benjamin died in Fargo in 1906. His son Charles stayed near Marshall, Michigan.

The gun is speculated to have traveled with him to qualify and then for the first few months of the Civil War. This gun meets all the qualifications to have been used by Benjamin for qualification and use until the breech loading Sharps Rifles, specially made to Berdans' specifications, could be procured. Having firearms of different calibers made for a supply nightmare until an official firearm was issued.

It is probable this rifle was used personally by Benjamin for a number of years before the War. One son remained in the Marshall area after 1880 so the surfacing of this firearm in the Marshall area leaves the door open that the firearm belonged to and was used personally by Benjamin David Schofield.

Al Rudisill recently visited family members in Minnesota and North Dakota and planned to make a stop in Fargo, North Dakota. Since our research revealed that Benjamin Schofield was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Fargo we asked him to stop by the cemetery to see if he could locate the grave site. He indicated that at first he was only able to locate a “Schofield” family stone. However, after prodding several areas around the family stone he was able to locate the gravestone for Benjamin as well as his wife Sarah under four inches of sod.

Today, “the old girl” (as men used to call their guns during this period) has finally come home to Ypsilanti. We hope to have it ready for display in the Ypsilanti Historical Society museum later in 2010. Our research continues.

(Lyle McDermott is a regular volunteer in the Ypsilanti Archives and regularly assists Archive visitors with research on local people and places. George Ridenour, Archives Assistant Director assisted with the research on this article.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: The Benjamin Schofield rifle is a black powder muzzle loader with a rifled 34” Heavy octagon barrel in .44 caliber.

Photo 2: The B.D. Schofield - Ypsilanti markings are in two locations on the rifle, one on the top of the barrel and one on the lock face in front of the hammer.

Photo 3: The rifle has a buckhorn style open sight with eight adjustments for distance.

Photo 4: Research revealed that Benjamin Schofield is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Fargo, North Dakota.

Photo 5: The search for Benjamin’s grave at first resulted in finding only a “Schofield” family stone.

Photo 6: After prodding several locations around the “Schofield” family stone, Benjamin’s gravestone was located under four inches of sod.

Photo 7: The gravestone for Benjamin’s wife Sarah was also located nearby, also covered by four inches of sod.

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