In 2008 MotorCities received a federal grant to creat a Wayside Exhibit Program in the MotorCities region. The program creates a comprehensive system of approximately 300 outdoor signs in communities throughout central and southeastern Michigan. Each sign commemorates Michigan's automotive heritage and is designed to increase public awareness of this on a community and regional level.|
The Story of the House at 220 North Huron: Built in 1860, the house was owned and occupied by three prominent families during its first half century. It was built in the popular Italiante architecture style of the period. Its large windows, extended eaves, and expressive brackets are classic examples of this style.
Asa Dow, who had been a business partner with Daniel Lace Quirk in Chicage, made this place his home during the years he lived in Ypsilanti. On December 15, 1863, the stockholders of the newly formed First National Bank of Ypsilanti selected him for president. Mr. Dow would also participate in the organization of the Ypsilanti Woolen Manufacturing Company. The Dow Home at 220 North Huron Street (once 42 Huron Street) was an Ypsilanti show place. The Friday morning April 22, 1864, Ypsilanti True Democrat refers to it as follows: There are few places of its size that can boast of as many beautiful private residences as Ypsilanti. Many of them have handsome lawns and gardens, tastefully decorated with ornamental trees, shrubbery, and flowering plants and not a few possess an ornate style of architecture...The dwelling of Messers Dow, Jenness, Sampson, Mills, Loveridge, and Major Atwood are all elegant and tasty domiciles worthy of attention.
The newspaper again references Asa Dow on July 14, 1864, in the coverage of the death of Minerva Miles Dow, his wife. Mrs. Dow would be the second person buried at the newly dedicated Highlant Cemetery. Shortly thereafter Mr. Dow returned to Chicago. After his death on September 23, 1890, his body was returned to Ypsilanti and was buried in Highland Cemetery as well.
In the real estate transfer column from March 17, 1865, it says: "Asa Dow to A.H. Goodrich, residence on Huron Street and household goods $14,000." This was quite a large sume of money, even considering the inflated reat estate prices during the closing months of the Civil War.
Aaron Goodrich came to Ypsilanti to manage the Follett House, Ypsilanti's largest and finest hotel. After managing the hotel during 1866, he became a salesman for the Batchelder & Company Monument Works, a local marble works that furnished many of the cemetery monuments throughout southeastern Michigan. The stately house was home to Aaron and Julia Goodrich for almost 10 years. They took great pride in maintaining the dwelling and its setting. The Saturday morning May 13, 1865, Ypsilanti Commercial refers to it: Messers A. H. Goodrich and D.L. Quirk are enclosing their residences on Huron Street with a new fence that is indeed a credit to our city. It is mainly of wood but molded and sanded to imitate iron. It has elegant iron posts and is bolted with iron clamps to large square stone posts sunk three feet into the ground. For durability, it cannot be surpassed and we have seen nothing so tasty. We are told its cost was $30.00 per rod.
The Goodrich family moved to Saline and opened the Goodrich House in May 1879. They sold the home at 220 North Huron to Mr. and Mrs. Lambert Barnes. Mr. Barnes was the superintendent of the Peninsular Paper Company, and advanced to the position of president there. His wife Jane was the daughter of Robert L. Geddes, one of Washtenaw County's earliest pioneers. Mr. Barnes also served as mayor of Ypsilanti from 1875-1879. At the time of his death in 1887, he was vice president of the First National Bank of Ypsilanti. He died on June 30, 1887 in Detroit, where he had gone to have an ulcerated tooth taken care of. His widow died in 1893.
Miss Laverne Ross purchased the house in 1922, and began renting it out to tenants. Up to eight apartments were available for rent. During the 1920's and 1930's, several residents were administrators and faculty members at the Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University). In the 1940's, records show that several tenants were employed at Ford's Willow Run bomber plant, and after its closure, another worked for the Kaiser-Frazer Car Company at the former bomber plant. By the 1960's the home became a popular rental space for students and retirees.
The city of Ypsilanti purchased the home in 1965 for $55,000 and continued to rent it out as apartments. The only year on record that all eight apartments were rented is 1968, when students and city employees resided within. The last tenant moved out in 1970, and the city offered the home, known as the "Barnes-Ross house" to the Ypsilanti Historical Society to convert into a local history museum. The museum opened in 1972 after much repair and restoration. In September of 2006, Ypsilanti mayor Cheryl Farmer, and the city council agreed to sell the home to the Ypsilanti Historical Society.
The 12-room, 5,406 square foot brick mansion is now home to the collective memory of the history of Ypsilanti, and will continue to share these important stories for years to come.