1809, three French explorers built a log structure on the west bank of an Indian
trading post and was one of the earliest structures in the vast, sparsely populated
Michigan territory, whose citizens, including soldiers, at first, numbered just
4,762. Gabriel Godfrey, proprietor of the trading post, was followed in 1823 by
Benjamin Woodruff who, along with several companions, established a small settlement
on the river a mile south of the post and named it Woodruff's Grove, the first
settlement in Washtenaw County.
In 1824, Father Gabriel Richard, Representative
in Congress for the Michigan Territory, urged the building of a federal highway
from Detroit to Chicago, to be known as the Chicago Road. In 1825, three prominent
settlers, Judge Woodward, John Stewart and William Harwood, combined their own
land to form the original plat for a new settlement at the crossing of the Huron
River and Chicago Road. It was named after the Greek Patriot General Demetrius
Ypsilanti. The city developed as stage coach stop, railway center for the trade
between Chicago and Detroit.