i repeat, iggy was from ypsi

At the last Shadow Art Fair, a woman came to our table wanting to talk about our “Iggy Pop was from Ypsilanti” shirts. She wanted us to know that we were wrong, that he was from Ann Arbor, and that she should know, seeing as how they had dated. I told her that, with all due respect, I thought she was wrong — that he may well have “dated” her in Ann Arbor, but that his family lived in Ypsi… Anyway, the other day, I was in a bookstore, flipping though Paul Trynka’s new book, “Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed,” and I found this passage. I can barely read it now, as the image was taken with my cell phone camera, but I’m pretty sure it says, “Coachville Gardens Trailer Park is in green surroundings on Carpenter Road, just outside the city of Ann Arbor, officially in the township of Ypsilanti, Michigan.” I think Iggy says the same thing in his book “I Need More,” but I can’t find my copy at the moment… So, for the record, I’m right. While he did go to Ann Arbor’s Pioneer High, and work at Potbelly Sandwiches on State Street, he resided in Ypsi (Township) as a youth.

(And, before you get in my face, yell “I was his girlfriend,” and correct me, I know that he didn’t work at Potbelly Sandwiches. He actually worked at Discount Records, which, a few years ago was replaced by Potbelly Sandwiches. I just like to pretend that he worked there. For some reason, it really gives me joy to spread the rumor that he made shitty sandwiches for a franchise that didn’t even exist at the time. I’m odd that way.)

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  1. Posted August 24, 2007 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    In an introduction piece before the WNYC Paul Trynka interview, the announcer referred to Him being from “Ypsilanti, MI”, and the pronunciation wasn’t all wincy.

  2. mike_1630
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Psh… some girlfriend she was :)

  3. Sarah
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I don’t imagine that Iggy back then had much use for holding hands, sharing a milkshakes and exchanging promise rings. If someone claims to have been his girlfriend it probably means that she helped him to achieve climax. I’m sure this town is littered with 50 and 60 year old women who were his ‘girlfriends’.

  4. brian r
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Whenever I’m at the Ypsilanti Babies R Us or the Ypsilanti Henderson’s Auto Glass, I always make it a point to drive by his old place.

    It’s lot ninety-six.

  5. Ol E' Cross
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Coachville Gardens Trailer Park sits in green surroundings on Carpenter Road, just outside the city of Ann Arbor, officially in the town of Ypsilanti, Michigan.

    Read the entire chapter

    It’s easy to see how the girlfriend may have been confused, as Iggy apparently used to tell friends he lived in Ann Arbor:

    I went to school with Jim Osterberg starting at Tappan Jr. High … he talked of his neighborhood or section of Ann Arbor as being the area of the very rich … We were in 11th or 12th grade and Jim asked me for a ride home.

    We headed out Washtenaw Av and I got into the left hand lane to turn into the neighborhood that he had always led me to believe that he lived in. He said that he did not live there and directed me to a trailer court on Carpenter Road…

    Full text

    Iggy says:

    … I’m on the outskirts of the outskirts, between two towns: Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. I’m in a trailer camp called Coachville Gardens Mobile Park, and I live in Lot Ninety-six.

    Read full article in Rolling Stone

    I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, Mark, but Iggy’s right.

    Coachville trailer park is located at 3423 Carpenter Rd, between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti in Pittsfield Township( see Pittsfield precinct map, note: links to PDF). For locals, it’s the trailer park right before the Target.

    Coachville does have an Ypsi mailing address which may have caused the confusion over the years.

  6. Ol E' Cross
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Brian means the Pittsfield Twp Babies R Us and Pittsfield Twp Henderson Auto Glass.

  7. Steph
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I don’t see the confusion – an Ypsilanti mailing address is an Ypsilanti mailing address. He was from Ypsilanti, not Ann Arbor.

  8. Robert
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I was told once that Iggy lived in Tower Plaza for a while. Is there any truth to that? I’ve been berated for repeating that piece of ugly gossip. I guess people really hate the idea of Iggy living in a high-rise condo.

    Speaking of celebrities who lived around the area, I can tell you all that I accompanied a process server once when he delivered a court summons to Dee Dee Ramone in Ann Arbor. I remember he lived in one of those stupid apartment buildings on South Church or South Forrest, near Hill Street. An ex-girlfriend of his was suing him.

    We also once served a summons on a porn star as she worked the stage at Deja Vu. I think her name was Kelly J. or something. I had to duck into the bathroom in order to avoid the angry mob of bouncers and patrons who pursued my buddy out onto Pearl Street. He outran them. I waited for a few minutes and then slipped out of the bathroom and out of the building. Good times.

    I don’t mean to repeatedly take the topic off of Mr. Pop, but from what I gather, Bob Seger’s song “Main Street” was actually about Ann Street in downtown Ann Arbor. Does anyone else here have more details on that? I’ve been told that the “little club downtown” he mentions was located where the parking structure is now.

    I apologize for my comments here. Mostly, I’m just practicing my name-dropping for a trip to LA I’m planning.

  9. Ol E' Cross
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 12:24 pm | Permalink


    On postal delivery:

    …in many cases only the “default” name can be used, even when many addresses in the ZIP code are in another city … This phenomenon is repeated across the country … As a result, there are really two “Englewoods” – the actual city, small and with a largely working-class residential population, and, a number of miles away, the postal “Englewood,” a vast suburban area of upscale subdivisions and office parks that have nothing to do with the City of Englewood yet share a split identity with it solely because of ZIP codes… (source wikipedia)

    If what most defines home is where your mailman parks his Jeep at night, then Iggy’s from Ypsi. But, his Pittsfield Twp trailer was located closer to A2 then it even was to Ypsi Twp, let alone Ypsi City.

    In any case, the point Iggy seems to be trying to make is that he was stuck in the middle of nowhere, between two somewheres. Sounds like the Pittsfield to me.

  10. Posted August 24, 2007 at 1:17 pm | Permalink


    The song Main Street is indeed about Ann Arbor’s Main Street.

    Bob Seger was born in Dearborn and recorded his first few sides on the Hideout label in Detroit when he was real young. I’m guessing he lived in Ann Arbor for a while after this or went to U-M? A little research would answer that.

    As the resident record nerd, I had to chime in.

    About Iggy: I have a friend who used to party and hang out with Iggy and the Stooges back when they first started. He told me a story about when they played a small show at Farmington High School and they lost track of him afterwords and found him passed out in the girl’s bathroom floor.

    Ol’ East, you may be right, but I think Ypsi deserves him more than Ann Arbor. Maybe we should ask him now – probably back then it was cooler to say Ann Arbor to his high school friends and groupies but now he would say Ypsi.

    Besides, if Iggy’s not from Ypsi, what would Mark do with all those Iggy’s From Ypsi t-shirts? Maybe convert them to YpsiIggyPanties?

  11. brian r
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Iggy is to big to belong to just one community, culture, country, or faith.

    Sort of like Henderson’s Auto Glass.

  12. mark
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    I don’t have a reference handy, but I seem to recall that Iggy himself has said that he’s from Ypsi. I’d point out, however, that he didn’t say it like it was a good thing. My impression is that he hated it. I may be putting words in his mouth, but, if memory serves, I heard him call it a shit hole that he’d never return to. On the other hand, I think he’s still fond of Ann Arbor. A friend saw him and one of the Ashton brothers eating there not too long ago. I doubt he came back to Ypsi during that visit. One of my dreams is to geet him back here to walk around town and tell stories, both in AA and Ypsi. I think it’d be really interesting… And he did live in Ann Arbor too. He just didn’t grow up there… Once they got their record deal, he got a penthouse in an apartment building. It may have been that one across from Cottage Inn, but, for some reason, I think it was the building on South U.

    I decided not to become an academic, but, if I had chosen that path, I think that there’s a hell of a research paper in the subject of Ypsilanti and it’s influence on the young James Osterberg, Jr.

  13. pete
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Just thought I’d throw this out there. The lines between Ypsi/twp and pittsfield twp are extremely fuzzy. For instance near the area in question I remember stopping to eat at the carpenter mcdonalds before shopping at target. My McDonalds receipt said pittsfield twp and my target receipt said ypsilanti…they’re a few hundred feet apart at most.

  14. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I always thought that Golfside was the border between Ypsi and Ann Arbor, at least between Washtenaw and Packard.

    When I was a student at Tappan Jr. High, everybody said that Bob Seger once was a student there. I thought Iggy had been a student there, too (maybe: http://www.magnetmagazine.com/interviews/iggy.html).

  15. mark
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think you can use which school he went to as any kind of indicator of what town he lived in. What I’d heard is that since his dad was a teacher in the Ann Arbor system, he was allowed to attend… OK, I’m going to go and dig though boxes now and see if I can find his autobiography.

  16. Ol' E Cross
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Iggy seems to be a person without a place and the identity that place can give. Even in the trailer park, he was the only one with college educated parents. He went to a school surrounded by folks better off than he and came home surrounded by folks less off than he.

    I didn’t live here (or anywhere) then, but my guess is that in the 1950s a trailer park in the invisible borders of Pittsfield was more closely socially identified with Ypsi than A2, but even there Iggy didn’t fit. He lied to friends about where he was from, but, because he was from nowhere, what could he tell them? Instead, he told them where he wanted to be.

    Without a sense of place, Iggy created an identity that encapsulated the grit of the trailer park and gained him access to the penthouse. He merged the two identities that surrounded and eluded him into a self built on incongruity and then self destructed.

    (BTW, I’m totally talking outta my ass right now.)

    Mark, I look forward to your thesis. And, keep selling t-shirts. A) They’re at least half-true and B) If Iggy can tell his schoolmates he was from A2, you sure as hell can tell them he was from Ypsi.

  17. Bob
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Iggy’s father taught at Fordson High School in Dearborn. Also, I believe that Discount records was in another location when young Jim worked there. I think it was across the street if I’m not mistaken.

  18. oliva
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    One of his Iguana band mates was my landlord. I’m gonna try getting a hold of him to see what light he can shed. This band mate, a purely swell guy, lived on West Davis (404 W. Davis) in Ann Arbor, and the Iguanas used to practice there. One living room wall was a mirror, the entire wall (several mirrors actually), and so the story goes the boys would practice their dance moves in it, Temptations style! The place should perhaps be a museum?! Instead, some parents of a UM student bought it so their son could live there while in school, with them, and they changed the place in unflattering ways!

  19. soundman
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    i used to live in those apartments right next to coachville and i had an ypsi mailing address, yet my son went to an ann arbor elementary school off of packard

  20. soundman
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    also, discount records was always where potbellys is. never across the street.

    by the way, there’s tunnels under there that go all the way to main street. some old guy told me what they were for once but i forgot.

  21. Suzie
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Golfside is the border between Pittsfield Twp & Ypsi Twp, but zip codes don’t necessarily correspond to township boundaries, and most people think of the city boundaries in terms of zip codes. Pittsfield doesn’t have a zipcode itself, does it?, so the entire twp must be either Ann Arbor addresses or Ypsilanti addresses. You can sometimes get away with describing a location as, for example, Pittsfield Twp, 48197, if you don’t want to say you’re in Ypsi (what I hypothesize that McD’s might have done.)

    A link to more mapping info than you may ever care to see:
    (does not work in firefox)

  22. Posted August 26, 2007 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Keep in mind, also, that Carpenter Road was a much different place at the time. Wayne State has a good collection of aerial photos from the 40s/50s/60s; in 1962 BIG pdf), a good 14 years after Iggy’s family moved to Coachville, the trailer park was still essentially the only thing aside from farmland on the stretch of Carpenter between Packard and Ellsworth. 23 hadn’t been built yet, and the area north of Packard was just starting to be subdivided, and Pittsfield Twp was still a pretty thoroughly rural place. Carpenter Road was not what one would call part of Ann Arbor at that time – if it had an Ypsi mailing address, there really wouldn’t have been much reason to call it anything else.

  23. mark
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    From a reader named Rob:

    I was wanting to jump in on the discussion about Iggy, but for some reason, at least since your site recovered from it’s problems a few month’s back, I haven’t been able too. At any rate, as to why Iggy would go to Ann Arbor schools– Simple. The Coachville trailer park is within the Ann Arbor school district. For example: Carpenter Elementary school, where I believe the youngsters of Coachville go to K thru 4, is actually a block east, and even BEHIND the coachville property… And part of the Ann Arbor school system.

  24. k
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    So Iggy and Bob Seger are both from A2? Or at least we all agree that they both went to high school there, and that might indicate that? The article dirtgrain quotes sounds like Iggy has accepted A2. Or maybe we’re not counting the east side of A2 as A2 anymore? Bob Seger went to A2 High School, I don’t think there’s any question about that.

  25. Gene Quagmire
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Michigan people are so weird about addresses. Oh, and pronunciation.

  26. Ravi Saini
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating that the area was still mostly farmland even in the 60s and 23 wasn’t built yet! Hard to imagine farms between Ann Arbor and Ypsi.

    The book in the photo is wrong. The trailer Park is in Pittsfield Twp. Golfside Road is the dividing line between Pittsield Twp. and Ypsi Twp. whether you’re driving on Washtenaw or Packard. I can’t imagine somebody who lived less than 1/4 mile east of 23 saying they were from Ypsi, at least not today. Especially since it is in the AAPS district boundary.

  27. Ravi Saini
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Also I don’t like the comments from those that are hating on Ypsi…it’s got it’s problems, but it’s got a lot going for it too.

  28. Marc McFinn
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    For the record Iggy grew up on the border like me. I am from the Ann Arbor side which is culturally much more similar to Ypsi. We both grew up going to Ann Arbor schools and interacting with Ann Arbor style white folks. Having grown up with this parallel experience I understand intimately what made James Osterberg become Iggy. He grew up in Ypsi, but Ann Arbor made him like that.

  29. Skeptic
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Mark, are you really completely ignorant of where Ypsilanti Township is? Golfside/Munger is the border. Townships in SE Michigan are basically all 6 mile squares (aside from cities torn out of them).

  30. J
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    ” like rich, yeah, that’s right. These kids there, it’s a dry town. I’ve never cared for Ann Arbor very much. I went to school there really and that’s all. I lived, I’m from Ypsilanti, which is more like a town, it’s oakies, bunch of oakies.” Iggy pop.com

  31. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Born in Muskegon. Lived in Pittsfield–within Ann Arbor school district. Went to Ann Arbor schools. Lived much closer to the city of Ann Arbor than the city of Ypsi. Worked in Ann Arbor. His band practiced in Ann Arbor. His girl friend lived in Ann Arbor. When he claims to be from Ypsi in an interview he Mis-describes residents of Ypsi as “Oakies”–a term that does not apply to people of the area. He was a gymnast and golfer with college educated parents.

  32. David R Justian
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B was from Muskegon and so was Iggy Pop. He was raised in a great place since I love both Ypsi and Ann Arbor, but he was born in Muskegon, what the hay… so was Harry Morgan of Dragnet and Mash, though he went through his youth as Harry Bratsberg. Muskegon is a great place to be from, right on Lake Michigan.

  33. Kitty B. Kahn
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    The Stooges used to live in Tower Plaza. Back then a friend of mine used to work the midnight shift at Biff’s, which was on the SW corner of Thompson and William. Some of the Stooges used to come in to Biffs regularly. I mostly remember Scott Ashton and James. I think Iggy lived in Tower Plaza then too.

    Bob Seger was in the same class as, and was friends with, my brother and used to come over to our house in Ann Arbor. I think that was in elementary and maybe Jr. High too.

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