archival footage of the ypsilanti freighthouse found in sock drawer

About seven years ago, when it became apparent that our Mayor’s mind was set on closing the Freighthouse, I bought a video camera and headed down to the farmers’ market to shoot some footage…. I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but the Freighthouse was one of the main reasons I agreed to move back to Ypsilanti from California with Linette, and I wasn’t prepared to just let it go without a fight. My plan was to shoot a documentary that would help change people’s minds. Unfortunately, the footage I shot wasn’t all that great (as you’ll soon see), and the documentary was never completed.

Tomorrow, I’ve got a meeting with the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. They have some money they’re looking to invest in the area, and, with the help of Bill Kinley, I’ve asked them to come out to Ypsi, see the Freighthouse, and hear about our plans for the future. As it occurred to me that some folks at the meeting might not have any background with the old community building, I started digging through my old videotapes. The audio quality is absolutely terrible, and my editing is a mess, but I thought that some of you who miss the old Freighthouse might enjoy a little trip down memory lane. [I wish I’d gone and filmed at a busier time, but I went toward the end of the day, when I knew I could talk with people.]

[If I can get together the money, I’d like to take these old tapes to a video production house somewhere to see if maybe they can fix the audio tracks. If they can, I’ll get a bigger hard drive and see if I can do a proper editing job. I think a good video showing what the old place was like, and what it meant to people, could really help us as we go after the grant money to open the Freighthouse back up.]

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  1. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 16, 2008 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    That footage brings back memories of the freighthouse the way that throwing up brings back memories of an excellent dinner.

  2. mark
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Nice analogy, OEC… I may not use it during the meeting today. I just wanted to have something on hand in case anyone asked what the old place was like. As far as I know, it’s the only video footage that exists… On the plus side, even though the sound quality is terrible, the video looks pretty good (at least before I put it into YouTube).

  3. Reclusion
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    What’s most important is you have documented “The Seeker”

    I haven’t seen him around lately. He sits down in a chair near the end..

  4. Paw
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard him called lots of things, but never The Seeker.

  5. Clay Pidgeon
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    So Mark had hidden this footage in the bottom of his sock drawer, presumably next to his well worn copy of Al Gore’s titillating photo spread in Vanity Fair?

  6. Katy
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I had no idea that the freighthouse has been closed for that long. Makes me feel old. A friend of mine had a wedding reception at the freighthouse in May 2001 and from the sounds of it, it wasn’t open much longer than that.

  7. Mr. Krabtree
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Public spaces are so 20th Century.

  8. Reclusion
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Public spaces are overrated.

  9. mark
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    The meeting today with the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation went very well… At least I got that impression…. I’ll let you know when I hear more… Thanks again to Bill Kinley for helping to set the meeting up.

  10. mark
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Weird. I was just looking at that Papillon clip a week or so ago. Apparently, if you look really close, you can see that there’s a diver below Steve McQueen’s raft, stabilizing it.

  11. mark
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Now you’re making me wonder, Katy. I thought that the Freighthouse closed prior to September 11. Now I’m not so sure.

  12. egpenet
    Posted June 18, 2008 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    OK, OK, OK …

    No snide comments about shooting ratios and producing without a script, or cracks about sound quality …

    Here’s the offer …

    The theme for this year’s Heritage Festival display in The Freighthouse (Yes, the Cafe will be open!) will center upon our memories about Th Freighthouse.

    Remember the Hamburger Helper comments many of us made about what we remembered about The Freighthouse? Well … we will have selected comments posted … but we will need your photos (copies we can keep) or videos (on a DVD that you have looped, or we can loop) or any othr memorabilia you have that may recall the fun times: event posters, brochures, children’s art, your art.

    DO NOT SEND the memorabilia. Contact us first, so we know what is coming and can discuss the handling, etc.

    As for the photos you can depart with and the DVDs … kiss’em goodbye and send’em on in.

    MAIL TO: Freighthouse Festival, 108 N. Huron, Ypsilanti, MI 48197. Any questions, just email me at:

    All submissions must be in by July 15. NO EXCEPTIONS … says our curator. Hmm.

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