Domino’s Pizza, Iggy Pop and Dimitrios Ypsilantis

The city Ypsilanti in Michigan, USA

What do Domino’s Pizza, Iggy Pop and Dimitrios Ypsilantis have in common?

In Michigan, USA, in Washtenaw County, there is a city called Ypsilanti. The well-known international company Domino’s Piz was founded in 1960 in this city, while the rock music star Iggy Pop also grew up there.

The first installation in the area took place in 1809 by the French-Canadian fur trader Gabriel Godefroid. Later, the officer Thomas Woodruff founded the first settlement in 1823, which was named Woodruff’s Grove. In 1825 another settlement was established on the other side of the river, which was named Ypsilanti to honor the Greek fighter and the liberation struggle of the Greeks. The two settlements merged into one entity in 1829 when news reached the United States on the Battle of Petra that ended the Greek Revolution and defined the borders of the new Greek state.

The then united settlement was given the common name Ypsilanti, which was officially registered as a village. In 1832 Ypsilanti was recognized as a city.

The bust of Dimitrios Ypsilantis by the Greek sculptor Christoforos Nastos.

It is worth noting that the name of the city is associated with another myth. According to the American priest reverend Harvey C. Colburn in his book “The Story of Ypsilanti”, Dimitrios Ypsilantis with a group of Greek volunteers, fought during the American Revolution on the side of the Americans. In particular, this group fought in the battle of Monmouth in New Jersey on June 28, 1778.

Obviously, this myth does not refer to Dimitrios Ypsilantis. Maybe it concerns another member of the Ypsilantis family. What is certain, and historically confirmed, is that in 1768 a considerable number of Greeks from Asia Minor arrived in Florida, USA, and founded Nea Smyrni there.

It is possible that a group of volunteers emerged from this community and that its leadership was taken over by another Ypsilantis, as suggested by the myth.

In any case, in the USA, Greece has been honored in many places and many cities have received Greek names, mainly during the Greek Revolution, to honor Greece and the Greeks.

The Americans offered significant assistance in money, supplies, food, clothing and medicine during the Greek Revolution, but also during the first period of the establishment of the new Greek state. These missions and distribution were coordinated by two great American Philhellenes: Dr. Gridley Samuel Howe and Jonathan Peckam Miller.

Ypsilanti is also known for two songs from American Music that you can listen to below.