Longtime Absolute Michigan friend Laura Bein has a feature in the Ypsilanti Courier about when Ypsilanti had its own time zone. It begins:
You have to love a city that creates, out of sheer cussedness, its own time zone. That was Ypsilanti from 1883 to at least 1904.
In the early 1880s, communities observed “local time,” also called “sun time.” Towns and cities gauged time by taking a measurement of the sun’s position. They set this time on a highly visible clock in town, such as a church clock. Townspeople set their timepieces by the church clock. However, due to varying sun-measurements, clock time differed from town to town, which made it frustrating and expensive for railroads trying to maintain efficient schedules. In 1883, the heads of the big railroad companies met in Chicago and agreed to adopt standard time, with four continental time zones, as their preferred system, in order to regulate their train schedules. Soon afterwards, individual states began to copy the railroads’ time scheme.
Michigan adopted standard time on September 19, 1885. The legislative decision read, “The People of the State of Michigan enact that standard time, central division, based on the ninetieth meridian of longitude west from Greenwich, shall be legal time within this state.”
Ypsilanti simply ignored this state edict. With a few exceptions around town, the city stuck to local time and refused to adopt standard time. And refused it officially-at an October 1885 City Council meeting, the Council voted to reject, denounce, and squash standard time!
Read on in the Ypsilanti Courier.