Ypsilanti's Ballard-Breakey House at 125 N. Huron.

The Ballard-Breakey House, at 125 N. Huron in Ypsilanti, is one of the area's most visible examples of Greek Revival style architecture. As with many of Huron Street's homes, it has a long history in the community. Neither of the house's namesakes, Arden H. Ballard and Dr. James R. Breakey, were its first owners, but they are the owners with the most entangled histories.

Initial construction of the home was in the 1830s. There is some evidence that Dr. Daniel White had a home on the property prior to 1834, but construction of the existing house is believed to have been begun by Marcus Lane in the Federal style, but dying in 1840, before the house was complete. Ballard, who had sold the property to each of White and Lane, and regained possession after each, provided the house with its columns in 1845, though the Greek Revival style was by that point declining in the area.

Dr. Breakey's family had the longest tenure in the house, moving in on March 16, 1916; Dr. Breakey's son, Judge James R. Breakey, Jr., inherited the property and lived in it until 1966. During the Breakey's occupancy, in 1925, the addition to the rear of the building was constructed, with entrances facing north onto the terminus of Washtenaw Avenue. By the late 1960s, the building was in disrepair, and the Haab family undertook restoration.

In the mid-1990s, there were plans to convert the house to a bed-and-breakfast. Currently, the older portion of the home serves as law offices, while the rear addition has been converted to condo apartments.

Ownership History

  • 1827: John Stewart sells Lot 101 of Original Plat of Ypsilanti to Hiram Burnham for $10.
  • 182?: Burnham sells property to Arden Ballard.
  • 1828: Ballard sells property to Dr. Daniel White.
  • 18??: White dies; Joseph Whitmore obtains deed for $500.
  • 1834: Whitemore and Phebe White (wid. Daniel) sell property back to Ballard for $410.
  • 1834: Ballard sells property to Marcus Lane.
  • 1840: Lane dies, owing Ballard a $5,000 mortgage; Ballard regains property.
  • 1870s: Helen Swift lives in house.
  •  ????: State Senator Dr. James M. Hueston lives in house. Dr. Hueston is listed in the 1893 Physicians' and Dentists' Directory of the State of Michigan as living at this address.
  • 1916: Dr. Breakey purchases house from Hueston's widow.
  • 1966: end of Breakey ownership.