History of Lansing Hotels

History of Lansing Hotels

Copied from The State Journal; Lansing, Michigan; Saturday, February 8, 1930.

See updates connected to parenthesis notes like this (1) at the end of this article.

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History of Lansing Hotels Traced from Days of Coach

Many Famous Names – Benton House, Lansing House and Seymour House Dot Review Of Early Social Life of Capital City; Old Inns Played Part in Political Life Of State

The answer to the question: “What and where was Lansing’s first hotel?” is one of which none but the rash and imprudent can afford, at this late date, to be positive. There are three hotels for which this distinction is claimed by as many followers of local historians.

If you are guided in your beliefs of early Lansing by Albert E. Cowles’ “Ingham County, Past and Present,” then the Grand River house was the first. In the event your knowledge and impressions of pioneer Lansing are based on George N. Fuller’s “Historic Michigan,” then the Seymour House ranks first. But, again, if the records of the “Michigan Pioneer Collection” are your sign posts to historic accuracy, then the designation “first hotel in Lansing” would go to the Lansing house. However, it seems reasonably certain that the last two mentioned were erected in the same year: 1847. and that even if the building later known as the “Grand River House”, was erected previous to that year, it couldn’t have been used as a hotel before then. The reason is not far to seek: there was almost no people here to ask for even over-night accommodation. The handful of settlers lived in huts of their own, and one of those “huts”, a large one, was later the hotel referred to. And in addition to those three hotels, a fourth one. The Michigan house, was built in 1847, on the northwest corner of East Main and River streets, by John Thomas, who operated it for some years. It was virtually on the bank of the Grand river.

The preponderance of evidence available at this time, points most favorably to the belief that Lansing’s first hotel, in any sense of the word, was erected, as a residence, in June 1843, by John W. Burchard. It was he who built the first log house within the city limits of Lansing, as now defined. This story was told, in detail on Page 3, section 5, of the Anniversary edition. (1) Its location has been fixed as being slightly northwest of the present northwest corner of Center and Wall streets, in North Lansing.

First in City

Following Burchard’s death, and the re-purchase of the property by James Seymour, at the administrator’s sale, the site was leased to Joab Page, Whitney Smith and George Pease, as pointed out in the story referred to. The house in which Burchard and his family lived, however, is the one which is believed to have eventually become Lansing’s first hotel.

Fuller’s history, discussing the arrival of the three capitol commissioners at “Michigan”, May 20, 1847, to select a site for the capitol, says: “The principal building (the others being one or two houses and a saw mill), was the enlarged residence of the late John W. Burchard, who had built the dam. It was occupied by Joab Page, his son, Isaac C. Page, and his son-in-law, Whitney Smith, George D. Pease and Alvin Rolfe.” This would certainly indicate a continuity of living in the original house, with enlargements made necessary for the accommodation of these men, and very likely, their wives. Nothing is said in his history about a hotel, but Cowles history, discussing early hotels and referring to the place the Seymour house held, said “the Grand River house, quite a respectable building for those times, had already been built by Messrs. Page and Smith, at the northwest corner of Center and Wall streets.”

It was Cowles who located both Burchard’s house, and the Grand River house; it was Fuller who indicated that these buildings were one and the same. Their locations are within a few rods of each other; it is entirely possible that in addition to enlarging the original Burchard house, they might have moved it slightly to bring it out to face on a street, instead of languishing in the middle of a village “block.” The house of logs, which is believed to the be the “Grand River house,” was 20 feet wide, and 40 feet long, and two stories high. It is easy to see how a building this large would recommend itself to use as a “hotel,” as soon as the first rush of people followed the commissioners here, throwing up shanties and lean-to shacks in their haste to get established. Its name must have come about in a natural way, for every hotel must have a name. Little of the subsequent history of the “Grand River House,” is known.

As to the first hotel erected for the avowed and commercial intention of accommodating transients, the claim would seem to go, logically, to the Seymour house, erected in 1847 on the southwest corner of Center and Franklin streets, or Center and East Grand River avenue today. This would place it just one block north of the “Grand River House,” and on the same side of the street. The reasons for ascribing the distinction of “Lansing’s first hotel” in the commercial sense of the word, to the Seymour house, rather than to the Lansing house, near the state capitol, are these: James Seymour came here shortly after the capitol commissioners did. He was alive to every possibility of development, and finally, the first settlements of any kind were in this north section, and not in the south part of what is Lansing today. As to the “Michigan house,” no one is discovered to have claimed primacy for it. It was an early one, but not the earliest. In fairness to the records of the “Michigan Pioneer Collection,” it must be said that although the Lansing house is indexed “Lansing’s first hotel,” reference discloses no flatfooted contention; merely the recollections of one member on this point, are printed.

Other Pioneer Hotels

Besides the Grand River house, the Seymour house, the Lansing house, and the Michigan house, there were other pioneer hotels, whose known history is covered by mere recollections of their names. There was the Ohio house, directly in rear of the present Downey hotel, which would locate it on the south side of West Washtenaw street, perhaps 300 feet west of South Washington avenue. Then, in the extreme south end, east of Grand river, was Clapsaddle’s hotel, named after its builder, erected on the corner of East Main street and South Cedar. This was also known as the National hotel. It was directly across the river from the Michigan house, mentioned just previously. Clapsaddle’s hotel burned in later years.

Starting as nearly as possible, with the hotels, in the order in which they were started, consideration of the others rests first with the Seymour house, which, with alterations, survives today as Franklin Terrace. It was known, for a time after 1891, as the Franklin house. This was a two and a half story frame building, extending on Center street, about half way to Wall street, to the south. The front and short side, faced on Franklin street. The hotel office and bar room were in the front, of course, with the parlor and sleeping rooms on the second rooms on the second floor, just above the office. There was a dance hall on the third floor, which, in the words of Albert E. Cowles, “was too high for a half story, too low for a full story.” There were store locations on the first floor, in back of the office. In later years, the place was owned by E. S. Porter, who remodeled it into 16 apartments, years after its glory as a famed hostelry had passed, carrying away the days and nights when candles illuminated scenes of revelry among those high in official and social circles of pioneer Lansing. (2)

The Seymour house was erected by two men, father and son, Oliver Bush was the original contractor for the building. He died “on the job,” October 20, 1847, however, and the work was carried on by his son, John N. Bush, who came to Lansing in September of that year, and secured the contract. The son enjoyed a long career as a building contractor in Lansing, later erecting the Packard house, finishing this in March 1848. The Lansing house was also one of John N. Bush’s works. There were several school houses in this city erected under his supervision. When the Central High school building was erected in 1874, Bush became insolvent, and practically retired after his misfortune.

Original Owners

The original owners of the first Lansing house were two brothers: Matthew P. and Jeremiah Marvin. Mathey P. Marvin, by the way, was the father-in-law of Dr. Frank Stewart Kedzie, present historian of Michigan State college. The most valuable contribution to the intimate history of this old hotel comes from the files of the State Republican, as is the case with so many phases of Lansing’s history. In this case, the history is contained in a brief story from the very first issue of the old parent paper, and as the pages of this edition were published in the Anniversary edition, many have already read it.

The first Lansing house, built in 1847, was of logs. It was on the southeast corner of South Washington and East Washtenaw street, or directly east across the street from the present Downey hotel.

The log hotel was moved “back,” or east, in 1848, and the second Lansing house, a large three-story frame structure, was built on the original site.

The original owners evidently leased the place to Henry Jipson, who eventually bought the property, evidence would indicate. Certain it is that he was the manager for the first eight years of its existence, and in 1855, he was its owner. In April of that year, according to the April 28, 1855 number of the State Republican. Mr. Jipson sold the hotel to Nelson J. Alport, who had recently been managing the Seymour house. Mr. Alport had, before this, been proprietor of the Clinton house, one of the first hotels at DeWitt.

In the desire to deal with the earliest of Lansing’s hotels, in the order of their beginnings, it has been necessary to leave, until now, discussion of what, without any serious contention to the contrary, was certainly the most famed and best remembered of the pioneer hotels of this city – the Benton house, which was opened slightly later than any of the hotels heretofore mentioned.

This hotel, Lansing’s first brick building building, was located on the northwest corner of South Washington avenue and West Main street, where R. E. Olds’ residence stands today. It was started in 1847 and completed the year following, under the direction of Bush, Thomas and Lee, southside merchants prominent in the settlement. It was a four-story building, with a sort of attic above this, and its reputation was shortly well established as a genuinely first class hotel. It acted as a lodestone to prominent state officials, as did its rival, the Seymour house, at the other end of the city. The State Republican files contain a story of a banquet given there, in 1857, by Zachariah Chandler, shortly after his election, by the legislature of that year, as United States senator. The banquet room was on one of the upper floors, probably the second.

To those politically minded, the association of the names Chandler and Benton, is a queer combination; that leading republicans should patronize a hotel named for a nationally famous democrat, is a fact which attests to the merit of the place. The original owners of the Benton house were staunch democrats.

Benton House

The man for whom the Benton house was named by its loyal democratic builders, was Thomas Hart Benton, statesman, born at Hillsborough, N. C., in 1782. His fame as a statesman and a lawyer was enhanced to national degree, when, as a soldier under Gen. Andrew (not “Stonewall”) Jackson, he duelled with his vastly superior officer and wounded the general. In 1820, Benton was elected United States senator from Missouri, which office he held for 31 years. During Andrew Jackson’s terms as president, Senator Benton supported him, regardless of their earlier unpleasantries. From 1852, until his death in Washington in 1858, Benton was a member of the house of representatives. He is best remembered nationally today by his book, “A Thirty Year’s View,” a voluminous and valuable tome concerned with contemporary politics. But in Lansing, few people have known the connection between the senator and the hotel. Like Chancellor John Lansing, for whom the township and city of Lansing are named, and like Samuel D. Ingham, for whom the county was named, Senator Benton, of course never laid eyes on his namesake, the Benton house.

Charles T. Bush, one of the owners, was its first manager, but he shortly gave the reins to his son-in-law, William Hinman, and the finest memories of the old Benton house are associated with the man’s name. A son, William C. Hinman, lives at 119 East Main street today.

In November 1858 [or 1853-?], Mr. Hinman retired from management of the hotel, and his place was taken by E. W. Peck. This is shown by this paragraph from the November 13, 1855, edition of the State Republican, which said:

BENTON HOUSE – This popular hotel has changed hands, Mr. E. H. Peck of Detroit assuming the duties so welcome to a traveling public. We are sorry to lose the presence of mine host HINMAN, and miss his smiling face, but if a change must come, the mantle could fall on no better shoulders than those of the present proprietor. And he wears it gracefully and easily. Travelers will find at this house the comforts of home and the luxuries of a first-class hotel. Long may it be before it ‘waves’.”

It was shortly after this that Bush, Thomas and Lee demonstrated to the village of Lansing that they were aggressive business men. The story of how they donated a strip of their land for the southern extension of South Washington avenue, and assisted in building the first bridge over Grand river at this point, so as to tap the Jackson and Eaton Rapids stage coach line for trade, was told in the history of bridges of this city, in the Anniversary edition.

Maintains Prestige

Peck continued as manager of the Benton house for about two years, and that he maintained its prestige as a social center, is evidenced from the flowery notices of its parties and dances, which appeared from time to time in the State Republican. One of them in the edition of January 27, 1857, read:

BALL at the BENTON HOUSE” – It will be seen, by notice in our special advertising column, that the gentlemanly proprietor of the Benton house, opens his rooms tomorrow evening, 28th inst., for the delectation of the devotees of terpsichore. Good music, good supper, and a good time generally, are guaranteed.”

The advertisement announced that the “bill” would be $3, and the notice was signed by E. H. Peck.

But the hotel seems to have closed for a short time at least, in the last months of that same year, for an advertisement in the issue for December 22, pointed out that the hotel had been “re-opened” on December 21, by J. W. Holmes. An editorial jot concerning this fact was in the same issue. It said:

THE BENTON HOUSE – This well known house has been recently re-opened and refitted, by Dr. Holmes; and we speak what we know when we say it is an ‘A No. 1’ house. It is fast filling with company, and we fear the Dr. will make confirmed epicures of the whole of us.”

In June 1861, Martin Hudson, long connected with Lansing hotels, became the manager of the Benton house. He stayed in this position for only two years, despite the general impression among Lansing pioneers that Hudson was at the Benton house for a much longer period. Again, the filed of the State Republican bear witness to this, for in the issue of April 29, 1863, there was a notice that Martin Hudson had newly become the proprietor of the American house (formerly the Eagle hotel) “directly opposite the capitol.” This was at 215 South Washington avenue, at about where the Strand theater now stands.

In June, 1861, however, Martin Hudson became manager of the third hotel to bear the name “Lansing.” the present Downey hotel, he stayed in this capacity for the next 10 years. The withdrawal of Hudson from the Benton house seems to have marked the beginning of the end of the prominence of this old place. The business life of Lansing was beginning to draw away from the south end: Main street had long since ceased to merit its name, and the business settlement just across the river, on South Cedar street, had disintegrated by then, after its first flourish, like roots in shallow earth. Thus, when the then magnificent Lansing house was opened, in 1867, the Benton house was forced, shortly to close its doors.

The property was acquired in about 1868, by Dr. C. C. Olds, who used it for a boys’ academy, according to the recollections of J. P. Edmonds, who further states that two years later, it was purchased by Cyrus B. Paddock, who changed the name to the “Everett House,” when it was again opened as a hotel. Revival of its old position as a leader was impossible, however, and degeneration into a boarding house followed. The late Judge Edward Cahill eventually acquired it, and sold it to R. E. Olds, who had the building removed in 1902, to make way for his present residence, which was built in the year following. (3)

On Coach Line

To go back, however, to pick up the threads of hotel history from the year 1848, when the three-story frame hotel, the second Lansing house, was erected, we find that this corner in a few years, had become one of considerable activity for stage coach traffic between Lansing and Jackson, as the Seymour house in the north end, or “Lower Town,” was for Lansing-Detroit traffic. For a description of this corner in 1857, one must turn to the Michigan pioneer and historical collections, and cite a paper read before a meeting of this organization, by O. A. Jenison, Lansing pioneer, February 5, 1879.

Mr. Jenison was explaining the features of a picture of the old hotel, taken in 1857, which picture or “ambrotype” he was presenting to the historical association. He said: In front of the main entrance on Washington avenue can be seen the old, time honored sign posts; as we cast our eyes to the right, a small building with a wooden awning in front can be seen, which at the time was used and occupied as the great stage office between Lansing and Jackson; the next building to the right was used in part as the Lansing post office; and still further to the right is the Edgar house as it appeared in those days; at the left of the Lansing house, the barns and sheds can be plainly seen.”

James M. Shearer was manager of the Lansing house shortly after Nelson J. Alport bought it, and he so continued, eventually becoming its proprietor, or at least the lessee. The State Republican records his going, in the issue for June 23, 1857. in this paragraph:

LANSING HOUSE – This popular hotel has recently changed hands, Mr. Shearer having accepted the appointment of steward of the Agricultural college. The new lessees are Messrs, B. & H. Baker, gentlemen who possess the tact, energy and determination to maintain the enviable reputation acquired for this house.”

Shearer, first steward of the state agricultural college, tried, at first, to run his hotel and hold his job at the school at the same time. Dr. Kedzie, college historian relates, but after trying it from May 13, when the college opened, until the middle of June, he found he had to relinquish one of his places. The Bakers, in the meantime, had turned their lease over to Martin Hudson, in 1859, when he began management of his first hotel in this city.

It was also in 1857, that Lansing acquired its famous “Octagon hotel,” memories of which have survived to a relatively modern period. The structure still stands, fairly well preserved, in the rear of the F. N. Arbaugh company store. The hotel was built on the present site of the store, southeast corner of South Washington avenue and East Kalamazoo street, to be displaced by the department store. Col. Whitney Jones, one time postmaster in Lansing, and prominent real estate operator here in the pre-Civil war period, erected the place as a residence for himself, having a flair for the unusual. The State Republican for May 12, 1857, published a paragraph about a dancing party scheduled in the hotel for that evening. As usual, the affair was referred to as “toe tripping,” it being thought probably that the bald reference to “dancing” would be commonplace. Anyway, here’s what the jot said:

PARTY AT THE ‘OCTAGON’ – Our worthy neighbor, Thomas Treat, Esq., informs us that the ‘Octagon’ will be open this evening for the use of those who trip the light fantastic toe. This is probably the last hop of the season, and the delegation from our city should be commensurate with the extent of the recognition of this solemn fact. Improve the fleeting hours. Music extra.” (4)

The end of the second Lansing house came at 11:30 o’clock on the night of Sunday, June 2, 1861, and the files of the State Republican contain in full the story of the devastating fire which razed the historic old hotel. For five years, there was no hotel of that name in Lansing. Martin Hudson managed the Benton house for the next two years, when he left to take charge of the Eagle house, as indicated previously. Inasmuch as the Eagle house had been converted from the Columbus house and in view of the fact this was one of the very early hotels in this city, consideration thus turns naturally to the hotels which have been on this side, 215 South Washington avenue, for many years in the past.

Columbus House

The Columbus house, a three-story frame building, was erected in 1847 and 1848, by Christoper Columbus Darling, who came early to Lansing from Eaton Rapids in 1843 to help John W. Burchard to build his dam at what is now North Lansing. He also helped in construction of a second dam at this point, for James Seymour. Thus Darling was one of the earliest men to come to Lansing, several years before the city had even acquired that name.

Because of his prominent place in Lansing activities, the name of C. C. Darling was well known for reasons other than his hotel to which he gave his second name. One of his close associates was Myron Green, who died in Lansing, only seven or eight years ago, at an advanced age.

The connection of the Columbus, and the Eagle and the Hudson house, named for Martin Hudson, has always been indicated: the latter hotel was built on the same site as its predecessors, in 1875, when Hudson reached his peak in the hotel business.

Before this development, however, the third Lansing house, a four-story brick, was erected on the site of the present Downey hotel, in 1866, to replace the structure which had burned down in 1861, leaving the city without a really first class hotel. The first two Lansing hotels were directly east across the street from the third, which was erected partly by community subscription, but largely by Gen. Lafayette C. Baker, who used his reward money granted him for the capture of John Wilkes Booth, slayed of Pres. Abraham Lincoln, as detailed in full in a separate story in the Anniversary edition. The hotel was ready for occupancy in May 1867, and Martin Hudson was its first host. It was in 1875 that Hudson sold his interest to N. G. Isabella [Isbell], and built his own hotel, the Hudson house. (5)

The Lansing house was later managed by T. J. Lyon who sold out in 1882, to Jacob Aberle of Owosso. Henry J. Downey purchased the property in 1887, greatly enlarging and improving it. The hotel was damaged by fire in 1876, and again in 1912, but each time the damage was repaired and the hotel made better that ever before. In 1910 two more stories were added to give the hotel its present dimensions. The entire building, inside and out, was rebuilt, save for the walls themselves, after the fire in 1912. (6)

The fortunes of the old Hudson house are carried further in the complete biography of Martin Hudson, also published in the Anniversary edition.

Prominent in the minds of oldsters today, however, is that the old Hudson house, for years political headquarters, was made famous by the residence of Gov. Hazen S. Pingree, during his term in office from 1897 to 1901. Great was the concern and excitement when Governor Pingree, a physical giant had an over-sized bath tub installed in his living quarters of the Hudson house.

Another chapter was added to the long history of early Lansing hotels a generation ago, in the once well known Eichele house, conducted by Jacob Eichele, at 206 North Washington avenue. Coming to Lansing in 1867, Mr. Eichele went into the boarding house business, and later built a three story brick structure on North Washington avenue where his hotel was established in 1873. For 18 years, Jacob Eichele was the proprietor of this hotel which was famed in its day, when good and full meals were served for 25 cents. In May 1891, the lease passed to William P. Graessle, son-in-law of Mr. Eichele, who with his wife, Anna M., as assistant manager, continued the business for six years, when John Herrmann bought the place, together with the two stores on either side of it, in the buildings originally erected by Mr. Eichele. The hotel went out of business in 1904. The sons of Mr. Herrmann now conduct their father’s tailoring business at 218 North Washington, in one of the buildings involved in the sale. Mr. Graessle died July 29, 1928. Mrs. Graessler lives at 216 1/2 South Pine street.

Many Others

There have been a score of other hotels in Lansing, not mentioned in this outline, some better known than others. One of them, at random was the old Butler hotel, on the southwest corner of South Washington avenue and West Kalamazoo street. The Butler Block pharmacy now occupies this corner, but 25 years ago, the hotel here was one of the leaders of the city. (7)

While this sketch concerns itself primarily with the first hotels and the ones which closely followed them, mention of hotels best known in Lansing today, will prove interesting records in the future. The Kerns hotel, east side of the first block of North Grand avenue, was originally the Wentworth when it was built, in the early 1900’s, by Frank and Ellen Wentorth. In 1908 it was greatly increased in size after its lease to William George Kerns, son-in-law of the Wentworths. Mr. Kerns conducted the hotel in connection with the Kerns hotel which adjoins it and the two units are one, so far as the traveling public is concerned. Mr. Kerns retired from management in 1921. Mrs. Wentworth still leases her half of the joint hotel to the present management. The proprietor is Ernest E.Richardson, and the manager is Richard J. Murray, his son-in-law. (8)

The Roosevelt hotel, on the east side of the block of Seymour avenue, was opened late in 1923. It is owned by Frank Davey, Detroit, but its manager, well known in Lansing, is Charles T. Quinn. (9)

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November 2017 notes and updates, compiled by me, Timothy Bowman:

(1) The Anniversary edition referred to, was published five weeks before this article on January 1, 1930. It commemorated 75 years of The State Journal newspaper from 1855, which originally was called The State Republican.

(2) The Seymour House hotel which became the Franklin Terrace apartments was torn down in May 1931. The Arctic Corner ice cream place and its parking lot are on the site today.

(3) The R. E. Olds residence “mansion”, which replaced the Benton house, later Everett house; was itself wrecked in October 1966 to make way for the I-496 freeway.

(4) The Octagon House hotel was eventually razed in August 1935.

(5) The Hudson House burned down on December 18, 1919. The Strand Theatre was built on the site of this hotel and opened in April 1921. It was renamed The Michigan Theatre in 1941. And showed its last movie on September 1, 1980.

(6) The Hotel Downey closed its doors on May 1, 1936. Was torn down to make way for a new Knapp’s Department store, which opened on December 7, 1937. This iconic store closed on October 11, 1980. This building still stands today, known as Knapp’s Centre, with some businesses; and apartments on the upper floors. The Lansing State Journal newspaper moved its headquarters to the third floor there in January 2016.

(7) The Hotel Butler building was torn down in 1950 to make way for a new J. C. Penney store, which would open on June 5, 1952. Penney’s, the last of the big downtown department stores, closed on July 16, 1981. Cooley Law School bought the building, remodeled it over several years, and opened their law library there on September 30, 1991. It is still used for this today.

(8) The Hotel Kerns burned downed on December 11, 1934; tragically killing 32 people. The Hotel Wentworth which survived the fire, would be demolished in September 1966. Wentworth Park is on the site of these two hotels today, which has a historical marker for the Hotel Kerns, a 9/11 Memorial, etc.

(9) The Hotel Roosevelt which faced the St. Mary’s Cathedral Church, would be bought by the State Legislature in 1977. It was remodeled for House members offices. The Roosevelt Building was used until 1999 and torn down in early 2000. The Roosevelt Parking Ramp is on the site today.

Yes, there have been several other hotels and motels in the downtown area not mentioned. Most note worthy, the Hotel Olds which opened on July 14, 1926 at the southeast corner of Michigan and Capitol avenues. Also the Radisson Hotel which opened on October 14, 1986 at 111 N. Grand Ave. on the site of the smaller Hotel Detroit and directly across the street from the old Kerns and Wentworth hotels. This might be a research project to do in the future, a list of Lansing area hotels histories.

*

Photos copied from CADL’s Local History Online.

Historic Lansing, MI Hotels

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Naming of Lansing Streets

How the streets in Lansing, Michigan got their names.

– This compilation is mostly from a series of articles in The State Journal newspapers written by Theodore G. Foster (1888-1960), who was prominent in local real estate circles, having been a part in developing several subdivisions in the Lansing area. Most likely he interviewed his fellow real estate developers to get the reasoning behind the names. He was also a board member in the early days of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing.

– Also from other past newspaper articles, etc. that I’ve collected.

– I don’t completely understand everything Mr. Foster wrote, and some stories have more than one explanation.

– The dates after each entry are from when the appeared in the paper. The full names of the articles are at the end of this compilation.

– Some of the streets that were not obsolete at the time the articles were written, but now do not exist or are renamed.

– This does not include every single street in Lansing.

Compiled by Timothy Bowman.
Finished on July 16, 2017.

– You can read the original clippings at my Flickr page at this link.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lugnut215/albums/72157683546691484

—–

Ada Street – was placed on the market by Charles Clark and was named by him for his wife, Ada Clark. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Adams Street – named for the President, John Adams (Foster-03-06-1938)

Albert Street – was so named by Judge Albert E. Cowles when he platted the land. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Alger Street – was named for Hal Alger, who at the time was vice president and general manager of the Durant Motor company. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Alice Street – from Willow street north, the third street west of Roosevelt street, was named by Allyn Robertson for his wife, Alice M. Robertson, whom many will remember as Dolly Humphrey. (Foster-04-06-1941)

– located in North Highland subdivision, was named by Hollis Robertson, one of the proprietors of the plat who gave the street its name in honor of his wife, Alice Humphrey. Her grandfather, Ira Seymour, came to Michigan in 1826. (Foster-03-02-1958)
– from 1961 and 1962 city directories, Alice Street changed to the 1300 to 1700 blocks of N. Logan Street. From Willow Street north to the Grand River. Logan Street is now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Part of the 1300 block is still marked Alice Street. (Bowman-05-17-2017)

Allegan Street – was named for the county of Allegan which was laid out in 1831. Allegan county in turn was named for the Native American tribe of Allegans. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Allen Street – was named for Abram Allen of the firm of Allen and Hall. B.F. Hall, an early lumber mill operator and real estate developer opened the subdivision in which the street lies and it was only natural for him to select the name of his partner for a street name. Both men were active in all phases of the early development and affairs of the city. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Alpha Street – at the time of the opening of the subdivision by J. W. Bailey company, Angel Prigorris was among the first purchasers of lots and and Mr. Bailey offered the name of the streets Prigorris street. This offer was refused but a Mr. Prigorris’ suggestion, Mr. Bailey named the street Alpha and it used today. (Foster-03-16-1947)

– was so named when the street was established because it was adjacent to the Alpha Floral company. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Alsdorf Street – Cyrus Alsdorf was one of the early residents of Lansing having come to the city in 1856, at which time he was employed at the industrial school for boys. In 1870 he opened a drug store and in 1882 he took his son into partnership with him, the firm being known as Cyrus Alsdorf and Son. F.M. Alsdorf, the son, was active in both political and fraternal circles. The old Alsdorf home, located at the southeast corner of Shiawassee street and Capitol avenue was remodeled some years ago into apartments and is being utilized for that purpose at the present time. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Annetta Street [Road] – named by Grace M. Renker, who placed the subdivision on the market and conducted a street naming contest. The name, Annetta, was winner of the contest as well as being the name of the wife of the the former owner, Annetta Chills. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Ash Street – could have been named for the ash tree and that explanation is generally accepted today. However, in the early days James Turner built an ashery in the vicinity of the street on the banks of a small creek which at the time was called Olcott’s creek. This creek had cut a deep ravine and made an ideal place to dump the refuse from the ashery. Turner settled in Lansing in 1847 and Durant in his history of the county written in 1880 mentions the ashery that Mr. Turner built. Olcott’s creek was so called in honor of S. S. Olcott who was a land looker for the Seymours, Bushnells and Lees of Rochester and Utica, N.Y, who purchased land in Lansing township. Olcott built a cabin on the banks of the stream in 1836 or 1837. The stream was later called Pine’s Creek in honor of Captain John R. Price who settled in Jackson county in 1834 and moved to Lansing from Albion in 1847. Captain Price owned land along the banks of the stream and operated a brick yard near the present corner of Wall and Larch streets. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Atlas Street – a locative name for the Atlas Drop Forge company which was located in the immediate vicinity. (Foster-04-06-1941)

– was named from the fact that it was adjacent to the Atlas Forge company. The name has since been changed to Rundle ave. as before a continuation of that street. (Foster-03-02-1958)
– there is an Atlas Avenue in the same area today. (Bowman-05-14-2017)

Avis Street – was so named by Hiram Brown and his son, Elvin Brown, who were active real estate brokers in the city at the time with offices in the Oakland building which later burned. The street was named for Avis Brown Treadwell, daughter of Hiram Brown and sister of Elvin. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Avon Street – located in the plat of Torrance Farm addition, was probably named for some admirer of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, or it could have been named Avon for Avon, New York. Both the above reasons have been advanced but definite proof for either one is lacking. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Ayers Street – named by Robert S. Holmes for his wife, Katherine Ayers Holmes. Mr. Holmes for years was in the piano organ and music business under the name of W. S. Holmes and Son, and as the city began to develop, they gradually became active in real estate brokerage and development operations. (Foster-03-24-1940)
– from 1922 and 1923 city directories, Ayers Street changed to the 200 block of Westmoreland Avenue. (Bowman-05-14-2017)

Bailey Street – was named for J. W. Bailey, who for years was Lansing’s leading real estate broker and later leader in its real estate development operations. There has probably been no one operator and broker in the city who has seen a greater volume of business transacted through his office. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Baker Street – was named for L. E. Baker, who was owner of adjoining land. He was active in one of the early organizations of the city, the Lansing Bible society. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Ballard Street – located in D. L. Case’s subdivision, was named in 1863 for Appletown Ballard, on of Lansing’s pioneers who came to the city in 1848. He was also owner of the land nearby which platted in 1873 as Ballard’s addition. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Bancroft Court – was so named by Charles Fratcher, who developed the street and named it for William F. Bancroft, a long-time resident of the city who traveled for the Chicago Manufacturing company. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Banghart Street – is an old name in North Lansing, the family having located in Lansing township about 1880 and at one time owned 117 acres located where the street now is. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Bank Street – is a short street from Coleman ave. to Washington ave. parallel to the right-of-way of the L. S. & M. S. R. R. It was named from the fact that there was a slight rise in the street. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Barnard Street – was named for the Barnard family. William A. Barnard was a charter member of the Grand River Boat club and at one time was in partnership with his father, Stephen Barnard in the ownership and operation of a sewing machine agency. Later he was an employee of the state land office and was so employed at the time the street was opened to the public. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Barnes Avenue – in J. H. Moores’ Park place addition, was named for the Barnes family who were so long vitally interested in Lansing’s early industrial growth. Very early phases of the city’s early development can be found in which they were not participants in some manner. The family was one of the early pioneers having come to Ingham county in 1836. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Bart Street – (now obsolete) – from Warner street south, one block west of North Logan street. First east of Becker, which is now in Becker’s addition. No facts found as to how this street received its name. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Bartlett Street – this street could have been named for H. P. Bartlett who in the early seventies was proprietor of Bartlett’s Business college located at 206 South Washington avenue. In 1888 he is listed in the directory under Bartlett and Emery, real estate and loans. The Emery of the firm was Wesley Emery, the father of the present A. M. Emery. Mr. Bartlett at one time was a member of the board of education of the city. (Foster-02-09-1941)

– got its name from S. M. Bartlett who came to Lansing from Monroe and was superintendent of construction of the first building erected at the Michigan Agricultural college, now Michigan State university. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Beal Avenue – in J. H. Moores’ park place addition, was named for E. S. Beal, who was one Mr. Moores’ associates and owner of part of the land that was platted. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Beaver Street – Turner, in his history of Ingham county, states that the old mill race of the North Lansing dam was formed by a natural bridge or mole of earth between Olcott’s (Price’s) creek and the river and the land back of the ridge was a beaver meadow. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that Beaver street in that vicinity was named for the animal that was homesteading there. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Beech Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Bement Street – in the Lansing Improvement company was named for the Bement family, G. W. Bement, A. O. Bement and C. E. Bement, all of whom were engaged in the various manufacturing enterprises of the young and growing city. Edwin Bement came to Lansing in 1869 and in 1870 began the manufacturing of plows, stoves and bobsleds under the name of E. Bement and Sons. At the time Bement street was named, A. O. Bement was mayor of Lansing, Edward Sparrow was president and Ira Randell was secretary of the Business Men’s club, proprietors of the land, was the forerunner of our present Chamber of Commerce. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Benton Street – was named by Earl Covert, proprietor of the land, for his son, Benton Covert. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Berten Street – was named for Dr. Berten M. Davey, one of the proprietors of the plat. He was long a prominent physician of the city and was instrumental in the construction of the Hotel Roosevelt of which he was part owner. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Betty’s Court – (now obsolete) – it was named by Arthur Bradley, who owned and platted the land and named the street for his daughter, Betty Bradley. (Foster-04-06-1941)
– in the 1940 city directory, listed as running north from West Michigan Avenue, 1st west of the Belt Line Railroad, outside city limits. (Bowman-05-20-2017)

Bingham Street – the statement has been published that Bingham street was named for Ex-Governor Kingsly Bingham and not our local citizen, Stephen D. Bingham. As to whom it really was named for, we of this generation will probably never know. However, it seems more logical to suppose that the street was named for the local prominent man, Stephen D. Bingham. Green Oak subdivision was platted in 1872. Stephen D. Bingham was appointed postmaster in May 1871 and was postmaster at the time the subdivision in which Bingham street lies was platted. On three different occasions he had been editor of The Lansing Republican and at the time of the platting of the street he was political editor of the paper. Three previous editors had been honored by having streets named after them. It was only logical for the real estate developer or promoter to thus honor the editor, with the possibility of favorable comment of the project in the news item. Governor Bingham was governor in 1855-1859 and never maintained a residence here. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Bismark Street – (obsolete) – was a selected name for the street now known as Custer. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Black Court – was named by Wyllis O. Dodge for his uncle, Judge C. P. Black who previously had owned the land. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Blair Street – was named by W. K. Prudden, Colonel Rogers and others of the Lansing Home Building company. The street was named for Michigan’s war governor, [Austin] Blair. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Bluff Street – is a selected or descriptive name so called because in the early days the sharp drop of the hill to the old Wiemann creek was about as steep as any of the so-called hills in that part of Lansing. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Bon Air Road – a selected name given the street with the idea of its having sales appeal, the name meaning good air. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Bradley Avenue – in J. H. Moores Park place addition, was named by J. H. Moores for Nelson Bradley, who was one of Mr. Moores’ early bank associates. At the time the street was dedicated to the public Mr. Bradley was cashier of the Central Michigan Savings bank and vice president of The Building and Loan society. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Bridge Street – was laid out and developed at the time of the construction of the viaduct on the Charlotte road. Owing to the proximity of the the construction of the overhead bridge, the street was given a locative name. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Britten Avenue – was named for William T. Britten who was one of the co-owners and developers of the Park Heights sub-division. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Brook Street – was so named because of its proximity to the brook or creek than ran through the Englewood subdivision or that tract of land formerly known as the “40 acres.” The creek was the old Wienman creek. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Bullard Street – (obsolete) – changed to Corbett street. It was named for General Robert Lee Bullard of World War fame. The development was placed on the market after the war and as usual, after each war, towns, parks and streets received the name of outstanding military and patriotic persons. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Butler Street – now called boulevard, originally consisted of Butler street, Claypool street and Charlotte street; was named for Orange Butler, who came to Michigan in 1835 from Orleans county, New York. His son, Charles Butler arrived in the city in 1849. Both were active and respected citizens. Orange Butler was at one time part owner of the old Mineral Well hotel, located on River street just south of the River Street bridge. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Cadwell Street – (now obsolete) – was so named by Henry Cadwell who platted the land in 1887. He was a house mover, contractor and gravel pit operator. (Foster-01-21-1940)

– now part of Moores River Drive, 1100 to 1500 blocks. (State Journal-04-30-1918, Bowman-07-04-2017)

Cady Court – Jesse E. Narmore platted the land and named the street for Wilford E. Cady from whom he purchased the parcel of land to be subdivided. Curtis Tisdale Cady came to Lansing in 1854 with his son Wilford E. Cady who was 20 years of age. He was employed for a number of years by the old Lansing Iron and Engine Works that was located where the new city market has been established. Later he was actively engaged with Cady and Glassbrook, located at North Lansing, dealing in saw mill machinery. Eventually he was employed by the Hildreth Pump company which developed into the present Novo Engine company. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Call Street – located in Northlawn subdivision which was platted by Herbert Johnson and others, was so named by Johnson for Donald Call who was a Lansing newspaperman at the time and had just become a brother-in-law of Johnson’s. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Cambridge Road – a selected name given to the street developed as part of the River Side Country club. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Camp Street – was named for O. F. Camp, an old settler who at one time owned the land that was platted as well as all the land occupied by the present Groesbeck golf course. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Capitol Avenue – a descriptive name was so selected because of the fact that the new state capitol was to face the street. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Cary Street – Melanchon Cary was the owner of the land which was platted. (Foster-12-10-1939)

– I believe this is the same as Carey Street and at some point the spelling of the road was changed. (Bowman-07-04-2017)

Case Street – Daniel L. Case, who platted the land which included the street, was born in Canada and settled in Mason in 1843, where he opened a law office. In 1847 he moved to Lansing and was thereafter active in all civic affairs. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Catherine Avenue – so named by Grace M. Renker, the subdivider, as a result of a sales popularity contest. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Cavanaugh Road – see Emily Avenue.

Cawood Street – was named by Willard I. Bowerman for one of his salesmen, “Bill” Cawood. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Cedar Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Center Street – at the time the town of Michigan was platted there already had been some plans for development at North Lansing as it is now called. The first dam had been built, stores were in operation and a hotel was operating near Wall and Center streets. Center street was in the midst of these activities and the plan was for the street to become the trading center of the community. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Cesar Chavez Avenue – (obsolete) – in 1994, Grand Avenue was changed by the city council to Cesar Chavez Avenue, in honor of the Hispanic leader of the United Farm Workers of America organization. Was changed back the next year in a public vote. (Lansing State Journal-03-15-1994, 09-16-1994, 06-15-1995)

Charles Street – in the plat of Urbandale, the old race track, was named for Charles W. Foster, one of the stockholders of the company that placed the subdivision on the market. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Charlotte Street – (obsolete) – probably named for the city of Charlotte. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Chelsea Avenue – was named by C. H. Kempf, a banker of Chelsea, Mich.. who platted the land and named it for his home town. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Cherry Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Chestnut Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Chicago Avenue – was a selected name given the street by the Simons brothers of Columbus, O., who platted Englewood Park additon. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Christiancy Street – was named by Judge Rollin Person when he dedicated the plat of land that was formerly the old Christiancy homesite. Judge Isaac P. Christiancy came to Michigan in 1836 and to Lansing in 1858 as one of the judges of the supreme court and served until 1875 when he resigned to become United State senator. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Christopher Street – was named and dedicated by Mary E. Christopher when she platted the land in 1910. She was the widow of John Christopher. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Chubby Drive – was named by Claude Culver who gave the street the nickname of his son, Rhuel Culver. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Clark Street – was named by Charles A. Clark who for a great many years resided on East Michigan avenue. He was an active builder, and real estate operator. (Foster-01-21-1940)
– for Charles Clark, the sub-divider, who named it for himself. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Claypool Street – (obsolete) – the street was originally in a subdivision that was platted in 1870 and was that part of the present Butler boulevard that lies between Michigan avenue and Saginaw street. It was named for Albert Claypool, who recorded the plat. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Clear Street – was named for John Clear who platted the parcel of land in which the street lays. He came to Lansing in 1866, an early dealer in coal, ice and oil business which he entered in 1886 in partnership with Mr. Wells. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Clemens Street – was named by the Ulrichs who lived in Mt. Clemens and platted a few parcels of land in the city and suburbs. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Cleveland Street – was named by Ned K. Farrand who platted Farrand’s addition and named the street for President Grover Cleveland. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Cliff Street – was an extension of the the present Kilbourne street. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Clifford Street – was originally called Dyer street and was re-named for Mark Clifford who came to Lansing as a house to house rug peddler. He afterwards drifted into the real estate business and accumulated considerable property in the city. Upon his death he left lands and funds to the city for park and playground purposes. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Clinton Street – the deduction can reasonably be made that as so many of the streets were named for counties this street was named for the county which adjoins Ingham county on the north. Clinton county received its name from Dewitt Clinton through which efforts the Erie canal was built. It was due to the construction of canals in New York state that greatly aided some diversion of migration from Ohio to Michigan in the early forties and fifties. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Clippert Street – is in the plat of Urbandale and was named for George C. Clippert, who with O. E. Spaulding operated the old brick yard located on East Michigan avenue. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Coleman Avenue – in J. H. Moores’ Park place addition, was named for Merritt L. Coleman who was one of Mr. Moores’ associates. He at one time was secretary and treasurer of the Lansing Wagon Works and was with Shepard and company who were in the hide and grain business with quarters located at the southeast corner of Michigan and Washington avenues. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Condit Street – the short one block street from Cedar street to the old Lake Shore depot was given a selected, descriptive name, indicating a conduit or passageway. (Foster-01-21-1940)

– now renamed Anderson street. The previous explanation of the naming of this street as meaning a passage way, although appropriate, was incorrect. George H. Pratt, long a resident of the city, calls attention to the fact that the street was named for a Mr. Condit who was prominent in the administrative affairs of the L. S. and M. S. railway. Search reveals in the 1870’s there was also a station on the railroad about five miles south of Albion. At the time the station was named the railroad did not extend beyond the village of Albion. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Cooper Avenue – was named for R. W. Cooper, who with others owned and developed considerable land in the south part of the city which was platted as Elmhurst. He was for many years reporter of the supreme court and secretary of the board of education. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Cowles Street – it was so named by Judge Albert E. Cowles who owned and platted the land. Judge Cowles was active in all affairs of the city and at one time was the judge of probate. He came to Lansing in 1848 from the town of Jefferson, one of Ingham county’s “ghost towns.” Judge Cowles in his later years wrote a history of the city and county entitled “The Past and Present of Ingham County.” (Foster-01-21-1940)

Creston Place – a selected name in the Greencroft subdivision by the subdivider, V. R. Pattengill. (Foster-04-06-1941)

– was changed in 1968 to Markley Place in honor of resident, Muriel Markley. She had moved to 2418 Creston Place with her late husband Henry 47 years before. The reason the name was changed was because of confusion with Creston Avenue, located in the north part of town. (State Journal-09-30-1968)

Cross Street – there have been at various times 3 or 4 Cross streets in Lansing and its suburbs. A typical selected name for any short service street, for convenience and usually with no lots facing on it. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Culver Avenue – was named by Claude C. Culver who owned and platted the land. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Custer Avenue – changed from Bismark Street in 1918 during anti-German sentiment of World War I. Probably for famous General George Armstrong Custer, a Michigan native. (State Journal-04-30-1918, Bowman-04-17-2017)

Dakin Street – was named for John Dakin, who owned the land and was active in real estate operations with the Bensch, Dakin Walsh company. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Davis Avenue – in J. H. Moores’ subdivision was named by him for the late Benjamin F. Davis who was one of Mr. Moores’ business and banking associates and one of Lansing’s earliest residents, the family having come to the city in 1853. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Detroit Street – a selected name in the plat of Urbandale. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Dinsmore Drive – in the plat of Westmoreland, was named by L. B. Ayres of the Standard Real Estate company who placed the land on the market. John Dinsmore was the surveyor who had charge of the platting and engineering of the plat. (Foster-04-06-1941)

– took its name from John Dinsmore, a civil engineer who surveyed a large number of subdivisions in the city, including the plat of Westmoreland in which the street is located. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Division Street – (obsolete) – was so named because it was the dividing line between Townsend’s Addition to the City of Lansing and the City of Lansing. (Foster-12-10-1939)


Dorrance Place – Albert G. Dorrance in 1838 resided on East Shiawassee street and owned the land which he sold by metes and bounds descriptions for homesite purposes. He was a carpenter by trade. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Downer Street – the subdivision in which Downer st. is located was platted by William Vetter, who named the streets. Downer was named for his wife’s family name, he having married Esther D. Downer. The subdivision was later taken over by the Hacker company and replatted. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Downey Street – (obsolete) – was originally platted by Charles P. Downey and L. S. Hutton in their plat of Beechenbrook. The plat was abandoned and replatted. Downey street, First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth avenues all were replatted. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Drury Lane – was named by E. E. Porter for his son Drury L. Porter in his Handy Home addition. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Dunlap Street – was named for Joseph Dunlap, owner of the land subdivided. He had for years been an employee of the post office department as a mail carrier. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Durant Street – in Durant sub-division, was offered to the public by the J. W. Bailey company and was named for William C. Durant, who was active in the automotive industry in the city and who had recently organized and built the plant of the Durant Motors which is now the main Lansing unit of the Fisher Body corporation. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Dwight Street – was named for Dwight Smith, who with James M. Turner was one of the owners and platters of the subdivision which was recorded in 1874. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Earl Street – (obsolete) – was the first street west of Logan street, south of St. Joseph; has now been re-named Birch street. (Foster-12-10-1939)

East Street – was another typically locative name, it having been the east city limits at the time it was named. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Eastlawn Drive – a selected name derived from the subdivision in Eastlawn which was offered to the public by the J. W. Bailey company. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Eaton Road – a selected name by the subdividers, the Pattengill-Foster company. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Edward Street – was named by W. O. Oxendale who dedicated the street to the public for his son, Edward Oxendale. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Eighth Street – originally named Kerr street and was changed at the requests of those who resided on the street who claimed that it was offensive when the conductor of the street car would call the street name of “Kerr” to have some joker call out “all dogs out.” The residents of South Kerr street wanted one name selected and those who resided north of Michigan avenue had a different selection, so at the suggestion of our present auditor general, Vernon J. Brown, who was a councilman at that time, the compromise name of Eighth street was selected. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Elaine Street – was a name selected by Grace M. Renker for the street in her Michigan Heights sub-division. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Elizabeth Street – (obsolete) – as there was no bridge crossing the Grand river at Washington avenue at this time, the street south of the Grand river at this point was called Elizabeth street. Biddle City as laid out by the Ford brothers had an Elizabeth street but it is reasonable to conclude that the name was selected by James Seymour for Elizabeth street of Rochester, N.Y. Upon the erection of the bridge at this point it was only natural for the name of Washington avenue to be adopted for the extension, then under a different name. (Foster-03-06-1938)

– was named by Benjamin Hall for his daughter Elizabeth Hall. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Elliot Street – a short one block street that ran from Center street west to the Grand river through land that is now occupied by the Lansing company. It was in land that was platted as Elliott’s subdivision by Richard Elliott who was a produce dealer living at the corner of Center and Clinton streets. (Foster-01-21-1940)

– was renamed Oakland Avenue when that street was extended. (State Journal-01-26-1965)


Elvin Court – was named by Hiram W. Brown for his son, Elvin D. Brown. Father and son were active in the real estate, building and insurance business under the name of the Brown Insurance agency. H. W. Brown at one time was secretary and manager of the Brown Machine and Engine company. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Elm Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Elvin Court – was so named by Hiram Brown, who, with his son, Elvin Brown, was in the real estate business in Lansing for years. Hiram Brown was one of the active organizers of the Lansing Real Estate Exchange which was the forerunner of the present Lansing Real Estate board. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Emily Street – [Avenue-?] – in the plat of Orchard Gardens, was named by William H. Newbrough, who was the holder of the land when platted. The land before being platted was the location of the Cavanaugh Poultry farms and the street was named for Mrs. Emily V. Cavanaugh. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Englewood Court – was named for the subdivision, Englewood Park, in which it is located. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Euclid Street – now called Euclid place, probably selected and named for one of the prominent streets of Cleveland. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Eugene Avenue – in the plat of Orchard Gardens, was so named by William H. Newbrough, in honor of his father, Eugene Newbrough. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Eureka Street – was probably a selected name with supposed sales appeal. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Evans Street – (obsolete) – was the first street north of Franklin, now Grand River avenue, that lies east of the Michigan Central railroad. It is now called North street. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Factory Street – so called for the anticipated manufacturing and milling development that was expected to take place along it, as the land on the west side of the street abutted the mill race. Durant’s history of Ingham county has a very good description of the early mills of the city and true to expectations the street did develop into a manufacturing center for the new community. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Fair Street – (obsolete) – the south end of the present Butler street. The 1873 city directory states that it was a continuation of Claypool street. It was so called because of the fact that it was the main thoroughfare to the old state fairgrounds which is now occupied by the Olds Motor Works. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Fairhurst Avenue – (obsolete) – a selected name. Changed to Rosemary. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Fairview Avenue – was a typically selected name although at the time the street was platted the view to the east and south was such that the name could have been described as descriptive. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Fenton Street – a selected name by the subdivider, T. B. Foster. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Fernwood Avenue – a selected name by the subdivider, F. B. McKibbin company. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Ferris Street – was named for the Rev. Mr. J. C. Ferris, who owned land facing the street and not for Alonzo Ferris, who was one of the committee appointed by the governor of the state to lay out the original plot of the Town of Michigan. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Fish Street – (obsolete) – on the original plat Fish street was the narrow street west of Turner street that ran along the east bank of the Grand river, north of Franklin avenue. This street was vacated and later was occupied by an auto body company. It was probably named by James Seymour for the Fish street of Rochester, N.Y. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Florence Street – was named by Patrick H. Healy for his daughter, Florence Healey. P. J. Healey and Frank J. Tisdale were owners of the subdivision. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Foster Avenue – in Foster Farm addition, was platted by Dr. Joseph and Nora Baird Foster and was part of the Foster Homestead farm. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Frances Street – the original Frances street was in J. M. Frenche subdivision, but is now part of Cary street. No reason for the selection of the name for the present street has as yet been ascertained. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Franklin Avenue – (obsolete) – no doubt was selected in honor of Benjamin Franklin. (Foster-03-06-1938)

– the street was re-named Grand River Avenue in 1925. The change in name of the thoroughfare was part of a scheme to have a Grand River avenue extending across the state as suggested by the state administrative board. (State Journal-09-29-1925)

Frazel Street – (obsolete) – a street in the Harris subdivision. Now part of the land occupied by the Reo Motor Car Company. Jake Frazel was owner of a meat market in the city at the time it was platted and was a neighbor of the platter of the land, J. S. Harris. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Fremont Street – named by James H. Lyman, a Civil war veteran, who as proprietor named the street for Gen. John C. Fremont of Civil war days. (Foster-02-09-1941)

– in Lyman’s subdivision, was named by James H. and Pliny Lyman, who as proprietors of the land, named it for Gen. John Fremont, the soldier and explorer. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Fulton Place – got its name from the wife of Dr. Samuel Osborn, whose maiden name was Gladys Fulton. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Garey Court – the city of Lansing changed the name in 1990 of Garey Court to Quaker Court after the low-income housing renovating company Quaker Management bought and upgraded all six houses on the street. Quaker Management was formed by a group of Eastern High School graduates, whose nickname is the Quakers. (Lansing State Journal-03-04-1990)

Garfield Street – another of Frank Tisdale’s selected patriotic names. (Foster-02-09-1941) [probably for President James A. Garfield]

Genesee Street – was named for the county which was laid out in 1835. The Genesee county of Michigan was named for the county of that name in New York state which derived its name from the Sebeca Indian language meaning beautiful valley. (Foster-03-06-1938)

George Street – was named by James Hammell, an ex-mayor of Lansing, for his son, George Hammell. Mr. Hammond was one of the owners of the parcel of land offered to the public under the subdivision name of Olds park. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Gier Street – derived its name from Burton S. Gier, who was active in industrial and civic affairs of the city, and who was one of the organizers of the Gier, Dail Pressed Steel company, which later became the Gier Steel Products and later became a unit of the Motor Wheel company. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Glen Street – was so named for Jacob Glen, who was one of the committee of three who represented the state in laying out the original Town of Michigan. It was the ninth street west of Washington avenue from Grand River north to St. Joseph street, and has since been renamed. The present Glenn street was so named by Joseph W. Bailey when the J. W. Bailey company platted the land. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Gold Street – (obsolete) – listed as running from Center street to Turner street and was one block long. First street north of Franklin. Land now occupied by the Auto Body company. No explanation. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Gordon Avenue – was named by R. J. Cooper, one of the proprietors of the subdivision, for his son Gordon Cooper, who was killed in the air service in the war of 1917. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Grace Street – in Grace Renker’s Michigan Heights subdivision, was named by and for herself. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Grand Avenue – was selected for the name of the street that parallels the Grand river through the main part of the Town of Michigan. The name can be considered as a borrowed name from the river but from the viewpoint of the promoters it had sales appeal which in later years proved true as at one time it was developed into the finest residential street of the city. (Foster-03-06-1938)
– was renamed Cesar Chavez Avenue for about a year., then changed back. (Lansing State Journal-03-15-1994, 09-16-1994, 06-15-1995)

Grant Street – one of Frank J. Tisdale’s patriotic selected names. (Foster-04-06-1941) [probably for General and President Ulysses S. Grant]

Greencroft Avenue – a selected name by the subdivider, Pattengill-Foster company. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Greenlawn Avenue – a selected name by the subdivider, V. R. Pattengill. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Grove Street – a selected or descriptive name for the land adjacent to it. The heavily wooded tract of land commonly known as the “40 acres.” (Foster-01-21-1940)

Haag Court – was named by W. L. Haag who, with his wife, dedicated the street to the public in 1912. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Hall Street – was named for a Mr. Hall who lived on Ferris street at the end of Larch street, but because of the jog the name of Hall was selected as for a new street. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Hammond Street – was named for J. M. Hammond and was in Cadwell’s addition, in land plated by Henry Cadwell which he purchased from Mr. Hammond. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Harley Street – (obsolete) – was a one block street from Michigan avenue through land platted by Harley Ingersoll who was an early real estate operator in the city and was listed as such in some of the early city directories. He at one time owned and operated a wholesale dry goods store located in this city. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Hayford Street – Fred and George Hayford were with F. J. Tisdale as salesmen when Mr. Tisdale platted the land here and operated under the name of the Boston Land company. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Haze Street – (obsolete) – it was the first street south of Spring street that was located east of Cedar river, a continuation of Isaac street or the present Olds avenue. It was named for Doctor Haze, who came to Ingham county in 1838. Doctor Haze is sometimes given credit for leading the fight in the state legislature that kept the present Michigan State college as a separate unit in its present location instead of combining with the University of Michigan, as was being advocated at that time. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Hazel Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Hazeltine Place – (obsolete) – a street on the banks of the Grand river from South street, south to the railroad. Now occupied by Scott playgrounds. No explanation for the selection of the name has been found. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Heald Place – was named for C. M. Heald, who was at the time of the dedication of the street, president of the Pere Marquette railroad, along the property line of which the street is parallel. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Henry Street – was named by Henry R. Cadwell for himself. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Herbert Court – (obsolete) – now called Gilbert Court. The original name was given the street by Herbert Rogers who platted the land. He was in the real estate business and connected with the Lansing Business Institute. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Herbert Street – in Hall’s south side addition, was named by Horatio H. Larned, one of Lansing’s pioneer business men. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Hess Street – in the Park Heights Land company’s addition, was named for Otto Hess, who was the engineer in charge of the development. (Foster-02-09-1941)

High Street – was so named because of the fact that the street passed over a high bridge located northeast of the city on what is now called the Gunnisonville road. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Hill Street – a descriptive name. The original hill was very steep and at present time has been much cut down. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Hillsdale Street – was named for Hillsdale county which is descriptive of the hills and dales. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Holmes Street – named for Dr. James Holmes, who was prominent in Lansing business and fraternal circles and at one time was proprietor of the Benton House, one of Lansing’s first hotels. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Home Street – in E. S. Porter’s Handy Home addition. A selected name. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Homer Street – was named for Homer Fowler, one of the stockholders of the subdividers of the old race track, an Urbandale subdivision as it was later known. Mr. Fowler was at one time the county register of deeds. (Foster-02-09-1941)
– in the plat of Urbandale, was named for Homer Fowler who was one of the stockholders of the Ingham Land company who placed the parcel on the market. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Homewood Avenue – a selected name by the F. B. McKibbin company for a street in their Maple Hill subdivision. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Horner Street – (obsolete) – located in Cornell’s Addition, located west of the School for the Blind. No explanation for this name has been found. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Horton Street – in Horton Longyear’s subdivision. Was named by and for himself. In his younger days he was employed in the bank known as the “Longyear bank” and later was active in organizing a bank at Bellevue, Mich. After disposing of his interests there he returned to Lansing to take an active part in a retail furniture business. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Hosmer Street – was named for Rufus Hosmer, one of early Lansing’s most prominent citizens. He was born in 1819 and graduated from Harvard university in 1834. He settled in Michigan in 1838 and came to Lansing in 1857. He was active in most community affairs and was at one time editor and publisher of the old Lansing Republican. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Howard Street – in the plat of Urbandale on East Michigan avenue was named for Howard Krause. He was one of the stockholders of the Ingham Land company which platted the subdivision. The Howard avenue at North Lansing in Turner and Smith’s subdivision was probably named for Jacob M. Howard who was at one time United States senator from Michigan which he held until 1871. The fact that Mr. Turner was extremely active politically would lead to the above conclusion. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Huron Road – (obsolete) – a street in Cedar Acre subdivision from Cedar street west to the old Mason electric line right of way. Now a continuation of Rockford road. When the strip of land south of Mt. Hope avenue was annexed to the city the name was changed so as not to conflict with the present Huron street on the west side. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Howe Street – was named by W. S. Holmes and son, Robert S. Holmes, for Mrs. W. S. Holmes who before her marriage was Miss Adelia Howe. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Hungerford Street – was named for Mrs. Morgan B. Hungerford, owner of the land. She was the daughter of Dr. William H. Haze, who was one of Lansing’s early pioneers and at one time was mayor of the city. Dr. Haze owned considerable land on the west side of the city and Haze and Hungerford streets were thus named for his family. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Isaac Street – (obsolete) – in the original plat the name was in the honor of Isaac Townsend who was an extensive owner of land in the vicinity of the new town. Considerable of this land was later platted by his heirs. The name was changed to Olds avenue by an act of the common council on April 29, 1929. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Ionia Street – was named for Ionia county, named in turn for the ancient Greek settlement. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Isbell Street – was named for S. M. Isbell of Jackson, Mich., who was in the grain and seed business there and eventually established a bean elevator here in the city. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Jason Court – from S. Cedar st. east, the first north of Baker st., was named for Herman Jason, who for years, under the firm name of Jason & Turner, operated sawmills in the vicinity of Williamston and Perry. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Jay Street – the short street from Cedar street west to the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railway tracks or to the entrance to the pumping plant of the city water works was in the subdivision placed on the market by Jones, Smith and Chapman. No definite explanation for the name has been found but Jones and J. C. Smith can lead to a conclusion for the selection. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Jefferson Street – named for the President, Thomas Jefferson. (Foster-03-06-1938)

– was renamed Oakland Avenue when that street was extended. (State Journal-01-26-1965)

Jerome Street – so named for George Jerome, who was at one time a silent partner in the ownership of the Lansing Republican. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Jessop Avenue – now called Cavanaugh road, was originally named by the subdivider of Jessop’s Home Gardens in honor of the family who owned the land that compromised the plat of Maple Hill on South Cedar street. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Jones Street – was named for Col. Whitney Jones, who was auditor general in 1854. He was at one time postmaster and was active in the civic as well as the real estate development of the city and lived at the corner of Pennsylvania and Michigan avenues. He came to Detroit in 1839 from Jamestown, N.Y., and then removed to Marshall, thence to Eaton Rapids, then to Grand River City or Ingersoll Mills and finally to Lansing. He was the builder and owner of one of Lansing’s most elaborate homes, the old “octagon house” located where Arbaugh’s store now is. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Josephine Drive – was named by W. O. Dodge for his sister, Josephine Dodge. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Kalamazoo Street – was named for Kalamazoo county, named for the Kalamazoo river, the Indian name meaning bright or boiling water. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Kensington Road – was a selected name, for the street in Greencroft subdivision by V. R. Pattengill. Most of the selected names in Greencroft were selected by Mr. Pattengill as being representative names of streets in the high class subdivisions of Ottawa Hills, Toledo and Shaker Heights of Cleveland. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Kerr Street – (obsolete) – now renamed Eighth street, the name having been changed by the common council. It was originally named for John A. Kerr, who was mayor of the city in 1860 and another one of the Lansing Republican’s early editors for whom a street was named. (Foster-12-10-1939)
– named for Mayor, years ago Lansing had a Kerr street, which was named for John Kerr, who was one Lansing’s prominent and really influential early citizens. He was at one time owner and editor of the Lansing Republican, which was a forerunner of the present State Journal. John Kerr probably took a lot good-natured ribbing and kidding because of his name, but the residents of the street at later date apparently were more thin-skinned and could not take the kidding. A petition was circulated to change the name and this the council did. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Kingsley Court – was originally named Foster court by the subdivider, Foster M. Chaffee, but renamed Kingsley court because of the confliction with Foster avenue in Foster Farm addition. Phineas Kingsley was the owner of the land facing Logan street through which the entrance to the court was made. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Kirby Drive – on N. Logan st., was so named after W. B. Kirby, who at the time of the naming of the street was secretary of the city water and electric light commissioner; when they created the street to establish a pumping station. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Kudner Street – (obsolete) – now Maple street. Originally platted and named by and for Charles Kudner who owned the land platted. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Lafayette Street – a purely selected name by Earl Covert, who was the sub-divider of the land in which the street lay. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Lahoma Street – no definite explanation but suggested that it was a manufactured name to mean “the home” street. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Lapeer Street – was named for Lapeer county, named for the principle river in that county. In naming the county the French term La Pierre was used instead of the Indian term. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Larch Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Larned Street – in the Lansing Improvements company’s addition, was named for H. H. Larned, a prominent merchant of the city who for years was one of the leaders in the Lansing Business Men’s club, which was the forerunner of the present Chamber of Commerce. He was active in the banking and manufacturing enterprises of the city and served for years as a member of the Board of the Industrial School for Boys. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Lathrop Street – was named for George E. Lathrop who at one time operated a meat market here. His wife Rossita Shepard owned the land which was platted. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Lee Street – was named by Daniel Lee of the real estate firm of Bush, Thomas & Lee, who in 1847 acquired their real estate holdings in the city. He came from Brighton, Mich., to this city. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Leitram Avenue – was named by William Foster, a pioneer farmer who resided on West Saginaw street. He named the street for Leitram in Ireland his home, before coming to Michigan. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Lenawee Street – was named for Lenawee county which derived its name from the Delaware Indian language meaning “man” or the Shawnee Indian form “lenawi”, meaning “Indian.” (Foster-03-06-1938)

Lenore Street – was named by William S. Oxendale for his wife, Lenore Oxendale. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Lesher Place – was named for C. P. Lesher who resided in the five hundred block North Pennsylvania avenue and for a great many years was engaged in the manufacture of the famous C. P. L. cigar, one of the old time best selling cigars in this vicinity. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Leslie Avenue – was named by Leslie Ulrich of Mt. Clemens who was one of the proprietors of the plat of Leslie Park. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Lewis Street – (obsolete) – was originally the first street east of Cary street and was named for Lewis D. Preston, who was the surveyor of the plat and also acted as surveyor for most of the early plats of the city. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Liberty Street – probably named for Liberty street of Rochester, N.Y. by James Seymour. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Lincoln Avenue – a selected patriotic name by Frank J. Tisdale. (Foster-04-06-1941) [probably for President Abraham Lincoln]

Lincoln Court – (obsolete) – changed to John street. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Lincoln Street – (obsolete) – a selected name for President Lincoln in Cornell’s Addition. A plat that was later vacated. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Lindbergh Drive – was named by Col. Fred E. Shubel, owner of the plat, for Colonel Lindbergh who at the time was the world hero. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Linden Street [Avenue] – a selected name for that street which was the south city limits but is now known as Mt. Hope avenue. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Linval Street – named after Linval A. Torrance who had previously owned the land from which the Torrance Farm addition subdivision was created. Previous to that the land had been owned and a farmhouse was built in 1853 by William F. Davis, father of banker and prominent citizen Benjamin F. Davis. (Bowman-03-21-2017)

Logan Street – (obsolete) – was probably a selected patriotic name in honor of General Logan of Civil War fame. Part of the street was originally West street. (Foster-12-10-1939)
– was renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard after the Civil Rights Movement leader. (Lansing State Journal-04-25-1989, 08-22-1989, 03-29-1994)

Lowcroft Street – named by the sub-divider, T. G. Foster when the plat of Lowcroft, a low hill was offered to the public. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Lyman Street – was named by P. M. Lyman for his father, James H. Lyman, the co-owner’s of Lyman’s addition to the city. (Foster-02-09-1941)
– platted and named in 1910 by James H. and Pliny Lyman. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Madison Street – named for the President, James Madison (Foster-03-06-1938)

Mahlon Street – in 1917 Burton Mansfield purchased the land in which the street lay from Mahlon Slade and placed it on the market and giving the street its name for the man from whom he purchased the land. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Main Street – (obsolete) – was so named because of the fact that there was a business and mill development near the confluence of the Grand and Red Cedar rivers. In 1847 there were three hotels located on the street and to the pioneers it certainly must have appeared to be the “coming” street of the new community. (Foster-03-06-1938)
– was renamed Malcolm X Street. (Lansing State Journal-09-14-2010)

Malcolm X Street – in 2010, Main Street was renamed Malcolm X Street, in honor of the civil rights leader who had lived part of his youth in Lansing and Mason. Then known as Malcolm Little. (Lansing State Journal-09-14-2010)

Maple Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Maple Hill Avenue – was also the name of the subdivision platted on South Cedar street by the F. B. McKibbin company. The name is descriptive and was selected by a subdivision naming contest. The land compromising the subdivision was owned by Alice Jessup and William Hunter. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Marion Street – named by Patrick H. Healey of Tisdale and Healey for Marion Caniff. This street now called Woodrow street as it conflicted with the Marion street in Elmhurst, the development of the South Lansing Land company. The present Marion street was named for Marion Cooper, daughter of R. J. Cooper and sister of Herbert J. Cooper, who is now active in real estate circles. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Markley Place – the name of this street in the Washington Park area was changed from Creston Place in 1968 to Markley Place in honor of resident, Muriel Markley. She had moved to 2418 Creston Place with her late husband Henry 47 years before. The reason the name was changed was because of confusion with Creston Avenue, located in the north part of town. (State Journal-09-30-1968)

Marshall Street – was named by and for Marshall E. Rumsey who placed the subdivision on the market. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Martin Street – in the Orchard Home addition platted in 1907 by Frank W. Martin and wife, Jennie G. Martin. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard – in 1989, Logan Street was renamed Martin Luther King Jr., in honor of the civil rights leader. At first the two street names were shared as Logan Street-Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. But in 1994, the city council dropped the Logan street name. (Lansing State Journal-04-25-1989, 08-22-1989, 03-29-1994)

Mason Street – located off South Cedar street in Lansing township and was named by the sub-divider, T. G. Foster, for the city of Mason, located eight miles south of the sub-division in which the street is located. A locative name. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Max Avenue – was named by the Young brothers for former Mayor Max Templeton, who at the time the plat was offered to the public, was an employee of the Young Brothers Realty company. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Maxon Court – a short street from S. Sycamore st., one-half block east between William and Isaac st., was developed by Ira Maxon, a local builder of homes. (Foster-03-02-1958)

McKim Street [Avenue] – derived its name from the owner of the land, Robert McKim. (Foster-03-02-1958)

McKinley Street – was formerly Smith street and was renamed by the street committee of the common council for ex-President William McKinley. (Foster-03-24-1940)

McPherson Street – was named for Hugh A. McPherson, president of the Standard Real Estate company who developed in subdivision of Westmoreland. (Foster-03-16-1947)

McVeigh Street – (obsolete) – On December 10, 1939, the street was named for the surveyor who was the the engineer at the time the plat was dedicated. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Michigan Avenue – was named in honor of the state. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Michigan Court – a selected name, now obsolete in Weldon’s addition. The street is now part of Barnes avenue. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Middle Street – a selected descriptive name, it being the street that ran from St. Joseph to the river; named so because it was laid out on the middle line of Section 20. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Mifflin Street – was named by Prof. Jonathan Snyder of the Michigan Agricultural College for his wife, Clara Mifflin Snyder. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Mill Street – named because of the fact that the low land along the east bank of the Grand river and south of Michigan avenue would be a logical site for a saw mill. This mill development took place later and the site at the present time is occupied by one of Lansing’s largest mills and lumber yards. There is also a street of that name in Rochester, N.Y., so that the original proprietors might have had a duel purpose in the selection of the name. (Foster-03-06-1938)

– named changed to Museum Drive in Dec. 1981 by the City Council because that street now boasts the R.E. Olds Museum and the Impression 5 Museum. (State Journal-03-19-1982-The Onlooker column)

Miller Street – (obsolete) – from Michigan avenue north to Saginaw street, the ninth street of Washington avenue. No explanation. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Monroe Street – named for the President, James Monroe (Foster-03-06-1938)

Morris Street – (obsolete) – was named for S. S. Morris who owned and operated the National Steam Sausage factory which was located just north of West Franklin, now Grand River avenue. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Mosher Street – was named by A. O. Bement who platted the land and named it for his wife, Vina L. Mosher Bement. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Mount Hope Avenue [Mt. Hope] – name was changed from Linden Avenue. (State Republican-07-06-1886)

Mulliken Street – (obsolete) – was a street from Jerome street north, the sixth street east of Washington avenue. It was so called for George F. Mulliken who at the time was local agent for the Michigan Central railroad. (Foster-01-21-1940)


Museum Drive – named changed from Mill street in Dec. 1981 by the City Council because that street now boasts the R.E. Olds Museum and the Impression 5 Museum. (State Journal-03-19-1982-The Onlooker column)

Neller Street – was named by Louis Neller who platted the sub-division in which the street lays. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Nipp Avenue – from West Main south to Olds avenue. The first street west of West Street in Taylor’s Riverview Heights subdivision. Fred Webb bought the land in 1926 and agreed to name the street after Louis Nipp who married May Taylor, the owner of the land. The old Taylor home that stood on Main street was moved to 1717 William by Mr. Webb. The Taylor home was built in 1891 by Henry Johnson, a local contractor and was one of the few homes in Lansing of the old New England colonial pillared type. The house is one of the few homes ever built in Lansing using the old English style of construction where bricks were laid between all studs. The school board purchased a block of the platted subdivision and erected what is now known as West Main Street school. (Foster-04-06-1941)

North Street – a typically selected descriptive name for the most northerly street of the new town. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Oak Street – (original street obsolete) – renamed River street, of which it was the continuation south of the Grand river; also named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Olds Avenue – this street was originally named Isaac street for Isaac Townsend, one of the proprietors of the original town, site of Michigan, but was changed to Olds avenue by the common council for the Olds Motor works which occupies a frontage of over six blocks of the street. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Orchard Street – a selected name given the street by Jones and Porter in their Fairview Addition. The land which they platted was adjacent to an old apple orchard and so Orchard street was the logical selection for a name. A bird’s eye view of Lansing published in 1866 shows the orchard as occupying all of the land north of the main building of the present vocational school. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Osband Avenue – was named by J. H. Moores for Charles H. Osband, who at the time of the naming of the street was cashier of the Peoples State Savings bank. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Ottawa Street – was named for Ottawa county and the county was named for the Indian tribe, the name meaning the “people of the forest.” (Foster-03-06-1938)

Owen Street – was named by Henry W. Bassett, who purchased the land through the agency of the Owens Brothers, Charles Owen and Edward Owen. Satisfied with the deal he platted the land and named the street in their honor. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Park Street – was probably another borrowed name as there was a Park street in Rochester, N.Y. The original Park street was located in North Lansing but has been abandoned. The present Park street which is located south of Moores River drive and west of Logan street is purely a selected name. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Pattengill Avenue – was named by W. K. Prudden, Colonel Rogers and others for the Pattengill family who were prominent in the city, state and national political and educational affairs. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Pearl Street – whether this name was an originally selected name has not been determined. It may be just a coincidence that Biddle City also had a Pearl street, and the name was borrowed from that plat. The theory has been advanced that since the ashery produced what was known as pearl ash, the two streets Pearl and Ash were named for the pearl ashery. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Pennsylvania Avenue – could be named for the state of Pennsylvania, or what is more probable, it was named for Pennsylvania avenue of Washington D.C., the street over which the Union troops passed in review at the close of the Civil war. The latter explanation seems more reasonable, as it was in the early seventies that the city was expanding and the “old soldiers” were beginning to play an active part in the affairs of the city. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Perry Street – in Addmore Park subdivision. A selected patriotic name by F. J. Tisdale, the sub-divider. (Foster-04-06-1941)

– is now an obsolete street name. The street which extended from Cedar st. to the old M. U. R. electric railroad has been renamed Greenlawn, of which it was an extension. It was originally so named for Milt Perry, who was a contractor, builder and real estate operator. (Foster-03-02-1958)

Pershing Drive – a patriotic selected name given the drive in honor of Gen. John Pershing by Fred E. Shubel, the owner of the land which he subdivided and placed on the market through Clifford W. McKibbin as Sycamore Park. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Person’s Court – was so named by Senator Seymour H. Person who developed the court and gave it his family name. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Pete’s Lane – Claude Culver placed the subdivision on the market and gave the street the nickname of his son, Donald Culver. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Pine Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Pingree Street – named for Governor Hazen S. Pingree who was governor of the state from 1897 to 1900. (He was well known as “Potato” Pingree because after the depression of 1896 he advocated planting all vacant lots in Detroit to that vegetable.) The street name was later changed to Mason st. (Foster-01-19-1958) [there is a Pingree street boarding Quentin Park in 2017]

Platt Street – could have derived its name from Zephaniah Platt who was attorney general of Michigan in 1841-43, but it is much more reasonable to suppose that the street is also a borrowed name from the Platt street of Rochester, N.Y. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Porter Street – was named for E. S. Porter who throughout his active business career was one of Lansing’s industrialists and a leader in all phases of the city’s early growth. He was the builder and owner of the Porter apartments. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Potter Hill – was named by T. E. Potter, who platted the land and the fact that the street was up and over one of the largest hills in the south-end gave the full meaning of the name. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Poxson Avenue – was named for Elijah Poxson, who was one of the stockholders of the South Lansing Land company who platted the subdivision of Elmhurst. Mr. Poxson was at one time sales manager of the Reo Motor Car company and a member of the park board of this city. (Foster-03-16-1947) [name was spelled Poxon in the 1947 article]

Preston Street – (obsolete) – was originally named for Lewis D. Preston, who was an early surveyor in the county. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Prospect Street – apparently named for sales appeal. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Quaker Court – the city of Lansing changed the name in 1990 of Quaker Court from Garey Court after a low-income housing renovating company Quaker Management bought and upgraded all six houses on the street. Quaker Management was formed by a group of Eastern High School graduates, whose nickname is the Quakers. (Lansing State Journal-03-04-1990)

Race Street – a descriptive selected name for the mill race which was adjacent to it. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Railroad Court – (obsolete) – so called because of the fact that it was adjacent to the railroad. Now called Handy court for the street from which it was developed. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Railroad Street – from Franklin avenue north to Evans street, the fifth east of Grand River on land now occupied by the railroads. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Reo Avenue – named by E. S. Beal and others who dedicated the plat and named the street for the young and growing institution that was located adjacent to it. (Foster-02-09-1941)

River Street – was a very appropriate name for the angling street that paralleled the Grand river. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Riverview Street – derived its name from the subdivision in which was platted. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Robert Street – (obsolete) – no explanation for the selection of this name has been determined. The street has been vacated by the city and is now occupied by the Olds Motor Works. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Robertson Avenue – was named by Hollis Robertson, who as owner of the subdivision gave the street his family name. The subdivision was platted as North Highland. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Rockford Road – a selected name given the street by the sub-divider, V. R. Pattengill. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Rogers Street – (obsolete) – was that street that ran from Maple street north to Willow street at the west side of the School for the Blind land which was formerly owned by the Michigan Female Seminary. The school or seminary was owned and operated by the Rogers sisters, Abigail and Delia who were active in the early educational development of the young city. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Roosevelt Avenue – was named by the proprietor of the plat for President Theodore Roosevelt. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Rosemary Street – a name given to a street by Grace M. Renker in her Michigan Heights subdivision in honor of Frank B. Hall, jr.’s daughter. While ordering lumber for a new dwelling to be erected in the sub-division the fact was brought out that the lumber was to be delivered to a street with no name. Mr. Hall, the lumber dealer, suggested the name of his daughter, Rosemary, and Miss Renker consented provided Mr. Hall donate the street signs for the subdivision. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Rouse Street – in the plat of Jessop’s Home Gardens, was named for Evarts Rouse. The subdividers, the Foster-Fowler company, agreed to name a street for the first one of their salesmen in the organization who sold a lot in the proposed plat which was owned by Alice E. Jessop and to Mr. Rouse went the honor. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Rouser Street – was named for Chris J. Rouser, who for years was active in business and political circles of the city and was proprietor of the Rouser Drug company. His father, an early resident of North Lansing, is credited with turning the first wheel of the Thoman Milling company whose mill has recently been torn down. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Rulison Street – the street was named by Bert J. Baker, Oscar McKinley and Dr. John G. Rulison who were the street committee of the city council. In a joking manner the remark was made that Mr. Baker had a street named for him (Baker was named for Alonzo Baker) and Mr. McKinley had a street named for him (McKinley street was named for President McKinley) and so it must be Doctor Rulison’s turn to have a street in honor of his family name and Rulison the street became. It was formerly Smith street. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Rumsey Avenue – in Rumsey’s addition, was so named by Marshall E. Rumsey who owned and platted the land. He was a banker of Leslie who operated in real estate and timber lands throughout the state. He was a member of the legislature from Ingham county in the years 1885-7 and 1888 on the Republican ticket. (Foster-03-24-1940)

Rundle Street – named for Alfred Rundle, who was the first manager of the South Lansing Real Estate company. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Sadie Court – was named by Claude C. Culver who offered the subdivision for sale to the public and selected the name in honor of his wife. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Saginaw Street – was named for the county, bay, river or city of that name which was derived from the Chippewa meaning the “place of the Sac’s”, from the tradition that a tribe of Sacs lived near the mouth of the Saginaw river. (Foster-03-06-1938)

St. Joseph Street – was another of the streets that was named for one of the Michigan counties. St. Joseph was named for the river of the same name which was named for the patron saint of New France. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Samantha Avenue – in Orchard Garden subdivision, Lansing township was placed on the market by the Foster-Fowler company. When the plat was offered to the public, William H. Newbrough, as owner of the land, had the privilege of naming the streets and Mr. Newbrough named this street in honor of his mother, Samantha Monroe Newbrough. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Savoy Court – the land was developed and named by Harry J. Person who at the time was reading Alexander Dumas’ novel and admiring the character, the Duke of Savoy, and liking the name he so christened the street. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Schoolcraft Drive – a one-way drive through the north end of the Lansing Community College was named by the Traffic Board. The board members split 3-2 on the new name. Two members liked College Drive. But the board settled on Schoolcraft when it was pointed out that east-west streets in the central business district are named after counties. (State Journal-06-13-1968)

Seager Street – from North street to the city limits. In honor of Schuyler F. Seager, an early attorney in the city, who came to Lansing in 1858. (Foster-12-10-1939)

– was named for the Seager family who at one time were active in the affairs of the Olds Motor Works and later manufactured the Olds stationary gasoline engine. (Foster-01-19-1958)


Shady Oak Lane – residents Heidi Claeys and Viola Verhougstraete asked and was approved by the city council to change the 1600, 1700 and 1800 blocks of Marquette Street to Shady Oak Lane. They had said, the street often confuses people because the three blocks are not directly connected to a section of Marquette Street to the east. (State Journal-03-26-1985)

Shepard Street – C. H. Shepard was an extensive owner of property in the southern part of the city and an active real estate operator. In the city directory of 1878 he was listed as a “Speculator,” a classification that is seldom met with in the present day directories. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Sheridan Street – from North Larch street east to the city limits. In honor of General Phil Sheridan. (Foster-12-10-1939)

– most of the street was renamed Oakland Avenue when that street was extended. (State Journal-01-26-1965)
– there is still one short block left, and not to be confused with Sheridan Road at the northern city limits of Lansing. (Bowman-03-20-2017)

Sherman Street – another one the streets named for those men of affairs during the Civil war. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Shiawassee Street – derived its name from Shiawassee county which was taken from the Indian language and means “the river that twists.” (Foster-03-06-1938)

Shubel Avenue – in Sycamore Park subdivision, was named by Col. Fred Shubel who was the owner of the land and gave the avenue his own family name. His father, Fred Shubel, was the owner of one of the early shoe stores in Lansing. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Smith Street – as originally named was in Ballard’s addition in the north part of the city. It is now known as McKinley street. No explanation for having been so has as yet been found. The present Smith street was so named by J. H. Moores in his Park place addition. (Foster-01-21-1940)

Sparrow Avenue – named by J. H. Moores for E. W. Sparrow, one of Mr. Moores’ business associates who was active in Lansing business and manufacturing and banking circles. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Spikes Lane – the land from which this street was dedicated originally belonged to Mr. Cook who left the land to his best friend, Roy TenEyck whose nickname was “Spike”. TenEyck attempted to dedicate a 66 foot street but as the adjoining property owner would not contribute his 33 feet, TenEyck then dedicated a 33 foot street and named it for himself as Spike’s Alley. The question of the donation of land for the street has now been settled and Spikes Lane is a full size 66 foot street. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Spring Street – the early maps of Lansing and Ingham County indicate that where the street is located as being a district of many natural springs. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Stanley Street – in Westlawn subdivision, was developed by the J. W. Bailey company and was so named by Bert J. Baker, an officer of that organization in honor of his son, Stanley Baker. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Strathmore Road – a selected name as given to the street by V. R. Pattengill when Greencroft subdivision was offered to the public in 1916. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Sunnyside Avenue – a selected name by William Siegrist who at the time of the platting was salesman of the T. G. Foster company who offered the parcel to the public. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Sycamore Drive – named for Sycamore creek by Colonel Schubel, owner of the land, who platted the Sycamore park addition. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Teel Avenue – was named for and by Harry Teel who owned the parcel and lived on land adjacent to the street. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Theodore Street – was named by the J. W. Bailey company for Theodore G. Foster, who as a salesman of the J. W. Bailey company, sold most of the lots facing the street before it was dedicated to the public. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Thomas Street – was so named by Harris E. Thomas as owner of the land. Mr. Thomas was one of Lansing’s leading attorneys and was active in many civic and business enterprises. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Tisdale Avenue – named by Frank Tisdale who dedicated the subdivision as of Addmore Park in 1910. The name of the plat was Mr. Tisdale’s combination of “add” and “more” lots to the city. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Todd Avenue – in J. H. Moores Park place addition, was named by Mr. Moores for Marquis D. Todd, who was cashier of the Ingham County Savings bank at the time of the naming of the street. (Foster-02-09-1941)


Torrance Court – named for Linval A. Torrance who had previously owned the land from which the Torrance Farm addition subdivision was created. Previous to that the land had been owned and a farmhouse was built in 1853 by William F. Davis, father of banker and prominent citizen Benjamin F. Davis. (Bowman-03-21-2017)

Tower Street – (obsolete) – now called Pershing avenue. A tower of the Consumers Power company was located on this land and was so situated that in platting the land the tower was left in the middle of a boulevard entrance and therefore was called Tower street. The land was platted by the J. W. Bailey company for Doctor Martin of Portland, who was a prominent physician in that city for a great number of years. (Foster-02-09-1941)

Townsend Street – was named for William H. Townsend who was one of the original proprietors of the town. His original purchase of land in the county was in 1835. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Turner Street – was named in honor of James Turner who was one of the most active and influential men of the young community. He came to the Town of Michigan in the spring of 1847 from Mason where he had settled after coming to Michigan from Cayuga county, New York. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Turtle Street – (obsolete) – in the original plat from the Grand river north, the second west of Turner street, was early vacated and later occupied by the Auto Body company. The name selected by James Seymour when he laid out the original Town of Michigan which is now Lansing. There was a Turtle street and a Fish street in Rochester, N. Y., at that time and it is probable that Seymour selected street names from his old home town. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Tuxedo Avenue – a selected name in Adams addition which was platted and offered to the public by Joseph and Nora Baird Foster. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Verlinden Street – was named by Edward Verlinden, who at the time of the dedication of the street was president and general manager of the Durant Motor company of this city, which in 1921 built the buildings facing VerLinden avenue, now known as the Fisher Body plant. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Wall Street – (obsolete) – it is now named Maple street of which it is continuation on the east side of the Grand river. No satisfactory explanation for the selection of the name has been offered although it was probably named for Wall Street of New York city. (Foster-03-06-1938)

Walsh Street – was named for John H. Walsh who was one of the owners of the Excelsior Land company and the Half Acre Land company and was active for years in Lansing real estate circles. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Warner Street – (obsolete) – was named for Joseph E. Warner, who owned 80 acres facing the road which was named for him. He was one of the early mayors of the city. (Foster-12-10-1939)

– was renamed Willow street of which it was an extension after making a turn around the School for the Blind. This may make for more efficient traffic but it seems too bad to lose sight of Mr. Warner who was a prominent and influential citizen, and at one time mayor of the city. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Walnut Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Washington Avenue – named for the President, George Washington (Foster-03-06-1938)
– of the original town plat of Michigan needs no explanation for the derivation of its name, but there is a story of its early days that was told by the late Edward Barnes. A men’s lecture organization arranged with Horace Greeley to appear before it. In his observations of Lansing written for his New York Tribune, Mr. Greeley said that Lansing had one street two miles long, eight rods wide and two feet “thick.” It was surmised that the hack that transported him from the depot to “Middle” town, as the central business district was then known. (Foster-01-19-1958)
– the seven blocks of Washington Avenue between Lenawee and Shiawassee streets was renamed Washington Square in 1970 for the newly built downtown pedestrian mall. (State Journal-10-27-1970)

Washtenaw Street – was named for the county. No satisfactory reason has been given as to why the name was applied to the county. The term originally came from the Chippewa form of “Was-te-nong”, meaning “the far country” or the “country beyond.” (Foster-03-06-1938)

Water Street – is another of the streets of the original Town of Michigan plat that used a name borrowed from the City of Rochester, N. Y., from whence James Seymour came. Seymour was one of the original proprietors of the town plat and Water st. in Lansing was a location similar to its namesake in Rochester. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Wayburn Road – the selected street name given to one of the streets in Greencroft subdivision which was platted by the Pattengill company. (Foster-02-09-1941)

– a selected name in Greencroft subdivision as selected by one of the proprietors, V. R. Pattengill. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Weldon Street – (obsolete) – platted and named by Lafayette Weldon for himself. The street has been renamed Park avenue. (Foster-03-24-1940)

West Street – (obsolete) – at the time of the naming of the street it was the west street of the city but is now part of Logan street. (Foster-12-10-1939)

Westmoreland Avenue – a typically selected name as given to the street by L. B. Ayres, manager of the Standard Real Estate company who were owners and sub-dividers of the land. (Foster-02-09-1941)

William Street – was named for William H. Townsend who was one of the original proprietors of the Town of Michigan, later renamed Lansing. Townsend st. also was named for him. Townsend also owned considerable acreage in the surrounding district. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Willow Street – named for the tree (Foster-03-06-1938)

Wilson Avenue – was named by Earl Covert in honor of ex-President Woodrow Wilson. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Woodbury Avenue – was named after C. D. Woodbury who for years was president of the Capital Savings and Loan association and was vice president of the New Way Motor company, one of the very few successful manufacturers of a stationary air-cooled gasoline engine. Previously he had engaged in the shoe business. (Foster-01-19-1958)

Woodlawn Avenue – in Johnson’s addition, was named by Frank Johnson, who with his wife, Mrs. Frae Johnson dedicated the street to the public. (Foster-03-24-1940)

– in the article on street names published in March 1940, it was stated that the street name was selected by Frank Johnson. The street was named by Charles T. Johnson and his wife, Mrs. Frae W. Johnson. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Woodrow Street – was formerly known as Marian street, was named for [President] Woodrow Wilson. The subdivision was placed on the market at about the time of the height of his popularity. The subdivision was offered to the public by Frank J. Tisdale and was called Woodrow park. (Foster-02-09-1941)

– formerly Marion street, was named for Woodrow Wilson. (Foster-04-06-1941)

Wyllis Street – was named by Wyllis O. Dodge for himself when he platted the land. (Foster-03-16-1947)

Sources:

1. Foster-03-06-1938 = “How Lansing’s Streets Were Named” by Theodore Foster, Lansing real estate man; The State Journal newspaper of Sunday, March 6, 1938.
2. Foster-12-03-1939 = “Local Man Compiles Data On Lansing Street Names” by Theodore G. Foster; The State Journal; December 3, 1939.
3. Foster-01-21-1940 = “City Had 138 Streets in 1880; Here Is How They Were Named” by Theodore Foster; The State Journal; Sunday, January 21, 1940.
4. Foster-03-24-1940 = “Many New Streets Were Added Here Between 1888 and 1908” by Theodore G. Foster; The State Journal; March 24, 1940.

5. Foster-02-09-1941 = “Here Is How Lansing’s Streets Were Designated” by Theodore Foster, The State Journal; Sunday, February 9, 1941.
6. Foster-04-06-1941 = “How More Street Came To Bear Present Names” by Theodore Foster, The State Journal; Sunday, April 6, 1941.
7. Foster-03-16-1947 = “How Lansing Streets Were Named” by T. G. Foster; The State Journal, Lansing, Michigan; March 16, 1947.
8. Foster-01-19-1958 = “Some City Streets Were Give Names With Sales Appeal, But Lansing’s Early Planners Had Leaning Toward Historical Designations” by Theodore G. Foster; The State Journal, Lansing, Michigan; January 19, 1958.
9. Foster-03-02-1958 = “Lansing Street Signs, Wives’ Maiden Names Perpetuated” by Theodore G. Foster; The State Journal, Lansing, Michigan; March 2, 1958.
10. Bowman-various dates in 2017 = The compiler, me, Timothy Bowman’s own notes and speculations on how some streets got their names.
11. Also from various dates in Lansing newspapers.

*

 

Lansing’s Inventors of Obscure Cars

Copied from The State Journal; Lansing, Michigan; Sunday, January 1, 1950.

Inventors of Obscure Cars Left in Dust of Automotive Industry
Steamers Fizzled; Fate Favored Some
Bohnet, Locomobile, Bates Were Early Tries for Success

(The author of this article dealing with Lansing’s early makes of autos, is an authority on the subject, and a member of several organizations devoted to the study and preservation of the early “horseless carriages”).

By W. Jack Down

Many a Lansing man with an inventive turn of mind burned the midnight oil during the opening years of the century, as it dawned on the public that the “horseless carriage” was here to stay – and the man who built the best one would be a favored son of fortune. Today their names are all but forgotten, and most of their experimental automobiles long since turned to rust on somebody’s junk heap, lost forever to the historian. While nothing came of many of these early cars, some made lasting contributions to a great industry. Even before 1900, one Lansing man had made the automotive world sit up and take notice.

He was, of course, Ransom Eli Olds, who built steam-powered cars in 1887 and 1891. They were not very successful. They weighed so much that their small engines could scarcely run them.

In 1895, Olds, working with Frank G. Clark, who later was to build the Clarkmobile, decided to give it one more try. This time it would be a gasoline engine. Out of an incorporation meeting held Aug. 21, 1897, came the predecessor of the present Oldsmobile division.

Olds furnished the engine from his father’s gasoline engine shop on River st., while Clark furnished a carriage from his father’s big carriage factory at the foot of E. Washtenaw st.

Failing to obtain local backing, Olds secured support from Detroit financiers, and started turning out the famous “curved-dash” auto there in 1900. He produced 425 cars the next year – the year a fire razed the Detroit plant. Olds was lured back to Lansing by a committee of local businessmen, although he continued to turn out a few cars in Detroit.

A local newspaper dated Jan. 10, 1902, announced that Lansing would see its first “Olds” next month. Then, on Feb. 14, a news story proclaimed that the first order was for 1,000 cars, but that, due to a delay by the Auto Body Works, the machine wouldn’t be produced before March 1. May 12 was the day that Lansing learned that cars were being shipped to China and Japan from the new Olds Motor Works plant. On the 23rd of the same month, it was revealed that the firm was to build a foundry, and that already was employing 300 men turning out an unheard-of 10 cars daily.

And this was several years before Henry Ford became famed for mass production.

OLDS BROKE WITH COMPANY

Olds broke with stockholders on the same mass production question in 1903. He insisted upon a low-priced, assembly-line vehicle, while they wanted a higher-priced, custom-made car. He walked out and sold his stock.

In 1905 the Detroit plant was abandoned and Olds production was centered in Lansing. Here in the then largest auto factory in the world, 6,500 cars were produced that year, shattering all records anywhere.

The famous “Olds Limited” was produced in 1910, two years after the Olds Motor Works threw in its lot with General Motors corporation.

The fifth automobile seen here was the “Bohnet Steamer,” which followed R. E. Olds’ first three cars and a “Locomobile Steamer.”

This Locomobile Steamer was brought here by a “Doctor” Homer Cornell, a patent medicine salesman whose main interest in cars was their publicity value. When the “doctor” presented his show here in 1899, George J. Bohnet, then 22, chased the Locomobile for blocks and virtually lived with it until the show left town.

Bohnet, manager of the Holms and Son Bicycle Shop, began building a steamer of his own design, working in the shop after hours. The frame was bicycle tubing welded together by hand. He even turned his own hubs, bearings and cones for the wheels. Seldom has a man been forced to make so many parts, but such things weren’t available at the nearest garage.

Bohnet tried to keep his venture a secret, but a fire next door unmasked his invention. He rushed into his shop, fearful that he might be burned out, and ripped his nearly-finished auto apart, rushing it piece by piece into the street.

The public saw it, and so did the press. An article and picture appeared two days before the new car was given its trial run.

The trial run was a success. Bohnet became associated with J. W. Post, who conducted his business end of the venture known as Lansing Automobile Works. They produced at least one more car. This was also steam-propelled.

JOINED PRUDDEN

Bohnet was asked to join the Prudden company as sales manager for the auto sales department, where he sold the up-and-coming Oldsmobile. Later, this firm sold Cadillacs, and still later Bohnet helped organize the Capitol Auto company with exclusive dealership of Reo here.

The Auto Body company, a pace-setter in its day, began operating around 1900, making bodies for both cars and carriages. Soon it was making bodies for the best known auto manufacturers, including Reo and other early Lansing firms.

Sometime after 1912, Auto Body began losing ground, failing to note the advent of metal-covered bodies. They were either unable to find new business, or money to convert to constructing the metal chassis and went out of business about 1920.

Getting back to 1902, the city was just receiving its first impact with the auto age.

This was the year A. D. Baker ran over the Western Union messenger boy without hurting him.

This was the year that Alderman Dodge and City Atty. Zimmerman decided that each car must display a license on the side and back, a “suitable bell” and a lighted lamp.

And this was the year that Alderman Dodge came up with this startling thought: “. . . In his opinion, if anyone was injured by an automobile in the city, the court would allow a judgment against the city as quickly as for injuries on a defective sidewalk.”

This, too, was the year that saw the coming of the “Greenleaf.”

Few living recall this unique Lansing-built auto. Only scraps of information are available, but the firm did build cars. In 1902 it exhibited at the Michigan Grange convention here. In 1903 an article describing a two-cylinder model selling for $1,750 (a dollar a pound) appeared in a national auto magazine. The article included the only known photo of a Greenleaf. What happened to the company, where it was located, or who the officers were is one of those historical mysteries. We only know that a Smith Clawson was engineer.

In 1903, when downtown streets were more mud than bricks, and you bought your gasoline from a drugstore or hardware. Madison Bates, J. P. Edmonds, R. W. Morse and J. Edward Roe of the successful Bates and Edmonds Motor company, together with Bliss Stebbins and Dr. Harry A. Haze, organized and built a car called the “Bates.” They built 25, in fact, and managed to lose money with ease. They had to use profits of their motor firm to keep the struggling company on it feet.

SINGLE-CYLINDER CAR

This organization started in the old armory in the 300 block of S. Capitol ave., where Trevellyan Oldsmobile, Inc. is now located. They used engines from their engine plant, producing at first, a single-cylinder runabout, and later a two-seated car with a four-cylinder motor under the hood. Payroll troubles induced them to go back to making motors exclusively, in 1906.

And what happened to Frank G. Clark, the man who started out with R. E. Olds?

On Feb. 20, 1903, The State Republican blared: “Another firm will make automobiles … The Clarkmobile will be manufactured in Lansing …”

The Clarkmobile company was organized in April 1902. For over a year prior to this, Clark had been working on a new car that would overcome many objectionable features of autos then in existence.

Strange to say, with all the publicity it received, there are few photos available, and so far, a snap of the first car or any experimental models are still to be found.

The Clarkmobile enjoyed indifferent success, and Clark tried his luck at building trucks between 1905 and 1910. The truck was a large four-cylinder model considered huge at the time. This too provided a financial failure. About 100 autos were produced and many trucks, but none have survived, as far as known.

Clark’s one-time partner, R. E. Olds, having severed connections with the Olds Motor Works, started the R. E. Olds company in 1904, later changing the name to the Reo company. The first Reo plant was officially started in September 1904, and the first carload of Reos was shipped next March.

First came a two-cylinder model which quickly gave way to the famous single-cylinder model which was still being built in 1910. President “Teddy” Roosevelt rode in one when he came here in 1907 for the golden anniversary of the start of Michigan Agricultural college. Countless others rode in them, and some are still going strong after all these years. Reo Motors, Inc., the present firm, actually has a 1908 car and a 1909 truck that run well.

In 1908 Reo added the truck, which was an asset. By 1910 it was building one-cylinder models as well as a “two” and a “four.” A “six” was added in 1915. In the late ’20’s they produced the Wolverine, but found it to be too expensive to advertise two names rather than one. So the Wolverine was discontinued as such, and was simply called the small Reo.

During the later years of the depression, Reo went into bankruptcy, and spirited batted for control were waged. Reorganized in 1939, the firm restricted itself to trucks, coaches and buses.

Another early firm which fell by the wayside was the New-Way Motor company, which advertised in 1904 that it had three Clarkmobiles for sale. In 1906 this company tried to build and market its own cars, under the aegis of its organizers, Willam Newbrough and a Mr. Way. They started operations about 1907 in part of a building on N. Cedar st., formerly occupied by the Lansing Iron and Engine Works. They built six or seven cars before losing enough money to convince them that this business wasn’t for them.

NEW-WAY

This car was called the “New-Way,” and once again we run into a blank wall, for no pictures or other relics of it have been located.

There was still another early auto here, the “R. O.,” but whether it was actually built in Lansing is now questionable.

The Reo Motor Car company in 1910 purchased the Owen automobile in Detroit to enable them to have patent rights on a new center shift control the Owen firm pioneered.

This Owen car seems to have been connected in some way with Ralph M. Owen, who was a sales agent for Reo.

In 1911, a national auto magazine announced that Reo was moving all the Owen machinery to Lansing, after purchasing that company. It added that the car would be continues here, but would be known as the “R. O.”

Shortly after this, several advertisements appeared for the “R-O of Lansing.” It weighed 3,400 pounds, costing nearly a dollar a pound. It had 42-inch wheels. Between 100 and 200 cars were produced, either here or in Detroit, but there is no known record of the date of discontinuation.

The early ’20’s saw William C. Durant make his last bid for fame and fortune here, with construction of the Durant factory on Verlinden ave. Over-expansion coupled with depression, led to bankruptcy in 1931. The plant housed the annual auto show for several years until was purchased by General Motors for the Fisher Body division.

Out of Lansing have come many of the important innovations of the auto industry. The first cars, the first bodies, the first wheels made especially for cars, the first trucks, mass production with smaller inexpensive cars available for almost anyone, rubber-tired cars and trucks, pneumatic truck tires, center gear shift, and large trucks capable of safe speeds exceeding 50 miles per hour.

These are the big and important “firsts.” and if many an early experimental car fell by the wayside – well, that’s part of the price of progress.

 

Women’s rights fight underway in 19th century in Lansing

Copied from the Lansing State Journal – MI – Sunday, May 20, 1984

Women’s rights fight underway in 19th century
By Gladys Beckwith

Striving for equal rights and opportunities for women, influencing legislation, organizing protests, founding women’s club, preaching sermons and speaking out for fundamental social, economic, and political change – a feminist agenda for the 1980s?

No, just some of the activities of Lansing area women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when women were deemed mere helpless and homebodies.

UNFORTUNATELY, the history of Lansing and Ingham County women has yet to be written. The history books that have been published – usually by male historians – instead have focused almost exclusively on the interests and accomplishments of men; the contributions of women have been given little or no though or attention.

On the other hand, even a brief study of Lansing history reveals a number of creative dedicated and strong-willed women who were able to exert a substantial influence of the community’s development and thus to make lasting contributions to both the state and the society.

Opening up higher education to the working classes, for example, became a major social goal during the mid to late 19th century. But such advances as the establishment of Michigan Agricultural College (later Michigan State University) were made without regard to the needs and aspirations of women. Today, when women students in many educational institutions outnumber males, it is perhaps difficult to comprehend the extent of the opposition to bring this change about.

LANSING MAY lay claim to a true educational pioneer: Abigail Rogers, who came to Lansing from a position as preceptress at the new State Normal School in Ypsilanti (Eastern Michigan University) had a vision of establishing a school which would provide the same opportunity in higher education for women as the University of Michigan then provided for men.

With her sister, Delia Rogers worked to create the Michigan Female College on what is now the site of the Michigan School for the Blind. It was at first a school for all grades, but as time passed it attracted increasing numbers of students and became more selective and focused on advanced education for young women.

The curriculum included mathematics and foreign languages and the “womanly” arts of needlework and conversation. The school was for 14 years of its existence a recognizable social and educational force in the community. But obtaining adequate funding was always a struggle, and when Abigail Rogers died in 1869 her sister was unable to sustain the effort alone and the school closed its doors.

OTHER AREA women later took up the struggle for equal educational opportunity. Mary Mayo of Coldwater worked through the State Grange organization to establish a women’s committee of the State Board of Agriculture, the governing body of the Agricultural College. She was instrumental in finally creating a Women’s Department within the college. Dora Stockman, who became the first woman member of the State Board of Agriculture, worked to improve the lot of rural women through education. She helped to persuade the Legislature to pay for a separate building on the college campus to house women’s programs. The present Human Ecology building at Michigan State University bears witness to her accomplishment.

Marie Dye, who was later to become dean of the School of Home Economics, joined the MAC facility in 1922, and gained national recognition as a scholar, researcher, teacher and administrator. She transformed the very foundations of women’s programs, not only at what was to become Michigan State University, but elsewhere in the nation. Under her direction Home Economics moved from the gentle arts of homemaking to a professional concern for both home and family, encompassing the research field of nutritional science, child development and others.

TWO LANSING women, Harriet Tenny and Mary Spencer, made outstanding contributions to the Michigan State Library. Tenny was named State Librarian in 1869, the first woman to hold this position. Tenny played an important role in educational and historical associations, including the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society. She was also a founder and charter member of the Lansing Women’s Club, an organization which was to become a force in the lives of many women and in the community.

Mary Spencer, who directed the State Library from 1893 to 1923, managed to build the library collection from some 60,000 volumes in locked cases to more than a quarter of a million volumes, open to all. Under Spencer’s direction Michigan became the second state in the nation to adopt the concept of traveling libraries. In addition, small collections of books were loaned to individuals and organizations in parts of the state without libraries. In the process the State Library became a major cultural and educational influence as well a resource for research and a depository of state records. Spencer, always persuasive, also played a role in winning financial aid from Andrew Carnegie to establish a Carnegie Library in Lansing.

LANSING HAD women physicians at a time when women were discouraged from taking up scientific pursuits. Anna Ballard is perhaps the best known. Ballard attended the Misses Rogers Female College in Lansing and went on to graduate from the Medical School of the University of Michigan and from the University of Chicago. She later returned to open a private practice and became one of the organizers of the Lansing Medical Society in 1882. She also became a political activist, leading efforts in the Legislature to raise the age of consent from 10 to 14 years. Ballard, too, was an early member of the Lansing Women’s Club, a supporter of the YWCA and a member of the Methodist-Episcopal Church where she argued for the admission of women to the Methodist General Conference.

Although women still seem to struggle for admission to the ministry, Lansing had an ordained women minister as early as 1862. In December of that year Augusta Jane Chapin was formally ordained in Lansing as an Universalist minister. Augusta was described as “an effective preacher whose sermons were thoroughly developed and delivered in a straight-forward manner.” She became the first woman in the United States to earn a Doctor of Divinity Degree, received from Lombard College, and is credited with playing an important role in establishing women in the Universalist ministry. She also was an extension lecturer at the University of Chicago and a leader in the World Parliament of Religions.

LANSING PRODUCED a woman whose economic theories gained national attention. Sarah E. VanDeVoort Emery was a writer and lecturer on economic, social and political issues and helped to develop and form the basis of the American Populist movement in the late 19th century. Her popular work, “Seven Financial Conspiracies Which Have Enslaved the American People” sold more than 400,000 copies in her lifetime. She also published, edited and contributed to “The Corner Stone,” which originated in Lansing from 1893-1895.

Emery was one of the original members of the Michigan Division of the National Women’s Suffrage Association, a delegate to the Greenback Labor Party National Convention in 1884, and an early member of the the Knights of Labor, and an Associate of the Farmers’ Alliance and the Peoples’ Party in the 1880s and 1890s. She also was a co-founder of the Union Labor Party in 1887. In spite of these accomplishments, Emery’s work has largely faded from history until reclaimed in recent years through the scholarly effort of MSU researchers Pauline Adams and Emma Thornton.

No overview of the history of Lansing area women would not be complete without mention of two prominent early officeholders, Frieda Schneider (1882-1946) is recognized as the first woman to gain elective office in Lansing. In 1920, just weeks before final approval of the 19th amendment, Freida was overwhelmingly elected to the office of city treasurer. Subsequently she also ran successfully for county treasurer, becoming the first woman in history to hold that position as well.

SCHNEIDER, A Democrat, lost her 1924 bid for re-election in the Coolidge landslide. But she led the way for other women to follow in local elections, women such as city Clerk Bertha Ray, city Treasurer Lois Chase, and Susan B. Leonard, who in 1926 succeeded her husband as Ingham County register of deeds.

Lansing women in 1936 passed another political milestone when Elizabeth Belen became the second woman in history to be elected to the Michigan House of Representatives. Belen had supervised the student training program of the Army Corps at MAC and in the 1920s started the visiting nursing program in Lansing.

While in the Legislature, Belen sponsored and achieved passage of the state’s first Occupational Health Act and its first Elevator Inspection Act. She went on to become the vice chair of the State Democratic Party. As a member of the first Commission on Aging, she also helped to produce the first state report drawing attention to the problems of senior citizens and in many other ways helped to improve the social consciousness of the city and the state.

AS THE CITY now prepares to celebrate its 125th birthday, and the state its 150th, its important to recall Abigail Adams’ entreaty to her husband, John, then engaged with drafting the constitution: “I pray you, remember the ladies, John,” she is reported to have said.

John didn’t but Lansing and Michigan shall through women’s history week programs and activities, through women’s studies, and through the establishment, in Lansing, of the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame.

Gladys Beckwith is professor of American thought and language, Michigan State University.

Note: The Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame did open on June 10, 1987 and is scheduled to move to the Meridian Mall in Okemos in this upcoming April 2017.

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original article

Lansing has 65 little industries-from guns to automobile

Copied from The State Journal, Lansing, Michigan; Sunday, May 8, 1938.

From Guns To Automobiles

Lansing Has 65 ‘Little Industries’ That Turn Out Everything from Drop Forgings to Permanent Wave Pads and Give Employment to Hundreds of Persons

Did you ever see chewing gum made? Or did you ever see the manufacture of permanent wave pads? Or did you ever see soap manufactured? If you didn’t you can do so without going outside the city limits of Lansing.

Lansing is known generally as an automobile city and rightly so, but did you know that there are 65 other industries here that make articles other than automobiles?

These 65 industries manufacture everything from drop forgings to cap hangers.

Some of them are little plants, employing one or two persons. Others are much larger, with several hundred persons on the payroll. The 65, however, provide employment for several hundred persons here the year around.

For instance, out at 731 North Hayford avenue, is the plant of the Lansing Specialties Manufacturing company. It is operated by Byrd H. Stelle who builds supports for plants, such as rose bushes and the like, markers and even dogs’ beds.

Stelle formerly was employed by the Melling Drop Forge company here. In his spare time he made “gadgets.” He found a ready sale for his articles and soon launched out on the sea of business with a full fledged, flourishing concern.

His factory is in the basement of his home. There he turns out “lawn protectors,” a sort of fence, supports for garden plants, holders for the garden hoses and other smaller articles, all of which are finding a ready market.

Then, too, there is the Fox Garment company at 811 Seymour avenue, which manufactures permanent wave pads, and the Fresca laboratory at 522 North Francis avenue, that makes antiseptic powder.

At 210 Isbell street is the plant of the Huntington Regulator company, which manufactures gas regulator devices.

Right downtown is another small industry, probably little known to the general public. It is the Lewis Cap Hanger company, which manufactures cap hangers at 113 South Washington avenue.

In the northwestern part of the nation where winds sweep across the flat lands and breezes are more than zephyrs men wear caps. Likewise in the Carolinas and Virginia, gentleman apparently own at least one apiece. So says Earl Lewis, who owns the only cap hanger manufactory in the United States. Northwest and southwest America have the best markets today, he says.

Mr. Lewis patented the hanger in 1921, inventing it the first year after he entered the clothing business. He followed it by tie racks and his circular racks with layers of circles going round and round are located not only in every state in the Union but in 10 foreign countries. “We have shipped to Scotland, England, Australia, China, the Argentine, Brazil and Germany” he says. “First we made the hangers by hand from a die. We used to buy a ton of wire at a time. Finally we developed an automatic wire machine and increased the output 10 fold in the same time. Looking back to the hand work it seems a slow process when we can feed wire in the machine and see it come out ready made hangers.”

First invention of its kind, the Lewis hanger provides a little hook which keeps the cap in shape and is suspended from a long rack. The machine which makes the product today was made by Anton Winters, expert machine worker in a Lansing automobile plant.

Also on Washington avenue, at 213 1-2 North, is the plant of the True Blue Gum company which for years has turned out a product that is popular in many parts of the country.

Climbing the stairs in a building to this industry, the nostrils and jaws are tantalized by a company of pleasing and spicy odors. This is the van guard of the True-Blue gum factory owned by John Bohnet. It is the only stick gum manufactory in the state and one of the 35 general gum makers.

Protracted and few jaw movement through a wide are by countless hundreds of people is needed to dispose of 15 tons of gum, the amount made last year by the Lansing firm for a Grand Rapids company. The thought of 20 tons for the year distributed throughout the United States makes the gum chewer feel that he is not alone.

In the Bohnet factory the visitor finds great quantities of choice, basic material for the best gum, which is imported from South America and refined on Staten Island, New Year. Cane sugar, ground to powder, and corn syrup are the other ingredients and when each is properly processed one great chewy mass boils in one fourth of a ton at a “mix.” Cut by piano wires – no knife is fine enough – it goes through a kneader where starch is mixed with sugar to keep it from sticking. Cooled and rolled it reaches the proper thickness, the latter determined by a micrometer; for it must be adjusted to the wrapping machine, and made into two stick or five stick packages.

Flavor for the gum may come via New York from the peppermint fields of Michigan, or from countries abroad, homes of of the essence of strong perfumes. Good gum calls for double distilled oils. “We have to be sure of our source for flavor” says Mr. Bohnet, “in order to have the proper distillation.” A ton of gum calls for 900 pounds of sugar and syrup making the basic material around one-third. Capacity for a ton per day exists in the Lansing factory. It opened in 1909 and Mr. Bohnet has directed it for the past five years. Until recently he has provided gum for outside firms only who sell it under their own trade name. This year marks a package bearing his own brand.

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Studio couches are turned out by two industries here. The Burton Dixie corporation, out West Willow street, and the Bunday company also makes mattresses.

Sweeping compound is a product of two industries here. One is the J. P. S. Chemical company at 702 East Grand River avenue, and the other is the Michigan company in the Strand Arcade. The Grand River avenue concern also manufactures soaps.

In the heavier industries, are several steel concerns, forging plants, factories making furnaces, centrifused brake drums, brass castings, gravel handling equipment, Diesel engines, lawn mowers, carts and scrapers, dies and tools, jigs and stampings, screw machine products, gas engines, and sheet metal products.

Included in this are the Atlas Drop Forge company at 209 West Mt. Hope avenue; the Capital Casting company at 500 South Hosmer street, the Capitol Tool-Engineering company at 611 North Grand avenue, the Capitol Steel corporation, the Ebel Hoist and Pump company at 326 South Hosmer street, the Federal Drop Forge company at 2200 South Washington avenue, the Gerson-Carey company at 411 East Kalamazoo street, the Hill Diesel Engine company at 238 Mill street, the Ideal Power Lawnmower company at 704 East Kalamazoo street, the Jarvis Engineering company at 901 River street, the Lansing Brass and Aluminum company at 411 East Ottawa street, the Lansing company at 603 North Cedar street, the Lansing Pattern and Manufacturing company at 700 Sheridan street, the Lansing Stamping company at 1159 South Pennsylvania avenue, the Lansing Steel corporation 636 North Larch street, the Laverty Machine and Welding Works at 427 South Capitol avenue, the Liden Manufacturing company at 702 Sheridan street, the Lindell Drop Forge company out South Logab street, the Melling Forge company at 1401 Case street, the Michigan Brass and Iron Works at 411 East Ottawa street, the New-Way Engine and Machine company at 706 Sheridan street, the Novo Engine company at 702 Porter street, the H. P. Spafford company, 326 South Hosmer street, the Standard Aluminun Casting company at 326 Hill street, the Thoman Die and Machine company at 528 Anderson court, the Wilson Machine works at 124 East Madison street and some other smaller ones.

If you want to see how spray pumps and garage equipment is made there is a factory here that will satisfy your curiosity. The John Bean Manufacturing company makes these articles in its plant at 735 East Hazel street.

You could paint the town with the paint turned out by factories in Lansing. There are three of them here, the Capital Paint Manufacturing company at 519 East Michigan avenue, the Lansing Paint and Color company on Glenrose street, and the Superior Paint company at 214 South Larch street.

Furnaces and air conditioners for homes and public buildings also bear the stamp of “made in Lansing, Mich.” The Dail Steel Products company at 750 East Main street, turns out these products.

Display fixtures for stores, also are made in Lansing by the Davis Metal Fixture company at 615 Brook street and the Hugh Lyons company at 701 East South street.

There are two monument concerns here, the Lansing Monument company at 510 East Michigan avenue and the R. A. Yunker company at 1026 East Mt. Hope avenue.

If you are need of cement blocks, Lansing makes them at the plant of the Robert Martin Cement Block company at 1420 East Main street. This company also manufactures septic tanks.

Far out in the northern section of the city on Highmount street is the Michigan Fertilizer company which makes fertilizer and chemicals.

Hardware specialties are made here, too, by G. S. Ressler and Son on South Cedar street.

Ring gears, steel culverts and piping, commercial refrigeration and electric water heaters add more products to Lansing’s ever growing list of manufactured articles.

Many of these plants are tucked away in out-of-the-way places in the city and are practically unknown except to their own trade. But year in and year out they plod alone, turning out products that find their way to all parts of the United States and into foreign countries.

Among the larger industries engaged in the manufacture of articles not associated with the motor car industry is the Motor Wheel corporation, which, in addition to making automobile wheels, also manufactures oil burners and steel barrels.

There are several other concerns engaged in the manufacture of automobile parts. These include the Luce Manufacture concern, which makes custom truck bodies.

The Duplex Truck company, another Lansing industry, manufactures motor trucks which are sold throughout the world.

All these with the giant industries of the city – the Oldsmobile, Motor Wheel, Reo and Fisher Body plants – make of Lansing one of the leading industrial centers of the middle west.

Lansing, through all its history has been something of a manufacturing town, but it showed its greatest advance as a manufacturing center about the turn of the century.

In 1883, the name of P. F. Olds and Son, loomed large in the list of Lansing factories. The “son” in the firm was destined to make Lansing the giant industrial center it is today. Ransom E. Olds in those days was just experimenting with a “horseless carriage” and which in 1897 brought forth another company known as the Olds Motor Vehicle company. These were the first steps toward the industries of the Olds Motor Works and The Reo Motor Car company which today are among Lansing’s leading plants and the products of which are known throughout the world.

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Lansing’s Early History – The First Shows

Copied from The Lansing Journal – MI – Saturday, May 12, 1906

Lansing’s Early History – The First Shows

It was in 1847 that the capital of the state of Michigan was moved to the town of Michigan, renamed Lansing; and in February 1848, while the first legislature which met at the new capital was still in session, the first opera troupe to exhibit in the future auto metropolis appeared in the dining room of the old Seymour house, now Franklin Terrace, on Franklin avenue east.

Wood & Gillam’s Minstrels was the first show staged here and the dining room was packed with state officials, legislatures, townspeople and visitors from Dewitt and other places. Van Rensselaer Tooker can remember well the show which the two mulattoes and their troupe presented, and it is perfectly evident that the event, the first of the kind he or Lansing had ever seen left a vivid impression upon his memory.

There were twelve members of the company,” he says, “all colored men, and they gave a regular old-fashioned minstrel show. It was there I first heard that song “The Camptown Races,” with the chorus which became famous: “I’ll bet my money on the bob-tailed mare, who’ll bet on the gray?

Those minstrels were reckoned very good in those days, and they certainly had one of the finest shows of its class I ever saw.

The next show which came to Lansing was the Antonio Brothers, Frenchman, acrobats, who exhibited at the same place to a large house. Many people had to be turned away. As I remember it, the troupe consisted of the father, who was the manager, four sons and two daughters.

Shows were given in different halls throughout the city after that. In March 1873, the first entertainment was given in Buck’s opera house, before it was finished, a fly-by-night concern exhibiting there. The opera house was formally opened May 3, 1873, by Edwin Booth in ‘Hamlet’, exhibiting to a house which netted $1,596. That night 30 tickets were sold to Greenville people. May 9, the same year, Joseph Jefferson appeared in ‘Rip Van Winkle’, playing to a $900 house.

Lawrence Barrett appeared here in ‘Cardinal Richelieu’, the date I do not remember, it was soon after the house was opened. Barrett and I were chums in Detroit, where we lived together as boys. Barrett used to ‘supe’ in Ellis & Parker’s old theatre there, and would frequently get passes for me. Later he became a bell boy in the old Michigan Exchange, then he set type in the office of the old ‘Advertiser’, all the time studying for the stage. When he finally became a full-fledged actor I lost track of him until he came here.

I had been told by theatrical people that Barrett would not recognize me. When he appeared at the opera house I was lighting the gas, with which the theatre was lighted. I asked him if he remembered what had become of a friend, Chauncey Tibbles. He had not. Asking my name, I told him ‘Jim Tooker’. After that he was very cordial, asking me from the front of the theatre – I was tending door – to the stage where he had a long visit. He asked about my family, said he would like to meet my wife, and we had a good old time, talking over early days in Detroit.

Accidents in the old opera house? Not a one. Panics? Not a scare. Once we did have a small sized riot. A spiritualist was the bill – one of the fake variety – and he had a lot of people up on the stage when someone raised a kick, and the audience demanded their money back. The old fakir started for the box office where Mate Buck had the money, but I got there first and Mate went across to the furniture store, where it was dark, with the money done up in a bag. We finally succeeded in quieting the audience, who had begun to toss the chairs around, and got them out of the house, locking the doors.”

Once too, a member of college students became dissatisfied with the show and tried to block the hallway, but ‘Billy’ Matthews, who was a special policeman, and I cleared the hall and dispersed the crowd.

The first circus that came here was Levi J. North’s in 1858. North showed on the lot across from R. E. Olds present home. He had one tent, a 90-foot round top, the early circuses having no menagerie. He came here in wagons from Jackson. I remember that ‘Bill’ Lake was the clown, one of the best clowns in the early days.

Dan Rice in 1862, had the first railroad show, and came to Lansing from Owosso on the ‘Ramshorn’ which had only been completed to the deep cut. From there the wagons had to be drawn to what is now the Third Ward Park, where the exhibit took place.

Shows were held here for several years. Later the state lot was used. Forepaugh once put up tents on the site of the Wagon works. The Olds Gas Power company site, the Sparrow block on Washington avenue near the Grand Trunk tracks, and a lot in the western port of the city, between Ottawa and Ionia streets were also used. The only time John Robinson showed here, I forget the date, he used the land now occupied by the Omega Separator company.

In 1872 I first entered the bill-posting business here, before that, since 1862, having been associated in the the circus business with J. E. Warner, with whom I visited every important town from Mackinaw to Cincinnati, and from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Council Bluffs.

Van Amberg brought the first menagerie to Lansing in 1874. Van Amberg, I remember, was the first man who entered a cage of lions. Hyatt Frost was the manager, and he had another intrepid animal tamer, Herr Drisback, a German or Russian. That year I handled paper for five circuses, the greatest number ever in Lansing in a single season. Besides Van Amberg’s, there were the Great London shows, Forepaugh’s and two others. Barnum, at a later date, was the first to use private cars, all others having hired their trains of the railroads. Barnum was also the first to have two trains.

Buffalo Bill had their first ‘Wild West’ show, in the opera house. The next year he came back with the canvas fence.

The parade was a feature of the old circus, but was a meager affair compared with the display that has been made in late years. One year, Dan Rice’s parade consisted of Mentor’s cornet band, the blind horse, Excelsior jr., and two trick mules.

Bill posting in those days was carried on in a more extensive scale than now. The paper was cheaper, but it was well printed in colors, although with fewer lithographs. Most of the printing was done by the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Buffalo Courier, and two New York firms. Booth & Co., and Clavey & Riley. I recall one show when I handled nearly 350 sheets of bill-board advertising.”

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Pioneer Times At North End

Copied from The State Republican – Lansing, Michigan – Tuesday, May 9, 1905
(About 1850)

Pioneer Times At North End

By J. E. Warner

Old Settlers are often importuned to tell the present generation what they knew about Lansing before the majority of its present inhabitants were born. I have on several occasions made a public revelation of what I knew of its early history, but now am requested to brush up my memory and reveal to the readers of the State Republican something of the early history of that particular locality called by comment consent, North Lansing.

Fifty-five years ago in March, I came by the “Foot and Walker” line from Wayne county and landed in North Lansing and somehow the attractions that I stumbled onto in that locality proved so magnetic that I have been chained, as it were to the part of our city all these years.

Business at that time was very much condensed and clustered about the corners of Franklin and Center sts. Jas. Seymour and his co-partners owned nearly all the land in this immediate vicinity, and to boom their property, erected a fine hotel which they called the Seymour house. This was the attractive feature of the village, and for several years the leading hotel in Lansing. This hotel was headquarters for the law makers of the state who were at that time in session in the new capitol, located on the block bordered by Washington and Capitol aves on the east and west, and by Allegan and Washtenaw sts on the north and south. As an aggregation of law makers and fun makers, this first general assembly here out Webstered Daniel the Great and put to shame the favorite Sons of Momus.

Social events were limited for the lack of convenient places to meet. There were no theaters, no clubs, and no special attractions, and when the men and boys wanted an evening of good solid enjoyment they would gather in the spacious bar room of the hotel and listen to the jokes and yarns of their neighbors.

A two-plank walk extended from the hotel to the capitol, over which the distinguished sojourners were wont to tramp, to and from every day during their stay in the city of the woods. One member, an old hunter, always carried his gun and one night he came home with a large turkey strung over his shoulder that he killed near the hill where Bailey M. Buck lives. Fresh meat, other than wild game was a scarce article. Partridges and quail were plenty, and as there was no law limiting for killing, the hotel table was always well supplied with these dainty and palatable meats, and when the warm spring days brought the chattering squirrel from his winter hiding place, the landlord would go or send a man out with a shot gun, who would return in an hour or so with a dozen black squirrels, that would provide a delicious pot-pie for dinner.

Quite frequently deer were killed within what is now the corporate limits of the city, and one day I remember a large black bear came into the village. Just west of the bridge two Indians took the trail and captured the animal about where the School for the Blind is located.

Indians were very plenty here in those days, Old Okemos, a noted chief, with his tribe, made frequent visits to the village. They would go into camp in what was known as the Turner woods, now occupied by the spacious residence of Hon. F. L. Dodge. They would remain several days, exchanging furs, dried venison, roots, herbs, etc. for such articles as their tastes desired and of which the two merchants kept a good supply especially for the Indian trade. A small quantity of “fire water” was usually sandwiched in with other purchases. It was an interesting sight to see the Indians coming to town. They came on their ponies, Indian file or to make it plain to the uninitiated, single file. Old Okemos always in the lead. The squaws, like the males, rode astride and carried their camp equipage strapped on behind the rider. The train always reached from Center st. out beyond the Camp farm nearly a mile in length. It was always a half-holiday when this great caravan was headed for the camping ground in the Turner woods, and one occasion the attraction proved so great that the legistlature adjourned and loaned their august presence as spectators to this wild and weird pagent, illustrated by our original American citizens.

Another incentive for the assembling of the people was the arrival of the stage from Detroit. The Seymour house was the landing place for the stage and at its arrival daily about 6 p. m., the sound of the driver’s horn, for which the inhabitants were listening would cause a stampede of the whole population for the corners, and about the hotel. The stage driver was a bigger man than Gen. Jackson. The interest and excitement that occurs about our railroad stations of the present day on arrival of trains are not compared with the interest taken in the arrival of the old Concord coach, drawn by four foaming steeds and the crack and flourish of the Jehu’s whip.

North Lansing was about the whole thing in those days. It was the principal part of what is now our beautiful city. We were one happy family. No jealousies, no social distinction – all seemed united in the one great object of building up a city, peopled with fathers and mothers, of whom our children, in after years, might with pride turn back the pages of the book of progress and say “they were my ancestors.” Of such was North Lansing 55 years ago.

Photo Caption: Joseph E. Warner. Author of Interesting Sketch of Early Days at North End.

Note from Timothy: Joseph Warner was Mayor of all the city of Lansing in 1878, and his home still stands today at 1230 West Willow Street.

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