Lansing History



  • I am not sure this is the page for this comment, I noticed the little field stone building at corner of Aurelius and Cavanaugh has been clad in vinyl siding. I know that it most be a privet home but it is kind of a shame. Years ago it was kind of a marker between the city and the beginning of the country.
  • This building?

    Google is showing it was clad in siding since at least 2007. I never went by there enough to know what it looked like before.
  • I haven't paid attention to it recently, but I do seem to recall the front still clad in stone. I always thought it looked a little strange as you could tell is was stone cladding.
  • edited September 2015
    They just put that siding on recently, maybe 2 or 3 months ago. That house is certainly weird and has always caught my eye, it's never been nice looking but the vinyl siding makes it look horrible.

    BTW, I saw a Google Streetview car around so expect the imagery to be updated before too long.
  • I did not live here in '07 so I guess they must have removed the siding at some point,I think this summer it was an entirely field stone facade as it was in the 60's when I grew up. I pointed it out perhaps as an example of a house or building that had history and was unique and had all of that covered up by vinyl siding. They did that to my parents little Cape Cod,there were fluted columns and a sort of wood drape that framed the wooden front door, the window frames were four inches wide. All those little details were covered up by pale green vinyl siding that is still on that house today. My Dad would be happy, he never had to paint again.

    I went the the State library to the Photography in Lansing exhibit which was very interesting. It was set up by subject and photographic style, family snap shots, school photos, reporter's photos etc. One of the subjects was the building of I-496. Several photos really sparked my memory of that time. The "before" photo of the grid of streets and blocks that were soon to be history. I could find my Dad's Sunoco station on the corner of Main Street and Logan, the Lincoln school, the Olds Mansion. It said that 900 buildings were torn down, and I very much remember the upheaval it caused for years. That was the heart of the African American neighborhood, and it's true a lot of those houses were not really good housing but there were many 19th century homes churches, schools and business that would considered treasures today that stood in the path of the highway. In those days people did not have any use for the old, we had to have a modern highway that could sweep all the state and GM workers right through Lansing and out to the burbs, and getting rid of an "unsightly" old neighborhood was also good in the minds of the people who built it. I guess I felt that way as well as I got my driver's license in '72 and I really loved driving on 496 all smooth and modern. Today living downtown I really don't use it much, and advocate covering it over.

    I walked down Allegan to get to the Library to find that the building faces the parking lot on the other side. Seems like it should face the Capital Complex. The building itself is very 80's mix up of a lot things. It seems overly defensive with all the tall stone walls and few windows, we walked in down a black granite stairwell that was like entering a bunker. The inside was better with lots of light and big spaces. I also like the museum which is very well presented. We exited on the Kalamazoo street side and took in the sculpture in the circle, it is kind of cool once I figured out that it was lining up with Polaris the North star, the thing that got to me was, there it was this nice sculpture in a nice circle of grass and find that someone has placed this traffic direction sign right in front at the apex of the sculpture were it all lines up. Wow I do not have any idea how much that art work cost of if people even like it, but they could honor it a bit more by putting that sign in a different spot. Please keep in mind I was away for 30 years so all this is new to me!
  • edited October 2015
    The city's and public service department's throwback thursday are interesting this week.

    From the city...

    This is the construction of the original city hall in 1895. We're looking northeast, here, over Capitol Avenue. The old city hall stood at the southeast corner of Capitol and Ottawa where the House of Representatives office building now stands.


    For the public service department...

    Here is the first Michigan Avenue bridge. This wooden bridge served from 1852 to 1870 when it was replaced by an iron bridge. The caption on the photo says that the stairs on the left (can't tell if they are talking about mid-bridge of on the left bank) led down to a steamboat landing.


    Little Lansing had so much charm in its day.
  • This is a great photo, I think they could build a pedestrian version of this bridge to replace the ugly one that goes to the Lansing Center.

    I wonder what they did with the stone when they tore it down in the 50's. it sure was an impressive building.
  • edited October 2015
    The LSJ their From the Archives series this week on the history of Sears in Lansing. I had totally forgotten before looking back at my picture that this building (300-306 East Michigan Avenue):

    River Plaza by NewCityOne, on Flickr

    Was originally a Sears.



    It's also cool to see how they did their new Frando store up for its opening in 1954. I wish they'd do that, now.


    Funny how small, inexpensive details can create a whole new lively look for a building.
  • I think these photos are very interesting. Even I am not old enough to remember Sears downtown on Michigan Ave.. So downtown had at least six large department stores! I know that parking and the idea that shopping centers became the ideal place to shop they are modern and downtown was not.But why was it so complete every shop [but a few] and department store gone from downtown by 1980. That was the beginning of the end for Downtown as a shopping district, Sears was the first to leave downtown.

    I do remember Sears and Frandor looking like this photo. I think that the stone facades looked like Lansing. Many of the modern buildings built at that time in that area had similar stone and light colored brick facades. Like the WJIM building and Brody at MSU. It is a shame the way Frandor looks today. It would be a treasured mid-century building today I think if they had not "improved" it to start with in the 70's. Fandor's owners should take a look at this photo and and others of the original Frandor if they should ever decide to put some money into the place. It would look so great for Frandor to revive that kind of prairie-school modern look and be a proper nice place at such an important spot on Michigan Avenue.
  • You can still see the stairway the went up to Michigan Ave. on the south side. It was part of the original river walk. the signage is still there and looks cheap and dated. They could rebuild those stairs or maybe have some sort of cool "steam punk" looking elevator that bikers and walker on the river trail could be lifted right up to Michigan Ave and downtown. I had some bikers on the trail ask me how to get to the Capital from that spot and I told maybe just park your bikes at the city market and go up the Lansing Center stairs and walk to the Capital building. There should be a direct and easy way to get up to Michigan Ave from the river trail with real bike lane leading downtown and to the Capital Complex.
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