Monday, July 6, 2015

Historic Houses in Downtown Lansing Walking Tour This Thursday, July 9

The Historical Society of Greater Lansing’s 3rd historical summer walking tour is set for 7 p.m., Thursday July 9 in a downtown neighborhood adjacent to the State Capitol and includes five homes on Capitol Ave, Genesee St. and Seymour St. The tour meets at the historic Carnegie Library at 210 W. Shiawassee Street.

Homes which will be discussed on the tour include the former homes of a Michigan Supreme Court Justice, a former president of MAC, an auto pioneer, and an early Lansing industrialist along with one of downtown’s first apartment buildings.

President of the Historical Society Valerie Marvin said the walking tour will cover both the historical and architectural aspects of the homes. Several of the homes have been converted to offices.

“Many of us drive by these homes every day not knowing of their importance in Lansing history,” Marvin said. "Yet they serve to remind us that downtown Lansing continues to involve, while remaining both a desirable place to live and work."

She said one example is the current Maurer-Foster building at 615 N. Capitol Ave which was originally the home of William Newbrough who was one of  the founders of the New Way Motor Co. The home was later sold to Auto Owners which used it for its first offices and later housed the city’s Community Foundation.

Another example is the original home of T. C. Abbot at 327 Seymour St. Abbot was one of the early presidents of Michigan Agricultural College and built the home for his retirement.

Also included is an early apartment building, designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.  "The Spanish Colonial Revival movement is really the first time that Midwestern America begins to look to Western America for design cues.  Suddenly, it was avant-garde to have a little bit of California in downtown Lansing!" Marvin said.

Houses on the tour also cover a range of architectural styles including Stick Style, Romanesque, Neo Classical and even Spanish Colonial Revival.

Cathy Babcock, the former head of the Lansing Art Gallery, will conduct the tour along with Valerie Marvin.

Marvin said the tours are an easy and informal way of learning about the city’s history while getting an overview of architectural styles.

Since the Common Ground Festival is held the same evening the tour will last only one hour giving participants plenty of time to arrive for the Festival’s events. Marvin said parking is relatively easy to find west of Seymour St.

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