Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April & Early May Events

Labor Rises Up in Lansing: The 1937 Labor Holiday and Its Wider State and National Context*
Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 7:00 p.m.
Downtown CADL - 401 S. Capitol Ave.

Join Professors Lisa Fine and John Beck as they discuss the 1937 Lansing Labor Holiday, a city-wide general strike on June 7, 1937. Only a few days earlier, on May 21, workers at the Capital City Wrecking Company struck. On June 1 an Ingham County judge granted an injunction, which strikers largely ignored. In response the local Ingham County Sheriff arrested the wife of strike leader Lester Washburn in the middle of the night. Her husband, who was out of town, returned later in the morning to find his children at home alone and his wife in jail. In response to this event, local union leaders called for a general strike, which ended up involving several thousand people, including so-called “flying squadrons,” union picketers who traveled from strike to strike. The city was virtually shut down as cars were parked across major streets and stores closed.

            Beck and Fine will discuss the Labor Holiday, and look at its broader state and national context and significance. This program is part of a series of events highlighting the year 1937.

*This program was originally advertised as REO Joe in the March newsletter.

Building a Better World - the Life and Career of Governor Frank Murphy
Saturday, April 22, 2017 - 1:30 p.m.
Lake Michigan Room - Library of Michigan- 702 W. Kalamazoo St.
(Note location change)

            Capitol Historian and HSGL Vice President Valerie Marvin will give a talk on Governor Frank Murphy, who held the chief executive’s office from 1937-1938, in conjunction with HSGL’s series on the historic events of 1937.

            Murphy today remains one of Michigan’s most accomplished sons. Born in the small Thumb town of Harbor Beach in 1890, he attended school at the University of Michigan and served in World War I as a young man. After practicing law privately in Detroit for several years, Murphy became the Chief Assistant Attorney General for the eastern District of Michigan and then served on the Recorder’s Court from 1923-1930. It was here that he gained fame as the judge for the Sweet Trial, a nationally watched case involving an African-American family who moved into a white neighborhood and was subsequently attacked. He served as Mayor of Detroit 1930-1933, when he was appointed the Governor General of the Philippines by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

            Murphy returned to Michigan in 1936 to defeat Frank Fitzgerald for the governor’s office. As chief executive he famously negotiated the Flint Sit-down Strike. Upon losing his reelection bid to Fitzgerald in 1938 he turned his attention to Washington, where he served as U.S. Attorney General for one year. On January 18, 1940, FDR nominated Murphy to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served until his death in 1949.


The Michigan State Police: 100 Years of History 1917-2018
Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 7:00 p.m.
Classroom C-1, MSP Training Academy
7426 N. Canal, Lansing


            The Michigan State Police (MSP) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. MSP historian Phil Schertzing will describe the origins and evolution of the department over the past century. The presentation will include a number of significant connections to major cases, locations, and events in the Greater Lansing area. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

March Events


Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright To Googie
By Professor Susan J. Bandes

Thursday, March 23, 2017
Capital Area District Library, 401 S. Capitol Ave.

Learn more about Lansing’s modernist architects and some of their notable architectural creations from Susan J. Bandes, author of “Mid-Michigan Modern: Lansing Architects and Their Clients” as she does a talk and power point presentation on Mid-Michigan Modern: Lansing Architects and Their Clients,  7 p.m., Thursday, March 23 at the newly renovated downtown branch of the Capitol Area District Library.

The Library is one of Lansing’s most revered modernist structures and is the work of Lansing architect Kenneth Black. Bandes’ book will be available for purchase.

Bandes, who teaches art history and is director of museum studies at MSU, also was one of the curators on the exhibit "Minds of Modernism" which is on display at the Michigan Historical Museum.

In her new book, Bandes has collected documents, photographs, and oral histories featuring more than 130 modernist structures that were built in the East Lansing, Okemos, and Lansing aea between 1940 and 1970.

“Included in her book are homes, offices and sacred places you drive by every day, but really don’t know the story behind the building,” said Bill Castanier, president of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing.

For example, the Michigan Medical Society building on West Saginaw in East Lansing is a classic example of modernism and was designed by the architect of the Twin Towers, Minoru Yamasaki. Bandes also delves into unique modernism structures like East Lansing’s Dawn Donuts.

One classic example of a home designed in the modernist vein is the soaring “airplane house” on Moores River Dr. which was designed for the aviator-entrepreneur Talbert Abrams and built to look like the shadow a plane casts while in the air.

Longtime Lansing residents also will remember the Liebermann’s gift shop in downtown Lansing. The building one Washington Square is the only commercial structure designed by George Nelson who was Director of Design for Herman Miller.

 The Minds of Modernism exhibit includes architectural drawings, building models, and representative commercial products from noted designers such as Eero Saarinen and that reflect the Modernist era.