Wednesday, May 31, 2017

June Events


Westside Neighborhood Walking Tour
Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 7:00 
Tour meets at Carey and Saginaw Streets

          The Historical Society of Greater Lansing is conducting a walking tour of the Westside neighborhood, one of Lansing's most fascinating and desirable neighborhoods at 7 p.m., June 22. The tour is free and will meet at West Saginaw and Carey Streets.

          The Westside neighborhood of approximately 2000 homes is bounded by Oakland on the north, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on the east, the city boundary on the west, and the Grand River to the south. At one time the near west side of Lansing was nearly impenetrable and covered by trees. To the far west was an area known as the Bogus Swamp and the Lansing Piggery was nearby. 

            The tour includes the architectural and historical background on 10 early Lansing English Tudors which were built by some of the city's major industrialists and businessmen. The homes are mostly nestled along N. Genesee so the tour covers a short distance.

            One of the tour guides, Fran Russell, lives on Genesee Street and will host tour participants for cookies and tea after the tour.


            Other tours this summer will be conducted at MSU (Beal Gardens and the old east campus) and in the Cherry Hill neighborhood just off Grand Ave and I-496.


Fighting the Death Penalty
Thursday, June 29, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Library of Michigan, 702 W. Kalamazoo

      The Historical Society of Greater Lansing and the Michigan Political History Society is hosting nationally-recognized expert on the death penalty Eugene Gilbert Wanger in a conversation with Lansing attorney James Neal of the Loomis Law Firm, Thursday, June 29, 7 p.m. at the Library of Michigan. The event is free.

      Wanger recently published the book “Fighting the Death Penalty: A Fifty Year Journey of Argument and Persuasion.” through Michigan State University Press. Books will be for sale at the event.

      Michigan is the only state in the country that has a death penalty prohibition in its constitution—Eugene G. Wanger’s compelling arguments against capital punishment is a large reason it is there. The 40 pieces in this volume are writings created or used by the author, who penned the prohibition clause, during his fifty years as a death penalty abolitionist.

      His extraordinary background in forensics, law, and political activity as constitutional convention delegate and co-chairman of the Michigan Committee Against Capital Punishment has produced a remarkable collection. It is not only a fifty-year history of the anti–death penalty argument in America; it also is a detailed and challenging example of how the argument against capital punishment may be successfully made.

      The Eugene G. Wanger and Marilyn M. Wanger Death Penalty Collection resides at the University of  Albany M.E. Grenander Archives in New York and contains a wide range of materials on the death penalty documenting its history, efforts to abolish or reinstate the practice, its psychological impact, compatibility on religious, moral or ethical grounds, and its operation.

      After graduating from Amherst College and The University of Michigan Law School, Eugene G. Wanger returned home to Lansing, Michigan to practice law. In 1961-1962 fellow voters from Lansing elected him the youngest delegate from his political party to Michigan’s Constitutional Convention where, among other provisions, he authored the section of the state constitution which bans capital punishment.  Wanger later served as Lansing's City Attorney and chairman of Ingham County's Board of Commissioners.
      Beginning in 1972, Wanger co-chaired the Michigan Committee Against Capital Punishment, co-founded the Michigan Committee Against the Death Penalty, and been active in numerous historical organizations including the Historical Society of Greater Lansing. In 2005, he received the Champion of Justice Award from the State Bar of Michigan for superior professional accomplishments benefiting the state and nation, including his work on capital punishment.
      He is a life-time member of the Michigan Political History Society.


Monday, May 8, 2017

May Events

Rock, Rebellion And Brownies
Tuesday, May 16 – 6:30 p.m.
Delta Township Library, 5130 Davenport Dr., Delta Township

            Join the Historical Society of Greater Lansing for a look back at the tumultuous Sixties through the eyes and ears of two MSU graduates: Bob Pearson and Bill Castanier. There’s the old saw: “If you remember the ‘60s, you really weren’t there.” This presentation, taken from the pages of the State News and the airwaves of WILS Radio, will help you fill in the blanks. Castanier was a State News staffer in the 1960s and Pearson worked as a DJ at Lansing’s leading rock station WILS.
Bath School Bombing Remembered
Thursday, May 18, 2017 – 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Bath Middle School, 13675 Webster Rd., Bath Township

            Join HSGL and The Bath School Museum Committee for an evening of activities remembering the tragic Bath School Bombing on May 18, 1927, when 38 children and 6 adults were killed when more than 1,000 pounds of explosives were planted and set off by a disgruntled board member. To this day the tragedy remains the largest act of school violence in the U.S.

            The evening includes a tour of the Bath School Museum from 4:00-6:00 p.m., a viewing of the 2011 documentary featuring survivors and their families from 6:00-7:00 p.m., and a panel discussion with three second-generation survivors: Michelle Allen, Sue Hagerman, and Jim Church at 7:15 p.m. The panel will be moderated by retired archivist and local historian Geneva Wiskemann.

1937: An Exhibit Opening
Friday, June 2 – 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Lansing City Hall, 124 W. Michigan Ave.

             HSGL will open its new exhibit “1937–The Year” on Friday evening, June 2, in the lobby of Lansing City Hall. The exhibit looks at many different aspects of life in the Lansing area. We'll be talking about everything from Spam (which was introduced in 1937) to major national and international events swirling around the world, including the Spanish Civil War, the Depression, and the emergence of what would become WWII. The exhibit will cover many different parts of culture, from movies and books to the WPA, local lawmakers, fashion, architecture, and flight. 

Lansing Labor Holiday Historical Marker Dedication and Reenactment
Saturday, June 3 – 1:00 p.m.
Lansing City Hall Plaza, 124 W. Michigan Ave.

            Visitors to downtown Lansing will run into a purposeful traffic jam created to commemorate a monumental labor rally held in 1937 and which became known as the “Lansing Labor Holiday” on Saturday, June 3. The holiday occurred on June 7, 1937, only a few months after the settlement of the Flint and REO sit-down strikes. For one day Lansing became the center of union activity when a general strike was called in response to the arrest of several local union leaders. Thousands poured into downtown, abandoning their cars and shutting down the city temporarily. 

            On June 3 the Historical Society of Greater Lansing and the Lansing Labor Holiday Commemoration Committee, a group representing area unions, and MSU and LCC historians, will gather to recreate that famous traffic jam and dedicate a new historical marker in downtown Lansing. The events are being held in conjunction with the annual Be A Tourist In Your Own Town celebration in the community.