Wednesday, May 31, 2017

2017 Summer Walking Tour Schedule

2017 Summer Walking Tours
           
            Thank you to everyone who came out to join us for our first two walking tours of the year, featuring the historic photographers of downtown Lansing and the homes of the Westside neighborhood! And thank you also to Jacob McCormick, Bill Castanier, Fran Russell, and Valerie Marvin for leading the tours. The summer is still young, and we still have four more great tours coming up. Here’s a quick look at the July and August tours.

Cherry Hill Neighborhood - A Forgotten Treasure
Thursday, July 13 - 7:00 p.m.
Tour meets at the old Cherry Street School, 520 Cherry St.

            Lansing’s Cherry Hill neighborhood is nestled in the southeast corner of downtown, where it sits near the banks of the Grand River. Built between 1875 and 1915, Cherry Hill is one of Lansing’s oldest surviving neighborhoods. It contains a number of architecturally unique and beautiful homes, including an elegant yellow brick Italianate, Colonial Revivals, houses influenced by the Stick Style and Dutch Colonial movement, and one spectacular Greek Revival. Practice your turn-of-the-century architectural styles and learn the stories of the men and women—including real estate developers, an insurance executive, and some hard-working women—who made this neighborhood home many years ago.

Capitol Car City - Downtown Lansing
            Saturday, July 29 - 10:00 a.m.
Tour meets at the Michigan State Capitol

            Celebrate Lansing’s downtown auto heritage during this special tour during the Capitol City Car Show. The tour will feature a number of historic auto-related sites, including former dealerships, executive offices, and the many buildings—including the Romney Building and the Boji Tower—commissioned by the Olds family. The tour will also include the story of what might be Lansing’s most famous auto stunt—the car that climbed the steps of the Capitol.

Old East Campus - MSU Tour Series
Saturday, August 19 - 10:00 a.m.
Tour meets at the Student Services Building, 556 E. Circle Dr.

            The 2017 MSU campus tour will cover the history of MSU’s old east campus, which is closely intertwined with the explosive growth of the campus before and after World War II, when President John Hannah found the resources to convert a small cow college into a major university. Highlights of the tour will include Berkey, the Student Services Building, the East Campus residence halls, the Natural Sciences Building, Giltner, and the Auditorium.

Beal Botanical Garden - A Historical Perspective
Thursday, August 24 - 6:30 p.m.
Tour meets at the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden, 40 W. Circle Dr.

            MSU’s Beal Garden owes its existence and its name to Prof. William James Beal, who decided not long after arriving at Michigan State Agricultural College in 1871 that the school needed a campus botanic garden. Within a year this able and ambitious man established a nursery featuring plants from around the world, including England’s Kew Garden. Over the next several years he worked across the campus cultivating trees, plants, and grasses in the area known as Sleepy Hollow and the arboretum. He worked tirelessly to grow these humble efforts throughout his career, and in 1924, following his death, the State Board of Agriculture named the botanic garden in his honor at the request of the Department of Botany. The tour will include stories of Beal’s work, as well as the efforts of his successors who reimagined and redesigned the garden in the mid-20th century, inspiring the American Society of Horticultural Science in 1955 to pronounce the newly organized garden the finest teaching facility in the country.


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.