Sunday, July 26, 2015

Vintage View of M-22 Book Event at East Lansing Public Library This Thursday!

After checking out the new book on touring Michigan’s scenic M-22 you’ll understand why you see all those M-22 stickers on cars.

Award winning authors M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson spent endless hours driving Michigan’s most scenic highway for their new coffee table book “Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 Including Sleeping Bear Dunes.”

Byron and Wilson will bring their stories and new book to the East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, at 7 p.m., Thursday July 30 for a visual presentation of the scenic drive.
The book, through clever use of vintage postcards, advertising ephemera and photographs, illustrates a time when the highway first beckoned travelers to the scenic drive outlining Leelanau Peninsula.

The 248 page book will take you on a trip back in time when things were slower and less commercial, said Valerie Marvin, president of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing which is co-sponsoring the event along with the Friends of the East Lansing Public Library.

The event is free event and books will be available for purchase.

“The couple’s love of Michigan and its history is shown on every page of this amazing book,” Marvin said. The authors have used their vast postcard collection and travel ephemera as the inspiration for five books which include visual tours of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Charlevoix and Petoskey, Leelanau County, M-22, the Straits of Mackinac and the West Michigan Pike.

Byron was previously the local history librarian for the Grand Rapids Public Library and Wilson is retired from Sears Roebuck and Company and is on the Grand Rapids Historical Commission. Their books have won three Michigan Notable Book Awards and the book on the West Michigan Pike won the 2012 State History Award.

The event is co-sponsored by the Historical Society of Greater Lansing and the Friends of the East Lansing Public Library.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Downtown Lansing Restaurant Tour

Downtown Lansing's Favorite Old Restaurants Walking Tour

The Historical Society of Greater Lansing is hosting a downtown Lansing walking tour featuring the “lost restaurants of Lansing” 10 a.m., Saturday July 25. The tour which will leave from Lansing City Hall is free and is being held in conjunction with the Capital Car Auto Show and the Taste of Downtown sponsored by Downtown Lansing Inc..

Walkers will explore locations of more than 12 area restaurants and discuss the history of those restaurants including the Plaza Room and Fielder’s Room in the Olds Hotel, Jim’s Tiffany Lounge, Dines, the Knight Cap, Brauer’s 1861 House, Tarpoff’s, Foo Ying, Estelle’s, Kewpees, Home Dairy and the Parthenon.

Valerie Marvin, president of the Historical Association of Greater Lansing said the tour will explore both the fine dining experiences and the more casual eateries that once graced downtown Lansing.
“These were the type of dining establishments where people celebrated anniversaries, birthdays and became engaged. Younger residents remember romantic pre-prom and hop dinners,” Marvin said.

She also said several of the restaurants are where legislators went to work out compromises and lobbyists entertained. Numerous clubs also held their monthly meetings in several of the restaurants.
Only two of the restaurants, the Knight Cap and Kewpies, are still serving diners today.

The tour will be conducted by Gary Koelsch, and is co-sponsored by the Historical Society of Greater Lansing and Downtown Lansing Inc.

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.