When ‘Old Town’ Was Known as “North Lansing”: A Timeline, 1825-1848
Old Town is one of Lansing's coolest spots to visit...and to do a little shopping. Although 'Old Town' is how we know this area, the original name for it was 'North Lansing' as evidenced on old maps. Here's a quick timeline, thanks to I Love Old Town:
OLD TOWN TIMELINE:
1825: A crew surveys land along the Grand River, which would become the future 'Old Town'
1836: Jacob Cooley and James Seymour from New York buy the land from the government.
1842: This section of land is officially called 'Lansing Township'.
1842-43: John Burchard of Mason buys a piece of land from James Seymour and becomes the Lansing area's first home settler (corner of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Center Street).
1843: First dam on the Grand River is built.
1844: In an attempt to repair the dam, John Burchard drowns.
1844: Joab Page and his family move into Burchard's former home. After an extension, it was turned into a tavern and inn.
1845: Lansing's first church service (Methodist) was held in Page's home, which was also used as a meeting & township hall.
1845-1847: James Seymour finances the first wooden bridge across the Grand River. 1845-1847: The area's first school was constructed on what is now the corner of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Cedar Street (the site of the former Temple Club).
1845-1847: Seymour attempts to have the State Capitol building constructed here. 1847: Governor Greeley squashes that hope by choosing a site two miles south for the capitol.
1847: Seymour makes new plans for a new development called 'North Lansing' (which would later become known as 'Old Town').
1847: Seymour builds The Seymour House hotel at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Center Street for visiting dignitaries.
1848: The Seymour House opens.
Up into the 1900s 'North Lansing' began to grow and prosper. But with malls and out-of-the-city-limits mega-shops and stores, the interest in Michigan downtowns was ebbing. In the second half of the 20th Century, North Lansing – now referred to as “Old Town” - had been neglected and was scattered with abandoned buildings and burned-out storefronts.
Over the last number of decades, Old Town came back to life, thanks to volunteers who were determined to bring this classic area back to life. Since 1996, the number of crimes and empty buildings have decreased and Old Town features many new Mom & Pop shops, private enterprises, artwork, and entertainment.
Old Town – North Lansing – awaits your next visit...
When 'Old Town' Was 'North Lansing'
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