Canady leads national sorority
Lansing’s Hortense Canady was elected national president of Delta Sigma Theta in 1983. The African-American women’s sorority had 125,000 members with a staff of 35 in Washington, D. C. During her six years in office, the difficulties of single female heads of households was declared the number one issue the sorority would address and Canady and others took their message to the United Nations Decade for Women Conference in Kenya. She and her husband, Clinton Canady, raised three boys, all who would become attorneys, and a daughter who is a pediatric neurosurgeon, having broken many ceilings for black women and women in general. Canady was a board member of the United Negro College Fund for more than 20 years and assistant director of student finance at Lansing Community College. Source: Lansing City Magazine. Contributed by Timothy Bowman.
Radisson Hotel opens in 1986
The Radisson Hotel's downtown opening had special meaning to Alexandra Kontas, 83, of East Lansing. She noted that the hotel sits on the former site of the Detroit Hotel. Her husband, Charles had built the hotel in 1917. The 'Detroit' was demolished in 1971 during an urban renewal project.
Even the address for the new Radisson - 111 N. Grand Ave. - is the same as that of the former Detroit Hotel, which the Kontases operated for more than 50 years.
The 11-story, 257-room Radisson Hotel opened its doors on Oct. 13, 1986. Its first guests were the family of Gary and Karen Weston, owners of Kewpie Sandwich Shoppes. Weston said his four children gave him the idea of being among the first to register. Source: Lansing State Journal, Oct. 13 & 14, 1986. Compiled by Timothy Bowman.
Whipping post proposed for indolent
From the Nov. 13, 1921 issue of the Lansing Capital News: “Alderman William T. Britten wanted to revive the ‘whipping post’ for men with families refusing to work when offered jobs. The second ward alderman made this proposal to the city council last evening. Alderman William McKale, discussing the matter of punishment for non-supporters, declared, ‘Life in the county jail would be no punishment’.” Submitted by Paul D. Arnold
Lansing’s tallest building
The cornerstone was laid for Olds Tower, Lansing’s tallest building, on Nov. 14, 1929. R. E. Olds, assisted by Edmund C. Shields of the Lansing law firm Thomas Shields & Silsbee, lay the cornerstone for the tower. It would later be named Michigan National Tower and is now the Boji Tower. The tower would rise 25 stories, some 345 feet, and be the tallest building outside of Detroit. It would comprise 3.5 million pounds of structural steel and 19,270 tons of material. Source: Lansing State Journal. Compiled by Eric Dawe.
Mayor's grave went unmarked
John A. Kerr, Lansing's second mayor and "father" of the city's tree planting program, no longer lies in an unmarked grave, said a 1952 State Journal article.
Mr. Kerr, mayor in 1860 and publisher of The State Republican newspaper for 11 years, built the city's first fine residence. The home on St. Joseph Street, near Grand Avenue, still stands in Printers Row which is part of the historic Cherry Hill district.
His funeral on Aug. 1, 1868, was one of the largest Lansing had ever seen. Burial was in a cemetery located on the site of the present-day Oak Park on East Saginaw Street. Later his remains, along with members of his family, were moved to Mt. Hope Cemetery.
Why, for 84 years, the grave of one of Lansing's most prominent early residents went unmarked is a mystery. Source: The State Journal, May 12, 1952. Compiled by Timothy Bowman.
First city hall opened in 1896
Lansing City Hall, the first municipally-owned building, opened in 1896 on the northeast corner of Ottawa and Capitol Avenues. During the same year, the police department relocated its headquarters to the back of the new building and the city hall clock tower began striking on "standard time," instead of "sun" or local time, which varied 20 to 25 minutes from standard time.
Construction on the present city hall building one block south started on Feb. 1, 1955, and the building opened in May 1958 with a price tag of nearly $5 million.. The following year the old city hall building was razed. Source: "Lansing: City on the Grand, 1836-1939," by James MacLean and Craig Whitford. Compiled by Timothy Bowman.
North Presbyterian Church dedicated in 1865
Franklin Street Presbyterian Church was born in a time of conflict and social change. The Civil War was raging. Revolutionary changes were occurring in agriculture and industry, and the nation was rapidly expanding westward. Six months after the end of the Civil War in 1865, the new church was completed at a cost of $10,000 and began services with 56 charter members.
In May 1934, the street, Franklin Avenue, was changed to Grand River Avenue after US-16 was routed through North Lansing. The name of the church then changed to North Presbyterian Church. In 1914 the original church was destroyed and the present structure erected on the site.
It is the oldest Lansing church to remain in the same location, 108 W. Grand River Ave., since its dedication in 1865. Source: "Stories of Lansing, Michigan Families," publication of the Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society. Compiled by Timothy Bowman.
Wife desertion against state law
From a story in the Lansing Journal, Nov. 18, 1903: “William M. Dust, son of State Tax Commissioner William T. Dust, is the first person to be arrested at the insistence of Lansing officers under the new law of the last legislature making wife desertion a state's prison offense.
“Young Dust was arrested in Detroit today on the request of Chief of Police Starmount. Young Dust was until recently a clerk in the secretary of state's office.
“Some time last spring, it came to the knowledge of Secretary Warner that young Dust was not supporting his family consisting of a young wife and two children, and stated that Mrs. Dust had been taking in washings. Warner had his clerk on the carpet, and he promised to do better. It finally became necessary for the secretary of state to discharge him.” Contributed by Timothy Bowman.
Church leads on “Wet Politics”
At a March 31, 1914 meeting held at the George R. Collins African Methodist Episcopal Church, then located at 109 N. Pine St., one of its ministers, Rev. Mr. J. A. F. Bell, emphasized that “black voters were taking an unusual interest in city affairs” and declared “they wanted honest men who would tell them what was going on…”; and declared his “stand for clean politics.”
Rev. Bell’s stand came about because of reports that “someone has been sending beer to some of our people.” He disapproved of the effort “to gain the Black votes of the Southwestern part of the city” by “Wet forces” who had conducted a number of smokers in a vacant house at 912 S. Logan St.
The AME church would play a pivotal role in civic, social and political history after its establishment in Lansing. The church was re-named Trinity AME with its relocation in 1966.
Source: Excerpted from: Local interviews and articles collected by Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society for The Bicentennial History of Ingham County, Michigan; by Ford Stevens Ceasar for the American Revolutionary Bicentennial Commission. 1976. Submitted by Melvin J. Holley, LAAGS
Everett basketball state champs
Lansing was once again the capital of Class A high school boys’ basketball in Michigan.
Everett defeated Flint Carman-Ainsworth 60-51 on March 27, 2004 at the Breslin Center to claim its first state championship since Earvin "Magic" Johnson led the Vikings in 1977. Goran Suton, of that team, went on to help Michigan State University's men's team get to the NCAA title game in April 2009.
Everett coach Johnny Jones became just the third coach in Michigan to win state titles with both the boys and girls programs. The Everett girls had won Class A titles with Jones in 2000 and 2001. Source: Lansing State Journal, March 28, 2004. Compiled by Timothy Bowman.