Beginning of a Town

Birds eye view of the city of Lansing 1886.

Birds eye view of the city of Lansing 1886.

Dense forests and abundant wildlife was what Lansing seemed to look like when our first settlers first made it here. Like many other states and cities in the United States the first humans to reach this area were the Native Americans who were able to live off of Lansing’s long river. Two brothers from Lansing, New York came to Lansing to scope out the land and see whether or not it was good for new settlers and also sell this plot to the settlers. They ended up naming the area they had surveyed “Biddle Town”, most of the area was in a floodplain for most of the year. Even though they new that this land was not ready to be settled yet, they returned home to Lansing, New York and sold the plot to some settlers who wanted to explore the new lands. Though the land was not as they imagined many settlers decided to stay and today this area is known as Metropolitan Lansing and they named the town “Lansing Township” after their home village in New York. As the state wanted to get a new capital for Michigan, because Detroit was too close to the border where it could be attacked easily and because there was a certain distrust when it came to big cities.  Michigan House of Representatives eventually settled on Lansing because they were frustrated with the inability of agreeing on a suitable area and renamed the area Lansing after John Lansing. Lansing after being appointed capital began to see an increase in residents and soon The Michigan Agricultural College (1855) and The Michigan Female college opened, these two would then merge to form Michigan State University. As the growth of the city kept rising more functions were implemented into the city such as a rail system, plank road and the Capitol building. Lansing developed into an industrial power house with the founding of the Olds Motor Vehicle Company by R.E. Olds and  Lansing became a major center for manufacturing cars.