Town of Michigan / Lansing

Registered Site S0629

Town of Michigan

In 1847, required by Michigan's 1835 constitution to choose a permanent capital site within the first decade of statehood, the legislature voted to move the capital from Detroit. Convinced that the governmental seat should be in the state's interior, legislators voted to relocate in Ingham County's unsettled Lansing Township. Citizens viewed the choice with skepticism-believing the decision was a joke that backfired. The capital commission platted the "Town of Michigan" in 1847 and chose a site bounded by Washington and Capitol avenues and Allegan and Washtenaw streets for a temporary capitol building. When the legislature met that year, many members were forced to lodge in private homes; others made their beds on the capitol floor. During that session, the legislature renamed the capital city Lansing.
photo of Town of Michigan


The town of Michigan was planned in 1847 as the state capital. In April the state legislature considered renaming the capital Pewanogowink, Swedenborg or El Dorado, but chose Lansing, after John Lansing, an American Revolution hero. At that time the capital was a wilderness fraught with wolves and a "brain fever" (spinal meningitis) epidemic. In 1859, Lansing was incorporated as a city. During the 1870s, Lansing's lyceums and literary societies hosted author Mark Twain and actor Edwin Booth. The 1847 capitol, considered "an old rattle trap," was replaced by the present building in 1879. Primarily an agricultural community, Lansing developed as a manufacturing center in the 1890s. In 1897, Ransom Eli Olds organized the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, Michigan's first operating automobile company.

Erected 1991

Location: Lansing City Hall
Michigan & Capitol
Lansing, Ingham County

Cities and Towns

Latitude: 42.7337507, Longitude: -84.5532542

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