The Historical Society of Greater Lansing will hold a walking architectural tour (exterior) of more than a dozen significant buildings in downtown Lansing 10:30 a.m. – noon, Saturday June 16.
The tour will include numerous buildings designed by major architects including the former Liebermans gift shop which was designed by mid-century architect George Nelson and the Ranney Building (now lofts and retail) which was designed by Darius Moon.
Other buildings on the tour, which is called “Behind the Façade,” are the Arbaughs, the Knapps, the Atrium Office Center (formerly the Michigan Theatre and the Strand Theatre,) Rousser Drugs and Lansing Home Dairy (now Foster Swift law firm). Other buildings on the tour are the Hollister Building, the Boji Tower (formerly the Olds Tower) and the Comerica (Bank of Lansing) building.
Valerie Marvin, Society President and preservationist, who will lead the tour and provide brief histories of each structure said each building has its own story and we will look at what the building was originally built for and what businesses occupied the buildings during their course of history.
She said a variety of architectural styles are represented in the structures including Beaux Arts, Romanesque, Art Decco and Streamline Moderne. The buildings date from the 1800s to the mid twentieth century.
“These buildings represent the best of preservation and each represents a particular time in our city’s and nation’s history.
If you understand the evolution of these buildings you understand how national trends were played out locally,” she said
The tour is free and will meet at the corners of Michigan and Washington. It will be held rain or shine and an annual meeting of the Society will be held immediately following at MBC in downtown Lansing. RSVPs for lunch (on your own) at MBC is appreciated. Call RSVPs at 517-282-0671.
The Society is currently hosting an exhibit at the Creyts House at 831 N. Washington (corner of Oakland Ave.) on shopping in downtown Lansing during the mid-century (post WW II -1960s). The exhibit is open Sundays July 1, August 5 and September 2 from 1p.m.-4 p.m. during the summer.
The temporary “pop-up” exhibit “When Everyone Shopped Downtown” showcases shopping in downtown Lansing in mid-century (late 1940s-1960s) and highlights Knapp’s, Liebermann’s, Maurice’s, Free Spirit, Marshall Music, Kositchek’s, Ellison’s Book Store, Linn and Owen Jewelers and Arbaugh’s among others. The exhibit is free and parking is available onsite. More information is available on the Society website at www.lansinghistory.org
Items on display include a 1958 two-story metal dollhouse complete with all the original plastic furniture; an electronic baseball game, an original sign from Liebermann’s Trunks; fashion items from the 1950s to the 1970s, psychedelic poster and items from Free Spirit and a massive cash register from Linn and Owen Jewelry which was in use from the early 1900s into the 1970s.
Other items in the exhibit include signs, photographs and ephemera such as bags, boxes and promotional items from downtown stores including the one-of-a-kind Free Spirit an eclectic grouping of shops in the early 1970s that sold everything from platform shoes to waterbeds.
“The pop-up exhibit celebrates the glory days of shopping in downtown Lansing by the highlighting the vast array of items that could be purchased from big stores like Knapps or from specialty stores like National China,” Valerie Marvin, president of the Historical Society said.