Three events focusing on Lansing’s history and historic buildings are set for this week starting with the dedication of a Michigan historical marker at the former Carnegie Library at noon on Tuesday October 14 at 210 West Shiawassee St. in downtown Lansing.
The LCC Carnegie Library Building, whose cornerstone was laid 110 years ago in 1903, was funded by American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, along with local financial support approved by Lansing voters. The Carnegie Library opened its doors in 1905, and within a year amassed 13,000 volumes.
The Carnegie served as Lansing’s main library until 1964. LCC took over the building soon after for use as administrative offices and a counseling center. The building is now part of LCC’s University Center, housing classrooms for LCC’s partnerships with Michigan four-year colleges and universities.
Valerie Marvin, President of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing, will serve as emcee for the event. Tom Truscott of the Michigan Historical Commission will dedicate the marker on behalf of the State of Michigan. LCC Board Chair Larry Meyer and President Brent Knight will accept the marker on behalf of the College.
The next day Preservation Lansing will announce its 2013 winners of it preservation awards given to owners of residential and business owners for their efforts in preserving historical structures in Lansing.
The awards program which is in its second year will be held at the Jon Young Auditorium in Eastern High School, itself a historical building built in 1928.
The second annual preservation awards go to owners of building 50 years or older which have been restored, rehabbed or repurposed and completed in the last two years according to U.S. Department of Interior standards for historic buildings. For a detailed history of the program and this year’s nominees read a recent article in the Lansing City Pulse.
A sure winner this year is the Grand Truck Western Depot in REO Town which was rescued by the Board of Water and Light this past year receiving a $2.8 million restoration. The Preservation Awards program starts at 5:30 p.m. and includes a performance by Lansing Vaudeville Unionized Spectacle
On Thursday October 17 at 7 p.m. in the Capitol Area District Library downtown branch auditorium the Historical Society of Greater Lansing like everyone else in America will be talking about health care.
Valerie Marvin president of the Society said the only difference is the guest historians, Mary Jane Wilson and Karen Douglas, will be looking at the history of Lansing hospitals beginning in 1844 when the only hospital in town was the County Poor Farm.
“Hospitals in the 1800s were so bad nobody would go there,” Marvin said.
“Today, hospitals are seen as a positive where you go to get better, but imagine a person in the 1800s who was sent to Lansing’s Pest House which was convenient located next to the cemetery,” she said.
Between Wilson and Douglas they have nearly 75 years of volunteering experience at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital.
Wilson said it took until 1899 before Lansing would see it first city hospital which would ultimately become Sparrow Hospital.
“Before that people went to the hospital to die,” she said.
Wilson and Douglas also will cover the era after those early days up through the modern state of the art hospitals in Lansing today. Hospitals included in the history talk include the Ingham County Tuberculosis Sanitarium, the St. Lawrence Hospital, Neller Hospital, McLaughlin Ostepathic Hospital, Lansing General Hospital and most recently McLaren Greater Lansing.
Douglas said that the Sanitarium was located on the river not only for the curative powers of water but also so patients could arrive by boat and preserve their anonymity.
The audience will also learn how in the early days of hospital history in Lansing women played the predominant role in their establishment, Marvin said.
Douglas said the first community hospital was founded by a group called the Women’s Bureau of Managers which exists until this day.
In addition to becoming founders of the hospitals women dedicated the hospitals as places where women could go to become nurses and both Sparrow and St. Lawrence hospitals trained thousands of nurses until the 1960s when the programs were ended.
The presenter will also talk about some of the more pop culture aspects of Lansing hospitals such as when the actor Burt Reynolds was born in a Lansing hospital.
In addition both presenters will talk about the incredible time when four identical quadruplets were born at E.W. Sparrow Hospital in 1930. The quads were the first recorded instance in medical history and received worldwide attention. Initially, hospital staff identified them as A, B, C and D which would later become their middle initials.
The quads were named Edna, Wilma, Sylvia and Hilda after the first letters in E. W. Sparrow Hospital.
Marvin said that although the discussion will cover what she calls “the best and the worst” of Lansing Hospitals we want community members to share their memories.
“After all, hospitals are often where you begin and end your life,” she said.
All three event are free and open to the public but the Preservation Lansing group would like reservations by calling .