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Lansing 1897, Michigan Historical Museum

to Lansing 1897

  • Can you hear it? The clip-clop sound of a horse trotting down Washington Avenue's brick pavement.
  • Can you see it? The Lansing Senators hitting a home run in a game against Jackson.
  • Can you feel it? The heat of an office without air conditioning on a hot July day.
  • Can you smell it? Well, with all of those horses, let's leave it at that.

Lansing, ca. 1900 What sort of a town produced residents willing to invest in a newfangled, untried, horseless carriage? Welcome to Lansing 1897. A snapshot of the city, this exhibit explores the size and character of the city, its people and institutions, its problems and potential.

Lansing was created when the Michigan Legislature established the state capital here in 1847. Now—1897—it's a manufacturing center with ties to national, and even global markets. Still, it’s more a small agricultural town than a crowded, dirty city. The main business district is small enough to get around in easily on foot. The state agricultural college is a pleasant trolley ride away. People know each other by name, whether neighbors, store clerk and customer, or boss and worker.

This is an online version of Lansing 1897, a special exhibit at the Michigan Historical Museum in 1997-98. As you tour online, you can view a larger image of most artifacts, photographs and exhibit scenes by clicking on the thumbnail image.

Perhaps you'd like to Take the Train to Lansing 1897?

Go to:

See population facts about Lansing 100 years ago.

Links to other sources of information about Lansing past and present.

Exhibit Acknowledgements and Credits

NOTE: The lists of businesses on the Lansing 1897 pages were obtained from the Lansing City Directory, 1898, published by Chilson & McKinley, and augmented with information from 1897 newspaper advertisements and historical publications.

Contact the Michigan Historical Museum with your question or comment about this page.

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