‘Lansing’ Category


What’s In A Name

09 lansing jrLinda Burton posting from Lansing, Michigan – History has a way of surprising you. That is, the pursuit of getting to the bottom of things, like, for instance, how Lansing, Michigan got its name. This tale is full of twists and turns, beginning with a man named John Ten Eyck Lansing Jr (1754-1829), who lived in New York. He was a distinguished fellow; in his lifetime he was Mayor of Albany, New York; Chief Justice of the New York Supreme Court, a member of the New York State Assembly, and in 1785, the US Confederation Congress. During the Revolutionary War he was military secretary to General Philip Schuyler, which brings us to the Central New York Military Tract. In September of 1776 the Continental Congress required states to raise regiments for the Revolutionary War, so the New York legislature authorized a military tract as part of law, to raise its quota of regiments. Nearly two million acres of bounty land were set aside to compensate New York’s soldiers; each soldier was guaranteed 600 acres for their service. The land was surveyed and divided into 09 recruitment28 townships; the townships were given classical Greek and Roman names, and a few honoring English authors, one of which was Milton, near Cayuga Lake. The township of Milton was split over time; the part in Cayuga County was named Genoa. In 1817 when Tompkins County was created out of Cayuga County, the town of Lansing, New York was established; history tells us it was named for the well-known John Ten Eyck Lansing Jr. So what does any of this have to do with Lansing, Michigan? Think of dense forests, flowing rivers, and land. That’s what Michigan Territory offered; and land attracted land speculators, like brothers Jerry and William Ford, who came to Michigan in 1835. » read more


Reach For The Stars

07 capitol w tree left fLinda Burton posting from Lansing, Michigan – The catalpa tree was already there when architect Elijah Meyers came to build a capitol. “We figure it’s more than 140 years old,” the groundskeepers told me. Construction on the third Michigan state capitol began in the summer of 1872; the catalpa would have grown as the capitol grew. From the day of the capitol’s dedication on January 1, 1879 until today, when I came for a visit, the catalpa has stood just to the left of the front sidewalk, watching over everything. It is well over a hundred feet tall and 85 feet across 07 tree fencedits crown, one of the biggest of its kind in the country. It is fenced for its protection, and steel posts now support two of its extensive limbs; its 20-foot trunk is split, from earliest days, it appears. But it is wearing its age well and each year produces a hearty crop of long thin seed-filled pods, which the groundskeepers collect and give to the Michigan State University arborists for “starting.” Plantings are shared with the community; you might find this catalpa’s babies all over Lansing. “All trees that grow from this tree’s seed split too,” I was 07 entrance 2told, as I was handed a seed pod to keep for my own treasure. I tucked it into my backpack and headed on towards the capitol entrance. No steps and no mystery; a clearly marked ground-floor entrance led me directly to the Visitor Information desk, where Matt VanAcker welcomed me and gave me information about the capitol. “A few days ago, there were no desks or chairs in the chambers,” he said. “We are just getting back in order after some major renovation.” I headed for the first floor rotunda, where the tour was already underway, booklet of facts in hand. » read more


Turn The Radio On

05 gk w mike cLinda Burton posting from Lansing, Michigan – First he had us stand and sing the Star Spangled Banner. There was no fanfare, no “Here’s…….Johnny!” introduction, no curtain raised. Garrison Keillor simply walked out on the stage and asked us to stand and sing. At the end of two hours, he asked us to stand and sing again; this time it was Amazing Grace; and we did it, respectfully and, I’d say, rather enthusiastically. “What is such a tactic supposed to do for the show?” I was thinking, as I stood between two guys whose baritone voices completely drowned me out. I guess it served two purposes; a method of getting audience involvement so we’d stop chatting with each other and pay attention to the show in the beginning; a seventh-inning stretch after we’d sat so long. Or maybe he’s just patriotic. He is that; patriotic, I mean; and irreverent too. Somehow he picks out exactly how 05 radiowe feel about something even when we think we have gracefully covered it up. And he tells on us. Faithful listeners of Prairie Home Companion know just what I mean. Pastor Liz. The Lutherans. Those folks who endure a Minnesota winter. Garrison Keillor knows about contentment, and he knows about longing; he gives the two a humorous twist; that’s the way to survive. He ended the show with a singy-song burst of advice for happy living – “If you want something to get done…do it…if you don’t want to do it, don’t worry a-bout it…tell 05 rr tour signyour kids not to wear their baseball cap back-wards and not to use four-letter words on their res-u-me….” If you haven’t figured it out, I was in the audience for Garrison Keillor’s Radio Romance Summer Tour. I was front row balcony in Lansing’s Wharton Center, and I was loving it. » read more


If You Only Have Time

03 lansing logoLinda Burton posting from Lansing, Michigan – “If you only have time for one thing,” begins the “Stellar Tip” from Christine Bennett in the Greater Lansing 2013 Visitor Guide, “make sure to visit the State Capitol.” Now, there’s a Visitor Guide after my own heart, as I’ve been digging deep into capitols for 38 states to this point; I love it when they are recognized as a Top Attraction in their own city. “Step back to the Victorian era,” are the tantalizing words they offer, followed by; “award-winning Capitol Building;” and “nine acres of hand-painted surfaces.” An image is forming in my mind and I’m eager to go; I see that tours are available every half hour on Mondays through Fridays from 9 03 state capitolto 4. Oops, no weekends? Hmmm, weekends are important times to draw visitors. What else do people do on the weekends in Greater Lansing? For Historic Sites I note some memorials and markers that may be visited at any time: the Remembrance Memorial honoring those who died on 9/11; the Michigan Vietnam Veterans Memorial, honoring the 2,651 Michigan casualties of that war; the Malcolm X Homesite Marker, a registered historical landmark where he once lived. The Michigan Walk of Fame invites a leisure stroll 03 potter zoo signany day of the week; it is downtown on the sidewalks of Washington Square and honors the “ingenuity and resourcefulness of Michigan residents” – that would give a lot of insight into what Lansing, and Michigan, are all about. The Potter Park Zoo is open daily, as is the Michigan Historical Museum. The Impression 5 Science Center is open Tuesdays through Sundays, as is the R E Olds Transportation Museum; okay, it’s going to take grid paper for a chart. Fit “time” into what promises to be an interesting city – now there’s the challenge! » read more


Getting Around The Lake

01 lake michiganLinda Burton posting from Lansing, Michigan – Now I know why early settlers liked winter. When the lakes freeze over it’s easier to get around. And let me tell you, there are a lot of lakes, and other bodies of water, to get around. Like Lake Michigan, which I had to get around to take the Journey from Madison, Wisconsin to Lansing, Michigan, Capital City #38. Lake Express ferry runs from Milwaukee to Muskegon, Michigan and on the map that looked like a straight shot, so that was Plan 1. Until they told me I’d have to leave The Cats locked up for almost three hours without checking on them. “Three hours locked in a car in the summertime? No way!” 01 chicago skyway toll 2They told me it was for “passenger safety” that people are not allowed to walk back and forth to their cars during the trip across the lake. And that passengers cannot stay in their car; I’d have to leave my vehicle and buy a separate ticket to sit in a reserved seat upstairs. Sure, it’s my fault I made a reservation without asking questions FIRST; but after those astonishing disclosures, when I canceled the reservation I’d just made they charged me $30 to “unprocess” my credit card. That began my “around the lake” tab. Add to that at least five toll stops in Illinois, which 01 indiana industrytotaled more than $10; room charges for an extra overnight stop along the way to avoid driver fatigue (mine); and gas costing $4.09 a gallon at the Des Plaines Oasis, one of the controlled stops along the toll roads (it’s averaging $3.59 elsewhere). But it wasn’t the money, it was the sheer ugliness of the trip that got me down. My advice – get around the lake some other way; avoid Lake Michigan’s tip! » read more