Lansing is the capital city of the U.S. state of Michigan, and the state's sixth largest city. It is located mostly in Ingham County, although small portions of the city extend into Eaton County. As of the 2000 census, it has a population of 119,128, an Urbanized Area (UA) population of 300,032, and, as of July 1, 2007, a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) population of 456,440. The even larger Combined Statistical Area (CSA) population, which includes Shiawassee County, is estimated at 528,193.
The Lansing metropolitan area, colloquially referred to as "Mid-Michigan," is an important center for educational, cultural, governmental, business, and high-tech manufacturing institutions, including three medical schools (two human medicine and one veterinary), two nursing schools, two law schools including the nation's largest law school, a Big Ten Conference university (Michigan State), the state capital, the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, a federal court, the Library of Michigan and Historical Center, and headquarters of four national insurance companies.
Lansing is the only U.S. state capital (among the 44 located in counties) that is not also a county seat. (Juneau, Alaska and Nashville, Tennessee are consolidated city-counties (borough in Alaska) municipalities, and Carson City, Nevada and Richmond, Virginia are independent cities. Connecticut and Rhode Island do not use county government and do not have county seats.) The county seat of Ingham County is Mason, Michigan, but the county maintains some offices in Lansing.
In the winter of 1835 and early 1836, two brothers from New York plotted the area now known as REO Town just south of downtown Lansing and named it "Biddle City." All of this land lay in a floodplain and was underwater during the majority of the year. Regardless, the brothers went back to New York, specifically Lansing, New York, to sell plots for the town that did not exist. They told the residents of Lansing, New York that this new "city" had an area of 65 blocks, contained a church and also a public and academic square. A group of 16 men bought plots in the nonexistent city and upon reaching the area later that year found they had been scammed. Many in the group too disappointed to stay ended up settling around what is now Metropolitan Lansing. Those who stayed quickly renamed the area "Lansing Township" in honor of their home village in New York.
The sleepy settlement of fewer than 20 people would remain dormant until the winter of 1847 when the state constitution required that the capital be moved from Detroit to a more centralized and safer location in the interior of the state since many were concerned about Detroit's close proximity to British-controlled Canada, which had captured Detroit in the War of 1812. The United States had recaptured the city in 1813, but these events led to the dire need to have the center of government relocated away from hostile British territory. In addition, there was also concern with Detroit's strong influence over Michigan politics, being the largest city in the state as well as the capital city.
During the multi-day session to determine a new location for the state capital, many cities, including Ann Arbor, Marshall, and Jackson, lobbied hard to win this designation. Unable to publicly reach a consensus due to constant political wrangling, the Michigan House of Representatives privately chose the Township of Lansing out of frustration. When announced, many present openly laughed that such an insignificant settlement was now the capital city of Michigan. Two months later, the governor William L. Greenly signed into law the act of the legislature officially making Lansing Township the state capital.
With the announcement that Lansing Township had been made the capital, the small village quickly transformed into the seat of state government. The legislature gave the settlement the temporary name of the "Town of Michigan." In April 1848, the legislature then gave the settlement the name of "Lansing." Within months after it became the capital city, individual settlements began to develop along three key points along the Grand River in the township.
"Lower Village/Town," where present-day Old Town stands, was the oldest of the three villages. It was home to the first house built in Lansing in 1843 by pioneer James Seymour and his family. Lower Town began to develop in 1847 with the completion of the Franklin Avenue (now Grand River Avenue) covered bridge over the Grand River.
"Upper Village/Town," where present-day REO Town stands at the confluence of the Grand River and the Red Cedar River. It began to take off in 1847 when the Main Street Bridge was constructed over the Grand River. This village's focal point was the Benton House, a 4-story hotel which opened in 1848. It was the first brick building in Lansing and was later razed in 1900.
"Middle Village/Town," where downtown Lansing now stands, was the last of the three villages to develop in 1848 with the completion of the Michigan Avenue bridge across the Grand River and the completion of the temporary capitol building which sat where Cooley Law School stands today on Capitol Avenue in between Allegan and Washtenaw Streets, and finally the relocation of the post office to the village in 1851. This area would grow to become larger than the other two villages up and down river. For a brief time the combined villages were referred to as "Michigan" but was officially named Lansing in 1848.
In 1859, the settlement having grown to nearly 3,000 and encompassing about in area was incorporated as a city. The boundaries of the original city were Douglas Avenue to the north, Wood and Regent Streets to the east, Mount Hope Avenue to the south, and Jenison Aveune to the west. These boundaries would remain unchanged until 1916. Lansing began to grow steadily over the next two decades with the completion of the railroads through the city, a plank road, and the completion of the current capitol building in 1878.
Most of what is known as Lansing today is the direct result of the city becoming an industrial powerhouse which began with the founding of Olds Motor Vehicle Company in August 1897. The company went through many changes, including a buyout, between its founding to 1905 when founder Ransom E. Olds started his new company REO Motor Car Company, which would last in Lansing for another 70 years. Olds would be joined by the less successful Clarkmobile around 1903. Over the next decades, the city would see itself transformed into a major American industrial center for the manufacturing of automobiles and automobile parts among other industries. The city continued to grow in area too. By 1956, the city had grown to , and doubled in size over the next decade to its current size of roughly .
Today, the city's economy is now diversified among government service, healthcare, manufacturing, insurance, banking, and education.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which of it is land and (0.57%) of it is water. This figure includes two 425 Agreements with Alaiedon Township and Meridian Township, but not the four 425 Agreements with Delta Township since 2000.
Under Michigan law, 425 Agreements are only temporary land sharing agreements, and do not count as official annexations. The Census Bureau, however, for statistical purposes, does count these as annexations. Not counting the temporary 425 Agreements, Lansing administers total.
Lansing is located in the south central part of the lower peninsula where the Grand River meets the Red Cedar River. The city occupies most of what had formerly been part of Lansing Charter Township. It has also annexed adjacent tracts of land in Delta Charter Township and Windsor Township in Eaton County to the west and Delhi Charter Township in Ingham County to the south. The city also controls three non-contiguous tracts of land through 425 Agreements (conditional land transfer agreements) with Meridian Charter Township, Delta Charter Township, and Alaiedon Township in Ingham County to the southeast.
Lansing elevation ranges between above sea level on the far south side of Lansing along Northrup Street near the Cedar Street intersection, to to above sea level along the Grand River because of the two dams along the river.
The Grand River, the largest river in Michigan, flows through downtown Lansing; and the Red Cedar River, a tributary of the Grand River, flows through the campus at Michigan State University. There are two lakes in the area, Park Lake and Lake Lansing, both northeast of the city. Lake Lansing is approximately in size and is a summer favorite for swimmers, boaters, and fishermen. Michigan State University Sailing Club and the Lansing Sailing Club are located on Lake Lansing, where sailing regattas are hosted throughout the summer.
The city of Lansing operates a total of of parkland, of which is parkland, are golflands, and are cemetery lands. This figure includes the Waverly Hills Golf Course and adjacent Michigan Avenue Park, which are part of Lansing Township, but operated by the City of Lansing. The figure, however, does not include the [Ingham County parklands within the borders of Lansing.
|Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures|
|Rec High °F (°C)||66 (18.8)||69 (20.5)||79 (26.1)||86 (30)||94 (34.4)||99 (37.2)||100 (37.7)||100 (37.7)||97 (36.1)||89 (31.6)||77 (25)||69 (20.5)|
|Norm High °F (°C)||29.4 (-1.4)||32.6 (0.3)||43.5 (6.4)||56.6 (13.6)||69.4 (20.7)||78.1 (25.6)||82.1 (27.8)||79.7 (26.5)||72 (22.2)||59.8 (15.4)||46 (7.7)||34.1 (1.2)|
|Norm Low °F (°C)||13.9 (-10.05)||15.4 (-9.2)||24.3 (-4.3)||34.5 (1.4)||44.8 (7.1)||54.3 (12.4)||58.4 (14.6)||57 (13.4)||48.9 (9.4)||38.6 (3.6)||30.1 (-1.05)||19.7 (-6.8)|
|Rec Low °F (°C)||-29 (-33.8)||-25 (-31.6)||-15 (-26.1)||-2 (-18.8)||19 (-7.2)||30 (-1.1)||37 (2.7)||35 (1.6)||22 (-5.5)||15 (-9.4)||4 (-15.5)||-18 (-27.7)|
|Precip in (mm)||1.61 (40.9)||1.45 (36.8)||2.33 (59.2)||3.09 (78.5)||2.71 (68.8)||3.6 (91.4)||2.68 (67.1)||3.46 (87.9)||3.48 (88.4)||2.29 (58.2)||2.66 (67.6)||2.17 (55.1)|
The city's downtown is dominated by state government buildings, especially the State Capitol; but downtown has also experienced recent growth in new restaurants, retail stores and residential developments. Downtown Lansing has a historic city market that is one of the oldest continuously operating farmers' markets in the United States. Upriver and north of downtown is historic Old Town Lansing with many architecturally significant buildings dating to the mid-1800s. Directly south of downtown on the other side of I-496 along Washington Avenue lies "REO Town," the birthplace of the automobile in the United States, is where Ransom Eli Olds built factories along Washington Avenue. Ransom Eli Olds' home, which once overlooked the factories along Washington Ave., was displaced by I-496.
Lansing is generally divided into four sections: Eastside, Westside, Northwestside, and the Southside. Each section containins a diverse array of neighborhoods. The Eastside, located east of the Grand River and north of the Red Cedar River, is the most ethnically diverse side of Lansing, with foreign-born citizens making up more of its population than any other side in the city. The Eastside's commercial districts are located mainly along Michigan Avenue, and to a lesser extent along Kalamazoo Street. It is anchored by Frandor Shopping Center on the very eastern edge of the eastside.
The Westside, roughly located north, west, and south of the Grand River as it curves through the city, is sometimes regarded the city's most socio-economically diverse section. This side also contains Lansing's downtown area, though this neighborhood is often included as an area all its own. Outside downtown, this side is largely a collection of residential neighborhoods and is served by only one other commercial area along Saginaw Street. However, it also includes a small part of the Old Town Commercial Association.
The Northwestside, generally located north of the Grand River, with the city limits defining its north and western borders, is physically the smallest side of the city. This part of the city includes suburban areas and some more rural areas. North of Grand River Avenue, the main street of the side, lie warehouses and light industrial areas served by a major rail line that runs through Lansing. The most notable landmark of this side is Lansing's airport: Lansing Capital City Airport.
The Southside, usually described as the neighborhoods located south of the Grand and Red Cedar rivers and the I-496 freeway, is physically the largest and most populous side of the city, and contains some of the city's most healthy neighborhoods. The area is largely suburban in nature (south of Mount Hope Road near the northern edge), and is served by numerous commercial strips along Cedar Street, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Waverly Road, which run north/south. The large Edgewood District is located in the southernmost part of the Southside and is sometimes referred to as South Lansing. Though it is the largest area of the city by both physical size and population, it has often been regarded by Southside citizens as Lansing's most overlooked and forgotten area, as most of Lansing's attention in recent decades has been put into the revitalization of the city's historic core located mostly on small parts of both the East and Westsides.
As of the census of 2000, there were 119,128 people, 49,505 households, and 28,366 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,399.0 per square mile (1,312.3/km²). There were 53,159 housing units at an average density of 1,516.8/sq mi (585.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.28% White (61.4% non-Hispanic White), 21.91% African American, 0.80% Native American, 2.83% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.54% from other races, and 4.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.0% of the population. The city's foreign-born population stood at 5.9%.
As of 2000, the city's population rose by 32,293 (27%) to 151,421 during the day due to the influx of workers.
There were 49,505 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.8% were married couples living together, 17.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.7% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,833, and the median income for a family was $41,283. Males had a median income of $32,648 versus $27,051 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,924. About 13.2% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.2% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.
Lansing is administered under a mayor-council government, more specifically a "strong mayor" setup in which the mayor holds most of the city's administrative powers, such as appointment of department heads and drafting and administering a city budget, though the council must approve his/her actions. The mayor is elected at-large every four years. Lansing is different from most U.S. cities in that its eight-member city council includes four members each elected from one of four wards, as well as four "at-large" members elected citywide. The reasoning behind this system is that while each ward of the city gets its own representation, the at-large councilmembers serve as a voice for often- underrepresented neighborhoods in those wards.
The current mayor is Virgil Bernero, who took office on January 1, 2006. The city council members as of January 3, 2008 are: Eric Hewitt (1st Ward), Sandy Allen (2nd Ward), A'Lynne Robinson (3rd Ward), Tim Kaltenbach (4th Ward), Kathie Dunbar (at-large), Brian Jeffries (at-large and Council President), Derrick Quinney (at-large and Council Vice President) and Carol Wood (at-large).
At the state level, Lansing is located in the 23rd district of the Michigan Senate, which has been represented by Democratic state senator Gretchen Whitmer since January 1, 2007. The small portion of the city that extends into Eaton County is located in the 24th district of the Michigan Senate, which is currently represented by Republican state senator Patricia L. Birkholz The city lies in the 67th, 68th, 69th, and 71st districts of the Michigan State House of Representatives, represented by Democratic state representative Barb Byrum, Democratic state representative Joan Bauer, Democratic state representative Mark Meadows, and Republican state representative Rick Jones, respectively.
Michigan State University, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and Lansing Community College are significant employers in the region.
General Motors has offices and a hi-tech manufacturing facility in Lansing and several manufacturing facilities immediately outside the city, as well, in nearby Lansing and Delta townships. The Lansing area is headquarters to four major national insurance companies: Auto-Owners Insurance Company, Jackson National Life, the Accident Fund, and Michigan Millers Insurance Company The Lansing area is also home to rapidly growing financial companies such as Siena Capital Management and Capitol Bancorp Limited Elderly Instruments, an internationally recognized music retailer, is located in Lansing.
|Company/Organization||Sector||Local Full-time Employment|
|State of Michigan||Government||14,355|
|Michigan State University||Higher Education||10,500|
|General Motors Corporation||Automobile Manufacturing||6,300|
|Sparrow Health System||Healthcare||6,000|
|Lansing Community College||Higher Education||3,180|
|Ingham Regional Medical Center||Healthcare||2,500|
|Lansing Public School District||Primary Education||2,106|
|Meijer||Warehousing, Retailer, Grocer||2,000|
|Jackson National Life||Insurance||1,393|
|City of Lansing||Government||1,240|
|United States Postal Service||Government||1,200|
|Dart Container||Container Manufacturer||1,144|
Michigan State University, a member of the Big Ten Conference, is known as "the pioneer land grant college," located in neighboring East Lansing. MSU has the largest land campus in the United States and is home to several nationally and internationally recognized academic and research oriented programs. Michigan State offers over 200 programs of study and is home to fourteen different degree-granting schools and colleges including three medical schools, a law school, and numerous PhD programs. It is the only university in the nation with three medical schools. MSU is consistently one of the top three programs in the United States for study abroad programs. The MSU College of Education is also consistently rated as the top education program in the nation. Michigan State University is the oldest agricultural college in the United States. The MSU School of Criminal Justice is the oldest continuous degree granting criminal justice program in the nation.
The Thomas M. Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the nation and is located in downtown Lansing. Cooley is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. A majority of Cooley students are from out-of-state.
Lansing Community College offers more than 500 areas of study to over 18,000 students at its main facilities in Lansing, and another 5,000 students at twenty-nine extension centers and a site in Otsu, Japan. Lansing Community College recently demolished Old Central, which was the first building on LCC's campus. Old Central provided additional classrooms for the community college and also had the duty of serving as Lansing's first public high school (established in the late 1880s as Lansing Central High School). A new state of the art building is currently being erected in its place, known as the University Center. The University Center will allow LCC students to take courses and eventually earn an undergraduate or graduate degree from other Michigan institutions.
Other institutions of higher education include Western Michigan University (branch campus in Delta Township), Davenport University in Downtown Lansing, Central Michigan University (branch campus), and Great Lakes Christian College.
The NBC affiliate maintains the FOX affiliate's News programming. Both affiliates broadcast their newscasts at the News 10 studios in Lansing. Often the same reporters are used on both broadcasts.
Michigan State University sponsors both men's and women's sports, usually competing as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Spartans have won National Titles in Men's Basketball, Football, Men's Boxing, Men's Cross Country, Men's Gymnastics, Men's Ice Hockey, Men's Soccer, and Men's Wrestling.
Lansing Community College also sponsors many sports, competing as members of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association. The Stars have won NJCAA titles in the following sports: Women's Softball, Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball, Men's Cross Country, Women's Cross Country, Women's Marathon and Men's Marathon.
The Lansing area is also known for its many golf courses, with two courses owned by Michigan State University, four municipal courses, and many additional public and private courses in the area. Walnut Hills Country Club in nearby East Lansing formerly hosted the LPGA's Oldsmobile Classic from 1992–2000. The Michigan PGA recently relocated from the Detroit area to Bath, Michigan, which is on the northern edge of Lansing.
In the 1980s and 1990s Lansing was a major player in semi-pro football. The Lansing Crusaders won MFL/MCFL championships in 1982, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, and 1990. The team finished second in 1984, 1986, and 1991.
Other past sports teams include: