Historic homes are all over Lansing, but some may be at risk

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By Jasmine Seales
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

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Some of the many places that tourists frequently visit in Lansing are the multitude of historical houses and establishments in the Greater Lansing area.

There are a number of churches, homes and buildings that are listed as historic sites, especially in the downtown Lansing area.

The Historical Society of Greater Lansing President Bill Castanier has led a free walking tour on North Washington Avenue on July 14, in order to give a more in-depth look at the houses, tell who lived in them, when they were built, and who built them.

Residents were not previously allowed access into the homes, but according to the Historical Society, many people had questions about the houses and structures.

A correspondent from the Historical Society of Greater Lansing said that for the most part, the houses are holding up nicely, but the tour gives a new life to the houses, and allows outsiders to get the scoop on the houses, and putting a story to the houses they see on a regular basis.

Though the houses are in good condition, some of the historical buildings are not doing as well as others.

A historic depot, the Union Depot, that was turned into the restaurant Clara’s Lansing Station, has just been sold to Gillespie Group, the company behind Lansing Brewing Co. and the Outfield Apartments, and is eventually being repurposed, with little public knowledge about what it will be repurposed to, and little federal protection on the historic site.

The Union Depot was once a booming train station in Lansing, before being bought out and turned into an eatery in the 1970’s. It was also rumored to have been used in the backdrop for the movie “Anatomy of a Murder,” according to the landmark’s website.

“With Lansing being such a big part of Michigan’s history, it makes sense that there are so many historical landmarks. It’s really sad that so many of these buildings are being repurposed and shut down. A good way to look at it though is it’s a piece of history being reborn, not dying,” said history teacher Coleman Davis, who was taking part in the walking tour.

A major historic landmark that is still thriving is the Old Town neighborhood. Old Town Lansing is the original downtown Lansing area, that is now filled with boutiques, restaurants, businesses, shops, and nightclubs.

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