Unveiling Lansing’s treasures: 4 captivating and surprising historical insights

Lansing,Michigan, USA (via Shutterstock)

By The 'Gander Staff

November 29, 2023

MICHIGAN—Lansing may not be the most famous city in the United States, but it’s certainly rich in history and filled with hidden gems waiting to be uncovered. In this article, we’ll delve into four intriguing and lesser-known facts about Lansing’s captivating history.

The Birthplace of Oldsmobile

Lansing played a pivotal role in the history of the American automotive industry. In 1897, Ransom E. Olds founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company there, marking the birth of the Oldsmobile brand. It was one of the first automobile manufacturers in the nation, and Lansing can proudly claim to be its birthplace.

State Capitol Move Controversy

Lansing became Michigan’s capital city in 1847, but not without controversy. The decision to move the capital from Detroit to Lansing sparked heated debates, and the state even resorted to force at times to protect the new capital’s construction. Lansing eventually emerged victorious, and today, the majestic Michigan State Capitol stands as a testament to that tumultuous period.

Potter Park Zoo’s Unique Origins

Established in 1915, Potter Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country. But here’s a quirky fact: The zoo’s initial collection consisted of just a few deer and a lone swan! Over the years, it has grown into a diverse and exciting animal sanctuary.

Birthplace of NBA Star Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson, born Earvin Johnson Jr. on August 14, 1959, in Lansing, is a basketball legend whose roots in the city played a pivotal role in shaping his extraordinary career. Growing up in Lansing, Johnson honed his basketball skills at Everett High School under the guidance of coach George Fox. Magic Johnson’s college career saw him lead the Michigan State Spartans to an NCAA championship in 1979, showcasing his exceptional skills as a versatile and charismatic player. In the NBA, he became a cornerstone of the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five championships, earning three MVP titles, and leaving an enduring legacy as one of the most electrifying point guards in basketball history.

Head to Lansing to Learn More

Lansing’s history is a tapestry of industry, innovation, and culture. While it may not always be in the limelight, the city holds a treasure trove of stories and facts that add depth and character to its identity. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the places you visit, these four fascinating facts about Lansing’s history are sure to make your exploration of the city all the more engaging and memorable.

This story was generated in part by AI and edited by The ’Gander staff.




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