1859 : Lansing, Michigan Incorporates As A City

February 15, 2023 all-day

A pair of New York speculators plotted and marketed a non-existent city known as “Biddle City”. The New Yorkers that bought into the idea arrive in Lansing to discover that the plots they had bought are located in a marsh, and are underwater. Some of the pioneers stay, but develop a village in what is now Old Town Lansing a mile north of the non-existent “Biddle City”.

The state capital moves from Detroit to Lansing Township in 1847.  The town was unofficially called Michigan, Michigan.

Did you know?  Lansing, Michigan was originally called Michigan, Michigan. Follow this link for a map of the Town of Michigan dated 1847.

In 1848 the Legislature officially changed the name to Lansing, Michigan.

Lansing was incorporated as a city on February 15, 1859.  Its 3,000 residents elected Hiram H. Smith as the city’s first mayor.

He served for just a year, but “gave the community a firm foundation on which its political and economic destiny was built,” according to an account in the centennial edition of the State Journal in 1955.

Lansing has had a total of 46 mayors.

The longest-serving mayor is Ralph Crego, who served from 1943 through 1960 and built a reputation for getting things done. During his years as mayor, the city grew by more than 20,000 people and 12 square miles.

The next-longest-serving was Gerald Graves, a feisty leader known for tight budgets, polyester suits and speaking his mind, who served from 1969 through 1981.

Terry McKane, who comes next on the list, told the Lansing State Journal he thought his legacy would be that he had instilled a higher standard and image in the mayor’s office. He resigned with one year left in his third mayoral term in 1992, taking an early retirement plan that would boost his pension.

Lansing’s current mayor, Andy Schor, took office in 2018.


Lansing Michigan wikipedia entry

Vickki Dozier, “From the Archives: Lansing mayors”, Lansing State Journal, January 10, 2015.

Frank Hand, “Lansing’s Name No Easy Choice“, Lansing State Journal, February 17, 1984.  A plat for Lansing was filed with the County Register of Deeds on June 23, 1847.  The town was incorporated on February 15, 1859 by an act of the Legislature.  By then, the town had grown to about 3000 people.