1959 : Lansing’s Centennial / History of Transportation Parade

May 23, 2022 all-day

Complete with Miss Lansing, Miss Michigan, and Miss America, Lansing’s History of Transportation Parade, celebrated Lansing’s Centennial on May 23, 1959.  A crowd of 175,000 gathered for the spectacle.  It was probably the largest parade every held in Lansing, Michigan.

The parade stepped off 4 ½ hours behind schedule due to the weather. It covered a 2-mile route and was 15 miles long.  According to the May 13-19, 2009 Lansing City Pulse, the parade lasted 5 hours.

The parade featured 7000 participants, including 45 floats, 39 bands from as far away as Washington, D.C., 230 marching belles, 175 marching brothers, 156 majorettes, 400 pretty girls, 7 queens, 345 horses, 12 ponies, ten donkeys, two oxen, and five (official) dogs. It even included an appearance by Captain Kangaroo and examples of transportation running the gamut from chariots to rockets.

Davey Crockett was all the rage in 1959 and was invited to be a parade marshall for the Lansing Centennial Parade!

The Chippewas provided a horse drawn travois. Note parade watchers on roof tops!

A gaggle of REO Curved Dash Runabouts.

Oldsmobile Float!

The Firebird III, General Motor’s Space Age Car, was also a hit.

Patience Pierce, Miss Michigan and her court, helped decorate the Fisher Body float.

Sources :

“Photos From the Archives : Celebrating Lansing’s Centennial”, Lansing State Journal, March 23, 2014. Includes photo’s of parade.

The Lansing Branch of CADL has photos of the event in their historical collections.  Some are available online as Centennial Celebrations.

Vicki Dozier, “From the Archives: Lansing parades“, Lansing State Journal, March 11, 2017.

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