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5 Facts About Michigan's Capital: How Well Do You Know Lansing?

Image: 5 Facts About Michigan's Capital: How Well Do You Know Lansing?
Michigan State Capitol Building. Lansing, Michigan. (Bryndin/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 10 Apr 2015 04:34 AM

Michigan’s state capital is not one of the state’s biggest cities, but there are plenty of facts about Lansing that you might not know. Here are five of them regarding the state’s political seat:

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1. The city was founded on a scam, when two brothers from Lansing, New York, discovered the area that lay in a floodplain and was underwater, returned home, sold plots to the town they had named Biddle City, and convinced 16 men to buy them by falsely describing a city that had an area of 65 blocks and a church. Only when those 16 men traveled to Michigan did they discover that they had been scammed. But they stayed anyway and renamed the city after their hometown in New York.

2. The city is home to Michigan State University, and the first set of graduates received their diplomas in 1861. Actually, the entire graduating class of seven was dismissed two months early so that they could join the Union Army to fight in the Civil War. As MSU describes, “Two of the graduates died in service: Gilbert A. Dickey was killed on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 and Henry D. Benham died at Beaufort, South Carolina, in the summer of 1864.”

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3. The state capital was not originally located in Lansing. For the first decade of the state’s life, the capital was in Detroit. But in 1847, the state constitution mandated that it be moved to Lansing so it could be more centralized in the state’s geography and further away from the border with Canada. Britannica described the area at the time as a “wilderness”, and reportedly, only about 20 residents lived in the area at the time.

4. Lansing is the only state capital in the United States that also hasn’t been designated as the county seat in the county in which it resides. Instead, the county seat of Ingham County is Mason.

5. It took six years to build the state capitol, and by the time it opened in 1879, it had cost $1.5 million to erect. Today, it’s one of only 13 capitol buildings across the country that is officially designated as a national historical landmark. Impressively, the 20 chandeliers that were built specifically for the capitol building, weighing nearly 900 pounds apiece, are original.

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Michigan's state capital is not one of the state's biggest cities, but there are plenty of facts about Lansing that you might not know. Here are five of them regarding the state's political seat.
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2015-34-10
Friday, 10 Apr 2015 04:34 AM
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