FRIDAY, July 22 — Pokémon Go players have been exploring every nook and cranny of Greater Lansing in the hunt to “catch ‘em all.” This includes Lansing’s Oak Park, also known as East Side Park, which was an important hub of activity for the early 1900s. The Greater Lansing Historical Society will take a look at the park’s history on a walking tour tomorrow.“The tour delves into a period of time when outdoor recreation was at its height and there were daily summer programs at the park for neighborhood youth,” said Bill Castanier, president of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing.
Oak Park was once a cemetery, where local legend claims that ghosts played in a wading pool. The cemetery was moved to Mt. Hope Cemetery in the late 19th century. In 1900, the site became Lansing’s second park, featuring a wading pool which attracted thousands of people on hot summer days. The tour also includes the former Oak Park School building (now Neogen) and the 1929 Lansing Children's Home. Participants will also get to view and learn about two Darius Moon homes.
Castanier is glad that Pokémon Go is giving people a chance to rediscover parks like Oak Park.
“The kind of fun children had in the early 20th century is an amazing contrast to today’s search for (Pokémon Go characters) Drowzee and Vulpix, which can be found in the park,” he said.
Oak Park Historical Walking Tour
10 a.m. Saturday, July 23
Meet at former Oak Park School
620 Lesher Place, Lansing
(517) 282-6871, lansinghistory.org