Church & state

By City Pulse Staff

Public buildings and churches on next Lansing Historical Society tour

Tuesday, July 16 — The Historical Society of Greater Lansing continues its Behind the Façade tours this weekend with “Church and State,” a look at some of downtown’s oldest churches and state buildings.

The free walking tour leaves from Lansing City Hall at the corner of Capital and Michigan avenues at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The tour will include the Lewis-Cass Building, which was once set ablaze by a man believing he could avoid the Korean War with a criminal record; the Romney Building, now where the governor and his staff work but originally built as the Olds Hotel; and the Boji Tower, the tallest building in Lansing. Erected in 1931 as the Olds Tower, it once had a carillon that played “In My Merry Oldsmobile.”

The churches include St. Paul’s Episcopal, well known for its stained glass; Central United Methodist, which was designed by Elijah Myers; First Baptist Church, which the Olds family attended; and the 100-year-old St. Mary’s Cathedral.

“Many of us walk around the downtown state buildings and churches and only see the facades and don’t know the history of the building,” said Valerie Marvin, president of the Historical Society.

Marvin, who will lead the tour, said she is personally interested in St. Mary’s Cathedral, whose opening day was marred by an anti-Catholic KKK rally.

“It’s important to put these incredible buildings into the context of the day,” said Marvin.

The next and last Behind the Façade tour will be Aug. 17. It will focus more on the architecture styles of buildings and why these were the trends at the time, looking at design philosophy.

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