By Kali Jo Wolkow

Property: 1800 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

Owner: Hilde Wright

Assessed Value: $33,100

Michigan Avenue wasn’t always a business district. If you look closely, you’ll see that many of those commercial buildings look like a lot like houses. And with good reason: that’s how many of them started out.

Some have block-style storefronts covering what used to be entryways with welcome mats, while others are simply houses turned into offices (including the City Pulse office). However, after spending some time taking in the cascading bushes and the wide expanse of lawn of the olive-green stucco house at 1800 E. Michigan Ave. it’s easy to imagine the residential neighborhood that once was.

Hilde Wright lives in the upstairs of the building and rents the bottom half out for office space. Wright said her family has lived in the house “since before World War II.” She said her father-in-law had the lower portion turned into offices in 1954, and they have stayed that way ever since.

“I’m an old lady, and I like old houses,” she said. “That’s why it hasn’t changed much.”

Wright said there’s a certain beauty that comes along with the old architecture that can’t be found in newer houses, which is why her focus is on the adjacent three lots of lawn and flower gardens. With trees and bushes all around the property, she does her best to “keep the ugly streets, wires and (electrical) poles out.”

By the looks of it, she’s doing a pretty good job.