Turner-Dodge interested in LCC house
Turner House, mansion would be wonderful match, LCC
The Turner Dodge House is interested in acquiring Lansing Community
Colleges old Turner House and turning it into a local-history
We have been seriously discussing an educational center, and we
have quite a bit of land, Gloria Van Dusen, a member of the board
of the city-owned historic mansion in Lansings Old Town. She believes
the city needs an educational facility that gives a walk-through experience
of history. She said the Turner-Dodge House board discussed the idea
at a June 17 meeting. The city is at least aware of the idea. Murdoch
Jemerson, the city parks and recreation director, is a board member.
Two unwanted university properties, both located on LCCs downtown
Lansing campus, are blocking the colleges development proposals.
Both Turner House, a 75-year-old, termite-infested building, and North
House, another old home, stand in the way of the schools $45 million
master plan to renovate the downtown campus. Early in June, the board
of trustees initiated a three-month campaign, called Help Us Move
the House, putting ads into papers to attract potential buyers,
who might wish to move the two old properties. Yesterday LCC sent a
letter out to 25 non-profit organizations, development companies and
housing coalitions in the Mid-Michigan region.
Turner House, along with North House, stand in the way of LCCs
$45 million master plan to renovate the campus.
Dusen said it made perfect sense to move the Turner House to the museum
site in Old Town because the property was built by a cousin of the Turner-Dodge
family. Were working on finding funds, from both the city
and from donations, for moving it, said Van Dusen. The Williamston
resident said she had a house moved off of Antiques Market of Williamston
property when she bought the business, which she has since sold. Ours
was moved with furniture in it. They only suggested to take the pictures
off the wall. It was amazing.
Van Dusen said she hopes LCC will consider donating the building to
the museum, because our cause is justified enough to better the
The Turner Dodge House, built in 1858, recently finished final restorations
and is open 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday through November.
LCC is entertaining all offers. The dean of LCCs Technical Careers
Division, William R. Darr, said: Our first priority is to find
some organization interested in the facilities. And if were unsuccessful,
well more than likely move forward with the demolition.
The removal would make space for a new health instructional facility,
a new administration building, an outdoor amphitheater, and the expansion
of Dart Auditorium.
So far there have been a couple of people calling, says
Ruth Hohl Borger, director of public relations and governmental affairs.
Borger said Turner Dodge House and the Turner House would be a wonderful
match. But she also pointed out that prospective buyers are still
in the discovery phase. Proposals to move the facilities need to be
received by 2 p.m. July 15. There will be an information session at
10 a.m. Tuesday, July 2, where those interested will be allowed to tour
inside the historical buildings.
We have no idea how many people will show up, Darr said.
The dean pointed out that the potential future use of the two buildings
preferably public rather than private as well as the investors
financial resources would be top priorities. LCC would like to find
a purchaser with the resources available to relocate and renovate the
historic properties. Darr contacted professional house movers in order
to research the costs and came up with some very preliminary
price estimations: the cost of moving a house about two city blocks
ranges from $110,000 to $270,000.
Its very difficult and very expensive, and it affects public
utilities and road clearances, said Nick Scarpone, senior associate
at Hobbs and Black. The firms architects created the proposal
to relocate LCCs administrative functions to a new facility and
recommended getting rid of the two historical buildings because of campus
The city of Ann Arbor has some experience in moving historic houses
and creating historical museums. In June 1990 the Kellogg Warden House
(1834) was moved from Wall Street to North Main Street, a distance of
roughly one mile to become a county historical museum. It was
a lot of trouble, remembers Pauline Walters, president of the
Washtenaw County Historical Society. It was lifted up, put on rollers
and pulled by a huge dump truck. Moving the Kellogg Warden house from
its original place to the new site took about four hours. The police
department controlled traffic and employees from the Parks Department
cut branches and trees. Meanwhile, the fire department made sure that
disconnected telephones and electricity in the area didnt cause
any major accidents. There was very little damage, Walters
said. Since 1990 an overall cost of $350,000 has been invested into
the Kellogg Warden House, including the rebuilding of its the original
basement, which cost $87,000.
The Lansing Coalition for Housing Preservation is potentially interested
in acquiring and moving the house. It would be an ideal match.
LCC has the historic house, and we have the property, said the
organizations spokesman, Robert Reid. Two blocks away from where
the old LCC houses stand, at the street corner of Saginaw and Seymour
streets, Reids wife owns an empty lot. They say theyre both
interested in historical buildings and preserving the downtown area.
Three years ago, the couples plan to move the historical Credit
Union Building on South Capitol fell through, because of neighbors
concerns. Reid said if either one of the LCC homes was in good condition,
hed probably apply to get renovation monies from the city.
However, an expert report on the architectural integrity of both buildings
comes to a quite pessimistic conclusion: The termite infestation
in both units is very bad and it will be an ongoing problem wherever
these houses go, if moved, stated Kevin R. Webb, a member of the
Historical Committee for the City of Lansing in an report to LCC. Its
not the best building to have an office in. Its got both electrical
and water damage, adds LCCs Borger. Darr confirms: The
building needs a lot of work.
LCC will contribute to the relocation costs, said Darr. It has budgeted
just enough money for demolition, however, which is an estimated $25,000
to $30,000 for the Turner House and some $17,000-$25,000 to get rid
of the North House.
Sophie Turner built the Turner House in 1927. In 1942 it became part
of the Turner Estate, as overseen by a Detroit trust company. A group
proposed to give the property to the state to use as a museum. Sometime
after 1942 Michigan acquired the property, which it turned into a state
historical museum. In 1980 the LCC board agreed to take over the property.
The Turner House now houses LCCs Performing Arts Program staff,
which will be relocated. The North House is used for administrational