Old Town Demographics. Gender. Male: 54,930. Female: 59,893 . Income. Household Size. Housing Monthly Owner Costs. *Chart displays housing with mortgage. Racial Make Up. Education. Marital Status. * Married does not include separated. Employment in Lansing. Age. Economics.
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*Chart displays housing with mortgage
* Married does not include separated
The dense forest that later became Lansing, Mich., was originally surveyed and put on the map in 1825, but it did not see its first residents for nearly 20 more years. In 1843, a dam was built in the Grand River, and it powered Lansing's first sawmill. As the town grew on its industry, the residents built a school — that doubled as a church meeting space on Sundays — in what is now Old Town. When Michigan made the decision to move the state capitol from Detroit, some residents lobbied for the new building to be constructed inside modern-day Old Town, but in 1847, Governor William Greenly choose a location about two miles away. Not to be discouraged by their loss, the Old Town residents built a hotel to house the traveling state legislators who had to make frequent trips into Lansing. It opened in time for the first gavel of the new Legislature. Spurred by their new business, Old Town thrived as a blue-collar boom town for the next 150 years.
In the 1960s and 1970s, however, business fell off, residents moved out and Old Town suffered a severe slump. Building vacancy climbed as high as 90 percent. Crime rates soared. In the past 10 or 15 years, many dedicated individuals have labored to return Old Town to its historic past. Although the commerce and industry of past decades likely are permanently gone, Old Town has become a center of art and culture in the greater Lansing area. In 2006, the neighborhood was named an area of the Michigan Main Street program in Governor Jennifer Granholm's Cool City Initiative. Today, the area's developers are continuing to rebrand Old Town as a cultural center with a unique and bustling shopping district. The Old Town Commercial Association have developed numerous events to attract traffic — 111 in 2010 alone. The area recently was named as a finalist in the Great American Main Street Awards, a testament to the years of rebuilding.
LSJ Editorial. "Years of Effort Built Today's Old Town." Lansing State Journal. 21 Jan. 2011. Web. <www.lansingstatejournal.com>."Our Story.”
I Love Old Town. Old Town Commercial Association. Web. <www.iloveoldtown.org/our-story>.
By Kyle Campbell
United States of America. U.S. Census Bureau. Census Bureau Home Page. 2010. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. <http://www.census.gov/>.