Did You Know Michigan Has Had 3 Capitals?
For many of us, there are things about Michigan we continue to learn about, even as life-long residents of the state. One fascinating thing I found out was that not only was Michigan's capital not originally in Lansing but that we actually have had 3 capitals between two cities. The legislature website for Michigan revealed when Detroit was officially named our state's first capital:
When Detroit was founded in 1701, it quickly became the most important settlement in the western Great Lakes region. In 1787, after more than a century of French and British rule, the Michigan region was set aside by the United States government as part of the Northwest Territory. The Territory of Michigan itself was created in 1805, with General William Hull serving as its first governor. On July 1, 1805, Detroit was named the capital of the new territory.
Moving To Lansing
The capitol building was located in downtown Detroit which is now Capitol Park and was originally built to be the territorial courthouse. After the eventual move to Lansing, the building was converted into a school. There were months of debating from a land owner in Ingham County, James Seymour to turn Lansing into the new capital which was passed in 1847, and ultimately the new capital building was furnished between 1847 and 1848. This particular capital building only lasted 30 years, before our current capital building was erected in 1878. The original building was known as the “Old Barn” sadly burned down on December 16, 1882.
Our current capital building was officially named such on New Year's Day in 1879 and has been standing strong since especially after the renovations were finished in the early 90s to restore deterioration from the long life it had served.
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