All posts for the month June, 2015

Ok time for a short break from Lansing Illustrated 1889 series.

Brewery S Washington

An architectural rendering of the Capital Brewing Company

In 1907 a new brewery was planned for the city of Lansing. Many prominent men in Lansing were involved in the planning and finance of this new company and in less then 30 days the dream was gone and the business was never started.

On November 5 1907 the Lansing Journal announced that a new brewery would be formed in Lansing with a capitalization of $150,000 of which $75,000 was already collected. The officers of the company were President, John H. Algate, Vice President, G.H. Ziegler, Secretary, C.J. Prost and Treasurer, Henry Russell.[1] They assisted by Alexander A. Fordon of Detroit who was to be the manager of the new company.[2] The brewery was to have a capacity of between 25,000 and 30,000 barrels a year.[3]

Later in November the Lansing Journal announced that the brewery would be located on the southwest corner of Washington Avenue and South Street, and would have a frontage on Washington Avenue of 124 feet and 144 feet on South Street extending to the banks of the Grand River.[4] President Algate announced that an agreement had been reached with the property owner, Herbert E. Johnson. The Brewery was to be four stories with an artificial ice plant and cooperage; it was to be a miniature Anheuser Busch plant. Ground was to be broken in March 1908.

Later on December 19, 1907, new Board of Directors and new officers were elected for the Capital Brewing Company. The new Board consisted of, G.H. Ziegler, Herbert E. Johnson, C.J. Prost, H. Russell and A.A. Fordon. [5] The new officers were President, G.H. Ziegler, Vice President, Herbert E. Johnson, Secretary, C.J. Prost and Treasurer, Henry Russell. There is no indication why John H. Algate was removed from his position. The last mention we have of the brewery was in the State Republican 12/24/1908, which stated that another $15,000 in stock was subscribed, the greater part going to local persons.

Just why wasn’t the brewery built has eluded me. It may have been a result of the Panic of 1907, a severe monetary contraction, due to a run on the Knickerbocker Trust Company in October of 1907 which resulted in the failure of many state and local banking institutions.

© Lost Lansing 2015

Coming soon a History of Lansing early breweries.


[1] John H. Algate listed as a carpenter in the 1908 City Directory. Gottlieb H. Ziegler is listed in 1908 as being a dealer in hides and furs. In 1908 Charles J. Prost ran a sample room, a beer saloon. Henry Russell was running City Bottling works in 1908.

[2] Mr. Fordon is listed in the Detroit Blue book and seemed to have been an inventor.

[3] The State Republican 11/5/1907 confirms all of the above information.

[4] Block 194 lots 1-2. See LJ 11/18/1907.

[5] Herbert E. Johnson was a real estate agent.

N Roe 1889 96 copy

Nathaniel J. Roe residence, 506 S. Capitol Avenue

Nathaniel James Roe was born on the family’s farm, in Caroline, Tompkins County, New York on May 11, 1831 the son of John M. and Catharine Roe. In April of 1874 he moved to Lansing and established an opened a grocery business in the Butler Block, the north west corner of Washington and Kalamazoo, later he moved his store to 201 S. Washington. Nathaniel was elected alderman for the third ward in 1889 and served just one term. He married Miss Sarah Elizabeth Green in Tompkins County, New York; the couple had two children J. Edward, Leonard W. Roe. Nathaniel James Roe suffered a series of strokes and passed away ay his home on September 9, 1908. (LJ 9/10/1908 and SR 9/10/1908) The home is understated with the vertical decoration under the gable ends and the plain brackets at the end of the eaves. Notice the smaller version of the vertical decoration at the peak of the small dormer. What are also striking are the small shed dormers over the windows and how the windows on the façade are stacked while those on the side follow an irregular pattern. The site is now home to the Michigan Catholic Conference a building that attractive and a welcome addition to South Capitol Avenue.

E Roe 1889 96 copy

J. Edward Roe residence, 500 S. Capitol Avenue

J. Edward Roe’s home was located on one of the premier corners in Lansing. J. Edward and his wife Rosan lived in the home the entire time they were in Lansing and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary there. All accounts of J. Edward’s life referred to the belief that the couple loved the home they lived in and had no desire to move. The house is simple and understated. In the etching you can see the cresting along the peak of the roof ending in a plain finial. Notice the curved balustrade railing on the porch and the brackets and spandrels. It is interesting that there was no window on the second floor underneath the side gable; it looks from the image that the stairway ran along this side or the home. One other point is the fish scale siding over the second floor front window. It is unfortunate that no images have yet to be discovered of Nathaniel or J. Edward Roe homes.

Roe J E Test 96 copy

J. Edward Roe 1862-1939

J. Edward Roe was born on March 24, 1862 in Caroline, Tompkins County, New York to Nathaniel James and Sarah Elizabeth (née Green) Roe. In April of 1874 Nathaniel moved his family to Lansing and opened a grocery store in the Butler Block on Washington Avenue. After he graduated from Lansing High School J. Edward accepted a position as a teller at Lansing National Bank. His business knowledge led to his appointment as Secretary and Treasurer of Lansing Iron Works. With the connections J. Edward built in the business community, when the Lansing State Savings Bank was organized in 1892, he was offered the position of cashier. He remained with the bank until 1910 when he accepted the positions of Secretary and Treasurer for the REO Motor Company. In late 1911, J. Edward returned to the Lansing State Savings Bank and assumed the position of Vice President. In 1920 the old Prudden building, which housed the American Savings Bank was destroyed by fire, J. Edward offered the use of the Lansing State Savings Bank building to the American Savings Bank. Between 1920 and 1923 the management of both banking institutions met and decided to merge. In 1924 the new bank was established named the American State Savings Bank with J. Edward Roe as its President. In addition to the banking position J. Edward also served as President of the Capital Automobile Company and Treasurer of the Bates & Edmonds Motor Company, the Auto Body Company and the Carrier-Stephens Company. In civic affairs he served as President of the city Water & Electric Commission.

Crucial to the growth of Lansing, J. Edward along with Harris E. Thomas worked to bring the Olds Motor Works back to Lansing after the disastrous fire in Detroit. J. Edward and Harris purchased the 40 acres of the old Michigan State Fair Grounds and the Olds Motor Works return to Lansing. From that point on Lansing’s industrial growth was assured. He later worked with Charles P. Downey and R.E. Olds to establish the REO Motor Company. With the growth of industry in Lansing, the Lansing Business Men’s Association became the Lansing Chamber of Commerce with J. Edward serving as its third President. On July 24, 1888 J. Edward married Miss Rosan L. Sage of Troy, Ohio. The couple had one child, Clarence Sage Roe. On December 19, 1917 Clarence Sage Roe married Miss Bernice Estelle Olds the daughter of Ransom E. and Metta Olds uniting two of the prominent families in Lansing. On Monday, October 9, 1939 J. Edward Roe a man who worked to make Lansing one of the manufacturing capitals of the world, passed away at his home. (LSJ 10/10/1939 and Turner 634)

© Lost Lansing 2015