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All posts for the month July, 2016

108 E Allegan 100_edited-1

The Allegan Street side of the Wilson/Busch Building

On April 1, 1909 construction began on the new Wilson Building which was located on the south-east corner of Allegan Street and Washington Avenue. The structure was original three stories tall and completed in less than 5 months with the first occupants being John S. Wilson and Alex Andros who opened the BZB restaurant. The building was expanded in July of 1916 when two stories were added to the existing building and a five story extension was completed across the back.

The building was acquired in 1946 by Alfred A. Busch, Vice President of Busch Company, with Marston G. Busch was President. It is unclear if the building was owned by the business or the individual. The firm specialized in Jewelry and Optometry. Kind of an odd combination. The building’s dimensions were 22 feet on Washington Avenue and 99 feet on Allegan Street resulting in a long narrow building. In 1949 the tenants of the building were the Michigan Cab Company Dispatch office on the First Floor. On the second floor, office 201, W. Kendall Meade, Dentist; 205, William J.B. Hicks, Dentist; 206, William R. Lesher Company, Investments; 207-208, Kenney Brothers Real Estate and Insurance, Lucien B. Smith Agent; 300-308, Clyde Smith, McKnight and Lyman Insurance Agency; 307, National Fire Insurance Company; 310, Style Beauty Salon; 401, Sonotone of Lansing Hearing Aids and Mar-Vel Shop Dressmakers; 405, Merle Norman; 407-408, Michigan State Chiropractic Society; 409, Orlie, J. Munson, Architect and Garlock & Howland Architects; 501, H. Donald Bruce, lawyer; 503, Fidelity Life Insurance Company,; 506, CC Ludwig Real Estate and Harry F. Hittle, Lawyer; 508, Charles G. Loepke, Tailor;510 Hollywood Beauty Shop; and 511, Busch Company Workroom. From all accounts the Busch family was devoted to Lansing, with Marston maintain a home here until his death in October 1988, while Alfred passed away in Metro-Detroit in October 1961.

 

201 S Washington 100_edited-1

The facade of the Busch building which demonstrates how ugly certain architectural modifications are. You can almost hear the conversation, “Hey Steve does this look good? Sure George it looks great.” Reaffirming a bad modification so not make it good. 

The Wilson/Busch building was torn down in June of 1965, well part of it was, 201 S. Washington fell to the wrecking ball, while the little five story addition that John Wilson added to the rear of 201 S. Washington still stands today, take a look at the building, the address is 110 E. Allegan. The building is described as little because it had a 22-foot frontage on Allegan and only went back 60 feet, the building is so narrow I am not sure it contains an elevator. A pretty nice looking building, kind of a shame its mate was torn down. (LSJ 9/1/1946 and LSJ 6/17/1975)

201 S Washington_edited-1

Ok trust me there is a Chase Bank at 201 S. Washington not a Bank 1, its an old image.

The building was replaced with a modern style structure that was designed for the First State Savings Association of East Lansing. The cost of the building was $260,000 in 1975. The new building was two stories in height, with a glass front and a work area, two conference rooms, an employee lounge, private offices and was 5,070 square feet. First State Savings Association of East Lansing was established in East Lansing on January 1, 1919 later through a series of mergers became part of the Great Lakes Bancorp the rest of its history is so convoluted that you would need an attorney to figure it out. All that can be said is that a Chase Bank is currently on the site and that First State Savings Association of East Lansing is now part of the TCF National Bank of Arizona. You have to love the United States banking system. (LSJ 6/20/1975 and usbanklocations.com)

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