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All posts for the month January, 2017

120-w-shia-175

You can see the a brick garage in the background

There are many interesting homes that have disappeared from the city of Lansing and the residence that once stood at 120 W. Shiawassee is no exception. As the banner on this website states “Lansing has never been very keen about preserving its old landmarks either public or private”. Which begs the question why? It is understandable in the early part of the 20th Century when the city was experiencing explosive growth. Today it is less clear, there is no growth only the shuffling of the deckchairs. Let’s get back on tract land take a look at the residence that once stood at 120 W. Shiawassee.

120-w-shia1942-175

Notice the odd placement of the chimney.

Built in 1874 the Greene home was an exceptional example of an Italianate in Lansing. The central copula with the five window pattern gives the home a symmetrical appearance, there are actually five windows on the second floor and five doors/windows on the first floor. The windows had open pediments and were framed by simple pattern. On the east side of the home there was a single story bay window, it is odd that the bay window was not two stories. The front porch is an impressive feature, it partially wraps around both sides of the home terminating at a door. One odd element of the house is the location of the chimney, it was located in front of the copula, not only was this dangerous because of the fumes entering the copula but it was hideously ugly.

George Henry Greene was born on Grosse Ile, Michigan on October 12, 1836 to Augustus Weeden and Julia Lucretia (née Baldwin) Greene. As a boy he lived in Raisinville, Michigan and later attending the Yates Academy, Orleans County, New York. After graduation George worked as a teacher for nine years in Monroe, Michigan, in 1863 he moved to Lansing to start a chair factory.[1] On April 8, 1862, George married Miss Julia Lucretia Baldwin, the couple had one child, Jennie B. Greene who died of consumption [Tuberculosis] a disease that would later take George’s life. By 1866 George had given up on the idea of being a chair manufacture and accepted a position with the Boy’s Reform School as an overseer of the cane shop. George’s talents were observed by his supervisors and he was promoted to the position of teacher and later offered the situation of assistant superintendent of the school. He later accepted a job with the Secretary of State’s Office then moved to Office the Auditor General where he rose to the position of Chief of a Division. George was active in the Masonic movement and was leader of several Masonic bodies. George was involved in the establishment of the Franklin Street Presbyterian Church and later he was a member of the Plymouth Congregational Church. Besides the Masons George’s other passion was history, specifically Michigan history. George was one of the founders of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, and served first as the corresponding secretary and then the recording secretary. On Saturday, June 24, 1899 George H. Greene passed away at his home at 7 pm from tuberculosis. (SR 6/26/1899)

George’s wife was born in Catskill, New York on October 13, 1835 to Goodrich and Dorcas (née Becker) Baldwin. When she was 13 her parents moved to Michigan and settled near Monroe where her father opened a brickworks. At the age of 27 Julia married George Henry Greene in Raisinville on April 8, 1862.The young couple moved to Lansing in 1863 where Julia plunged in the social and cultural scene of the city; she was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, the White Shrine of Jerusalem and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Julia Lucretia Greene passed away at her home on Saturday evening at 8pm on July 14, 1906 from heart disease. (LJ 7/16/1906 and SR 7/17/1906)

In 1874 the house at 120 W Shiawassee was built for the couple and fittingly both passed away at the home that was the center of their life. After Julia’s death the home remained vacant until 1912 when it was acquired by Le Roy E. Howard. During the Second World War the home was divided into apartments and remained as a chopped up apartment house until 1961 when it was torn down to facilitate the expansion of Lansing Community College.

[1] The Michigan State Gazetteer 1863-1864 lists a Thomas W. Green as owning a Chair Factory in Lower Town, there is no other listing for a chair factory in Lansing in the 1860s.

Coming next a long post on Barnes. You should know I shouldn’t have to tell you.

© Lost Lansing 2017