319 S. Capitol, Lansing, MI
This image of an armory which appeared in Lansing Illustrated 1890 has always perplexed me, just where was it located? I assumed it was the old armory on the campus of the Michigan Agricultural College. It is not, the configuration and the placement of the window was all wrong. So where was it located? It turns out this was at 319 S. Capitol. It served as the home of Company E., First Regiment Michigan’s State Troops. The building was torn down in the 1930s, and had an interesting history. The structure was originally constructed as a roller rink when the roller-skating craze swept the country in the 1880s. The building was later leased to the State Military Department and known as the Armory Building. Company E moved to the armory at 319 S. Capitol then to Governor’s Guard Armory at 115 E. Ottawa in 1900. In 1902 the Bates Company was formed and began to manufacture the Bates Automobile in the old armory building. After building about 25 automobiles the company failed and the old armory became the New Auditorium Roller Rink in 1906. In 1905 Battery A., First Field Artillery was formed and found a home in the old armory building in 1907-1908 where it remained until the construction of the new armory on Marshall Street in 1924.
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