Old Newspapers Reveal More of the Comfort Station History

If you are a regular reader of the MHPN blog – and I hope you are – you know that the Old Town Lansing Comfort Station was in place by 1915 as the North Side Rest Room.  If you missed that blog, you can catch up by clicking here.

Old Town Lansing Comfort Station in 2011

Thanks to Mary Toshach’s continued research, we know even more about the building now.  In October 1914, a newspaper article in the State Journal reported that the St Johns fair had opened with once again the need to have a waiting room on the north side for passengers on the MUT (Michigan United Transit) St Johns – Lansing line.  The article continued,

Farmers are particularly anxious that the company establish some sort of a waiting room at the north side as the coming of fall with cold unsettled weather is again looked upon with dread by persons compelled to use the line for getting in and out of Lansing.

Apparently there had been repeated requests for just such a facility, but the MUT felt that it had fulfilled this need by providing a waiting room on East Michigan Avenue.  They also advised that there were “cigar stores or other places of business” that could be utilized by waiting passengers.  The passengers countered that once these businesses were closed they were compelled to wait in the open air – “especially inconvenient and uncomfortable for women with children or older persons.”

Just a few days later, the newspaper once again reported on the need for the waiting room facility.  At that time, City Engineer H. A. Sparks and Fire Chief Delfs looked over the property that had been purchased by the city, with the intention of “getting plans in readiness for preliminary work to begin the following week.” Then, on October 10, 1914, came the announcement that “ground for the contemplated rest house on East Franklin Avenue (now East Grand River Avenue) near Lake Shore tracks was broken Saturday morning for the foundation.  Work on the building will be rushed.”  Two months later, on January 15, 1915, the paper reported that “Work on the construction of the East Franklin Avenue rest house is nearing completion.  The heating apparatus will be installed next week and the following it will be ready to open.”

There is more to find on the building and I promise we will keep the information coming.  Meanwhile, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network needs your help.  If you haven’t voted in support of our effort to win the National Trust for Historic Preservation This Place Matters Community Challenge, voting ends at 5 pm on Thursday, June 30th You can vote by following this link.

Of course, it you want to be sure we come out ahead financially, you can always make your own donation directly to MHPN.  To donate to MHPN, please follow this link.

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