Ward Division History

Lansing has a complicated ward division history. The city was originally divided into four wards. Sometime before 1900 that number became six, and in about 1917 the city was again divided, into eight wards. A charter revision commission was formed in the 1950s to look at updating the city’s charter. The proposal included a new division into four wards with the lines being St. Joseph Street (now essentially, I-496) and Washington Avenue, and it went into effect on January 1, 1956. That year, no municipal elections were held. The last of the major property annexations into the city happened in 1958, adding a great deal on the northwest and southwest sides of town.
For the purposes of understanding our current ward history, we’re going to assume the ward divisions have been about the same since the earliest days. The only exception is parts of the city that were annexed in mid-20th century, which would have been mainly rural undeveloped areas for Lansing’s first 100 years.

Compiled by Heidi Butler, Local History Specialist, Capital Area District Library Downtown Branch

Sources:

Bowman, Timothy. City Council Members Project. 2013. Research Collections, Forest Parke Library and Archives, Capital Area District Libraries.

Caterino, David. 6 Wards in Use, 1900-1916 [map]. N.D. Subject Files, Forest Parke Library and Archives, Capital Area District Libraries.

Caterino, David. “8 Wards in Use, 1917- [map].” N.D. N.D. Subject Files, Forest Parke Library and Archives, Capital Area District Libraries.

City Clerk’s Office. “Lansing Annexations to 1958 [map].” 1958. N.D. Subject Files, Forest Parke Library and Archives, Capital Area District Libraries.

City of Lansing. Proposed City Charter. 1955.

City of Lansing. “Ward, Precinct, and Poll Map.” 2015. PDF file. https://www.lansingmi.gov/DocumentCenter/View/187