There is a bit of irony in the fact that Lansing, Michigan's Old Town might be the trendiest area in the city, and certainly the least frumpy! It's an area of the arts and they do it well.
So it's not surprising to see this splendid mural on the side of one if its older buildings. I'm happy to share it today with Mural Monday on Sami's Colourful World.
Titled "Maagwed Miijim: The One Who Provides," it is by artist Nani Chacon with Dylan Miner and Marsos DeJesus and was sponsored by MSU Women of Color Initiative in 2018.
Old Town is one of three "villages" in Lansing's early development. John W. Burchard was the settlement's earliest resident, building the first log cabin in Lansing in 1843.
The area was home to the city's first sawmill and a its location by the Grand River and its first bridge, financed by leading pioneer James Seymour, connected the area to places wast. Lansing's first school was built in Old Town as well.
For many years the area was a bit of a hub in the city, but it began a decline in the 20th century. When I was a child in the mid 1950s, my grandparents lived in the country north of Old Town, and the area was most convenient for my grandmother's shopping.
By then some of the spots I recall were Glass Pharmacy (where Mom and I would have a cherry phosphate at the counter while Grandma did her grocery marketing), Freddie's Donuts, Beeman's Market, a bank, the dime store (was it a Woolworths? I don't recall!), the Mustang and Unicorn bars and the Northtown movie theatre (where, according to my grandmother's journals, she and granpa enjoyed many movies).
Only the Unicorn remains. After a good deal of decline, the area fell into decay. Slowly, but very steadily, enthusiastic artists and small businesses, led in large part by the remarkable Robert Busby, and with the help of many grants, brought the area back to the status of being Lansing's crown jewel.
It is the place to be, with its galleries, shops, street art and annual festivals.
One of the things I missed most at Christmas was not being able to shop in Old Town's delightful stores. Yes, they were open. No, I didn't shop this year. Going to Old Town is one of the things I'm looking forward to visiting again after my vaccine.
We'll be visiting again here soon!