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Introduction

Origins

The City

Collegeville (1887, 1895)
College Delta (1898, 1899)
Oakwood (1899)
Cedar Banks (1900)
College Grove (1903)
Fairview (1904, 1905)
College Heights (1904)

Charter of 1907

Avondale (1913)
Bungalow Knolls (1916)
Chesterfield Hills (1916)
Ardson (1919)
Ridgeley Park (1921)
Strathmore (1925)
Glen Cairn (1926)

The Campus

Chronology

1855–1870
1871–1885
1886–1900
1901–1915
1916–1927

 

Interactive Map

Sites on the National and State Historic Registers

Complete list of
Significant Structures

Sources

The Baker Family

In the late 19th and early 20th century, at least three generations of the Baker family were an integral part of the Agricultural College and East Lansing history. Many Bakers were graduates of the College and a large percentage of them achieved national prominence in their professions.

The story begins with Lieutenant Luther Byron Baker and his brother, Major Joseph Stannard Baker, who both served in the United States Secret Service during the Civil War. The service was, at the time, headed by their first cousin General Lafayette C. Baker. These three Bakers seem predestined to play a role in American history, for they had as their paternal great grandfather Remember Baker, captain in the Green Mountain Boys, whose commanding officer—and no less than first cousin—was Ethan Allen.

Lafayette Baker led the group responsible for tracking down President Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, and all three Bakers joined the cavalry detachment in the hunt. On April 26, 1865, it was Lt. Luther Baker who held a mortally wounded Booth in his arms as the killer uttered his last words. This moment of historical chance was something Luther was able to parlay into a modicum of minor celebrity for the rest of his life.


Luther B. Baker astride Buckskin, whom he rode during the pursuit of J. Wilkes Booth, standing before the steps of the Capitol, date unknown. The duo were a popular fixture of Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades in Lansing for many years after. When “Old Buck” died the horse was stuffed and mounted, and put on display at the M.A.C. Museum.

The two brothers Luther and Joseph came to Lansing “at the close of the Civil War,” and both were married in 1868.

Luther Byron Baker married Helen M. Davis, a native of Massachusetts, and the couple had four children:

Joseph Stannard Baker married Alice Potter and they had three children before relocating their family to St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, where they raised three more. Taken as a whole, this is an impressive group:


Ray Stannard Baker, date unknown.

After the death of Alice Potter Baker in 1883, Joseph Baker remarried and had four more children by his second wife, Mary Brown. They all attended Carleton College in Minnesota.

According to one secondhand source, “In 1941, Baker Woodlot, which had originally been called South Woodlot [and later Farm Lane Woodlot], received its name to honor two brothers who attended the university, James Fred Baker and Henry Lee Baker (Beach and Stevens 1979).”MSU Fisheries and Wildlife Dept. However, Henry Lee is not included by multiple sources regarding the ten children of Joseph Stannard Baker, and therefore is unlikely to have been the brother of J. Fred. Henry Lee Baker graduated from M.A.C. in 1911 and was important in forestry (particularly for Florida, where he served as the first Director of that state’s Forest Service), but is not confirmed to be of the same Baker family.[M.A.C. Record 4 Jan 18, p. 7]