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




Interactive Map

Sites on the National and State Historic Registers

Complete list of
Significant Structures


College Grove (1903)

Map by the author, based on Newman, 1915.

The first land east of the township line to be converted into subdivision plats was the Parmalee farm, which fronted on Grand River Avenue and extended north to the section line, now Burcham Drive, and from Abbot Road east to near the present Bailey Street. Horace B. and Clara E. Angell purchased the farm in May, 1901. They soon copartnered in the venture with Charles H. Chase, a friend since boyhood of Horace’s who owned and published a newspaper in Ithaca. On May 8, 1903, the Angells platted a southwest portion of the farm into “College Grove.” Chase was not listed in the plat documents.[Chase v. Angell, 148 Mich 1 (1907)]

College Grove “offered the first opportunity for the development of a business district.” The promoters provided the plat with water and sewer service, making it the first with community systems independent of the College. “A six-inch rock well near M.A.C. Avenue on the alley between Grand River Avenue and Albert Street supplied the water… until the city water supply was installed. Sewage… was conducted to a large septic tank near the alley on Charles Street between Albert Avenue and Grand River Avenue, [and from there to] an underground drain crossing the campus to the [Red] Cedar River.”[Towar, p. 47]

Albert Street was named for Angell’s father, and Anna Street (later shortened to “Ann”) for his and Clara’s daughter; Charles and Elizabeth Streets were named for Chase and his wife. The east side of Abbot Road was called Wildwood Avenue in the plat, but that name only lasted until the city was chartered. Grand River Avenue was named “The Elms” along the south side of the plat, in honor of the double row of elms across the way.[Towar, pp. 95–96]

The Chase Block, c. 1909. The College Cafe occupies the storefront on the right. Photo Credit: M.S.U. Archives. Reprinted in Kestenbaum, p. 12.

The first commercial building in College Grove was the two-story, two-storefront Chase Block, built by Charles Chase in 1903–1904 on Grand River Avenue, one lot east of Abbot Road. Its initial businesses (a grocery and an ice cream parlor) quickly failed, but the successful College Cafe was soon opened by Edd Hicks. A. C. Bauer opened the College Drug Store in the adjacent space in 1908, and bought out the College Cafe in 1911. (“College Drug” was a popular student hangout and eatery for several decades afterward.) Around that same time, Chase built a one-story addition at the corner of Abbot and Grand River, abutting both the original Chase Block to the east and East Lansing’s first theatre, the Elmac, to the north. Charles and Elizabeth Chase lived in an apartment on the second floor of the Chase Block until his death in 1931. The entire building was razed in 1939 and replaced with the Goodspeed Building, which remains (as does the former Elmac theatre building).[Towar, pp. 46–47. Miller, pp. 25, 69. Kestenbaum, p. 12.]

Chase Block from the southwest, c. 1919. The sign for the College Drug Store is at right. The marquee for the Elmac Theatre is partly visible at the left edge of the photo; its building now houses P. T. O’Malley’s bar and grill. Photo Credit: East Lansing Public Library. Reprinted in Miller, p. 25.

The area west of Grove Street and north of Albert Avenue was originally a native woods and was intended for use as a public park, but following a legal dispute between Angell and Chase in 1907 that went all the way to the state Supreme Court, Angell acquired the wood lot and platted it “into large lots facing Abbot and Grove and running back to the middle of the wooded area. Failing to attract buyers, [he] replatted [it] into its present form,” clearing the timber for lumber. Park Lane is a reminder of what briefly existed here. The settlement, which divided the unsold lots of College Grove evenly between Angell and Chase, also created a patchwork of large parcels in the unplatted areas that remained of the former Parmalee farm. This provided a framework for the streets and lots that were later platted, including the appropriately named Division Street.[Towar, p. 47. Kestenbaum, p. 13.]

E. J. Rugg House, 319 Grove St. (1903)
C. D. Woodbury Mansion, 415 M.A.C. Ave. (1903) SR
C. M. Dickson House, 505 Albert St. (1909)
A. B. Krentel House, 709 Grove St. (c. 1910)
H. A. Childs House, 343 M.A.C. Ave. (1911)
Orvil J. Ayrs House, 320 M.A.C. Ave. (1915)
Harry Harvey House, 527 Elizabeth St. (1915)
Masonic Temple, 314 M.A.C. Ave. (1916) NR
Taft House, 446 Grove St. (c. 1918)
Linda E. Landon House, 447 Grove St. (c. 1918)
Newell A. McCune House, 504 Abbot Rd. (c. 1920)
H. K. Vedder House, 447 Charles St. (1922)
Faculty Row № 9, 217 Beech St. (1884)
Gov. Wilber M. Brucker House, 619 M.A.C. Ave. (c. 1925 – c. 1999)
Sanford Farness House, 730 Grove St. (1964)

Next: Fairview

The Holy Earth

by Liberty Hyde Bailey