Michigan's First Capitol
At noon on September 22, 1823, citizens and dignitaries joined a Masonic procession to place the cornerstone for the capitol of the Michigan Territory on this site. The red brick building, designed by Obed Walt, had "a lofty Portico, consisting of six columns of the Ionic order" and a 140-foot tower. The Legislative Council opened its first session in the completed building on May 5, 1828. Here Michigan's leaders fought for statehood and drafted their first constitution. Though Michigan did not formally achieve statehood until January 26, 1837, it inaugurated Stevens T. Mason as its first state governor on November 3, 1835, and the building became Michigan's first state capitol.
Capitol Union School
Michigan made Lansing its capital city in 1847. The next year the Detroit School Board turned the building on this site that had served as Michigan's first capitol into classrooms. The high school, which the city started with twenty-three male students in 1858, moved to the second floor of what was by then called Capitol Union School in 1863. In 1870, the board added four rooms onto the back of the building. Part of the addition briefly housed the public library. In 1875, the front of the old capitol disappeared behind a three-story addition and a mansard roof. The board already had plans to build Central High School on Cass Avenue when before dawn on January 27, 1893, fire consumed Capitol Union School.