Lansing Model Railroad Club
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Michigan Avenue (MA) Tower Preservation Project
MA tower has arrived!
Update: October 18, 2016: The tower has received a new roof thanks to LMRC members Kevin Griffin, John Hartmann, Mike Frezell, Tim Childs, Marvin Stewart, and Ron St.Laurent. Member Jeremy Brown has located and is refinishing a door and fabricating a frame for the lower level and design work is under way for an exterior stairway.
Update: September 23, 2016: MA tower has been sucessfully moved to the club property and placed on the prepared foundation.
LMRC would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their help in making this project happen:
City of Lansing
Parks and Recreation Department
MA Tower move:
CMTE 1 crew of St. Johns
Hi-Ball Crane Co. of Laingsburg
Jeff's Bobcat Service of Battle Creek
Architectural drawings and other services:
Update: September 13, 2016: The first phase of the tower move is imminent. Watch this page or our facebook page for more info.
Update: July 8, 2016: Thanks to generous donations by many individuals and businesses the MA tower move in rapidly becoming a reality. We have secured a building permit and a contractor and have scheduled the site prep work to start in late July. We hope to have the tower moved and on-site by the end of August!
Help us save an important piece of local railroad history from the wrecking ball! The Lansing Model Railroad Club (LMRC) is requesting financial assistance for the preservation of a historic, former railroad structure located in Lansing, Michigan’s Old Town district. Currently in run-down condition, “MA (Michigan Avenue) Tower” is a two-story structure sitting in a parking lot on city of Lansing property. The lower-level doors and windows are boarded up due to vandalism and vagrants trying to take refuge. One second story window is broken allowing weather, animals, and insects inside.
Recently, the LMRC approached city officials about donating the structure to the club and they subsequently agreed. An agreement was reached to move the tower to LMRC property and clean-up the site where the tower is sitting. The city has no plans for this structure and will demolish it if no other use is found.
LMRC’s goal is to move the structure from Old Town to their site at 5309 Old Lansing Road, Lansing, MI. 48917 (Delta Township) in 2016. Once on the property, the LMRC envisions MA Tower to be used as a living history artifact, where model trains are actually dispatched from the tower. It also will be used to control full-size, way-side train signal exhibits.
The MA Tower Preservation Project will require necessary funds to perform the following tasks:
Move the tower approximately 8 miles across Lansing
Build a concrete pad and sidewalk
Install steps to the second floor
Repair and/or replace the siding
Repair and/or replace the windows
Renovate the interior
Restore interior desks and other artifacts
Install utilities, communications, computers, and other equipment
Erect railroad way-side signals
Most of the work will be performed by LMRC volunteer members. Paid professionals will be used to move the tower, pour concrete, and perform other specialized work.
Once located on Michigan Avenue next to Lansing Union Station (the late, lamented Clara’s Restaurant), MA Tower used to control the junction between the Michigan Central and the Pere Marquette railroads. It also controlled the Michigan Avenue railroad crossing gates prior to automation. In 1986, Conrail retired the tower and it was moved to Old Town that same year by a now defunct electric railway museum. Very few of these towers have been preserved across the United States and this is the only remaining one in the Lansing area.
Established in 1953, the Lansing Model Railroad Club is an all volunteer organization of modest means that operates and maintains a large model railroad layout in the former Grand Trunk Western Millett depot. Moving MA Tower to the LMRC property will help preserve this historic structure and complement the Millett depot for all to enjoy. Rising attendance at the club’s free open house events demonstrates the public’s deep interest in preserving railroad history and love of trains.
The Lansing Model Railroad Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Donations are tax deductible per Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements.
Your generous donation will help make this important project become a reality. Any extra funds will be used towards the preservation of the Millett depot. Thank you for your support!