Marshall, Michigan – The State Capitol That Never Was
But when plans were put in place to move the Capitol from Detroit in 1847, it wasn't Lansing that was the favorite city... it was actually Marshall!
Population 6,822, in central Calhoun County, Marshall IS the county seat, but aside from that... pretty inconspicuous, but very progressive through history!
In the 1840s, Marshall was a pivotal city in Michigan to Stand Against Slavery. Two Marshall Citizens - Rev. John D. Pierce and lawyer Isaac E. Crary - were behind creating the Michigan School system, which is still established today as part of the State Constitution. The first Railroad Labor Union in the Country - The Brotherhood of the Footboard - was formed in Marshall.
All the pieces were lining up for Marshall as one of the faster-progressing cities in the western part of Michigan.
Moving the Capitol
In 1847, the State of Michigan announced it wanted to move the State Capitol out of Detroit to better develop the state's western portion, and for better defense from British Troops stationed in Windsor, Ontario.
So Contenders started seeking a new location, which included Ann Arbor, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Shiawasee Township, and Marshall.
Given its progressiveness in the west, it seemed like Marshall might make for the best landing spot, and was heavily favored. In fact, they were SO confident they were going to win the State Seat, that they went ahead and built a Governor's Mansion.
And the winner is...
Sadly, no Michigan Governor ever stayed there, because, in the final hour of debating, then-State Senator Joseph H. Kilbourne proposed the nearly uninhabited area of Ingrahm County called Lansing. The legislature agreed, and by a difference of ONE VOTE... that was the end of Marshall's shot at glory.
But at one time, Marshall was a bustling center of western Michigan, and some might say, it still is. So next time you're in Marshall, stop by Dark Horse Brewing and raise a glass to the Capitol that never was.