Marshall Street Armory, 330 Marshall Street

The reorganization of the Michigan National Guard started in 1920 created the 32nd Division, and the Lansing unit was designated the 119th Field Artillery. It received federal recognition in February 1922, was designated as horse-drawn 75 mm, and was made up of all of the previous Lansing units and others. Even though money was appropriated in 1917, the new riding hall for the 119th Field Artillery was not constructed until 1922. The delay presumably resulted from World War I and post-war recruitment and reorganization. Designed by state architect Lynn W Fry, the large brick and glass structure had a large open riding floor and storage for equipment. It was located north of the present day armory, but was demolished circa 2000. In 1924 the present armory building was constructed on the property. Also designed by Lynn W. Fry, the two-story brick building contained a drill hall, storage, and offices for the unit as well as room for recreation and social gatherings, including an officer’s club. The armory was built during a seventeen year period when Michigan constructed ten armories around the state. At least five of these ten armories were designed by Fry.

During peacetime in the 1920s and 1930s the Lansing armory was used for weddings, boxing matches and community gatherings. It filled a typical role of armories in smaller Michigan communities. The drill hall was large enough to accommodate large groups of people, and the facilities were often rented out. This tradition continued at the Lansing armory at least through 1995 when the Michigan Antique Radio Club leased the facility for swap meets.

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