The first recorded person of European descent to spot the area that is now Lansing was explorer Hugh Howard in 1790 while canoeing the Grand River.The land that was to become Lansing was surveyed as “Township 4 North Range 2 West” in February 1827 in what was then dense forest. It was the last of the county’s townships to be surveyed.
A group of 16 men bought plots in the nonexistent city and upon reaching the area later that year found they had been scammed. Many in the group, too disappointed to stay, ended up settling around what is now Metropolitan Lansing. Those who stayed quickly renamed the area “Lansing Township” in honor of their home village in New York.