Michigan State Police Headquarters Complex

Demolished
714 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing, Michigan

Campus of buildings housing Michigan State Police Headquarters

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Photo taken by Nathan Holth

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Description 

The two major buildings were Mapes Hall (1929) and the Administration Building (1932). This was a listed Michigan State Historic Site.

Information From Michigan Historic Sites Online 

From Michigan Historic Sites Online

NARRATIVE DESCRIPTION

The Michigan State Police Headquarters Complex is located on a sixteen-acre parcel of land on Harrison Road in East Lansing, the western edge of the Michigan State University campus. The complex contains twenty-three buildings including: the Administration Building, Mapes Hall (the data center), Internal Affairs, Recruiting Offices, the Communications Division Building, the Operations Building and East Lansing Lab, the Headquarters Garage (Carpenter Shop), the Quartermaster's Warehouse, the Criminal Investigation Division Building, the DNA Lab, the Technical Services Building, a Warehouse, the Maintenance Storage Barn and ten quonset huts that are used for storage and to house Special Operations teams. The focal points of the compound are Mapes Hall and the Administration Building fronting on Harrison Road. Built over a five-year period these buildings complement each other architecturally, reflecting simplicity and order. The Communications Division Building, the Operations Building and the Headquarters Garage, located west of Mapes Hall, reflect an attempt to carry on the architectural scheme present in the first two structures. It is these five buildings, plus the Maintenance Storage Barn and ten quonset huts located on the far western edge of the compound that are contributing structures.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE

The Michigan State Police Headquarters Complex has been the home of this institution since 1917. It reflects the state police's expanding role and changing needs over the years. The complex's buildings reflect institutional architecture of the 1920s and 1930s. Some were constructed with Works Progress Administration (WPA) assistance. The Michigan State Police began as a controversial institution. In 1917 as the United States entered World War I, some leading politicians felt the need to protect the Michigan home front. Governor Albert E. Sleeper drafted legislation creating the Michigan Troops. The Michigan State Police struggled for political and public support from its inception in 1917 under its first commanding officer, Colonel Roy C. Vandercook. It did not become secure until a 1935 reorganization. The original headquarter compound consisted of a headquarters building (offices), officer/family barracks, trooper barracks, mess halls, a barn, stables, a corral and parade grounds. In 1924 land to the south of the existing ninety-acre tract was leased from Michigan State College to the Michigan State Troops so Mapes Hall, a more permanent administrative office building, could be built. The State Police Act, Public Act 59 of 1935, secured the department's future. The act reorganized the Department of Public Safety as the Department of Michigan State Police. The commissioner gained protection from political pressures; appointed by the governor, he could only be removed by the state supreme court. Troopers, now under the protection of state civil service, gained pensions for the first time.

MARKER TEXT: Michigan State Police / Michigan State Police Headquarters

MICHIGAN STATE POLICE When the United States declared war against Germany in 1917, the Michigan National Guard was called to federal service. Governor Albert Sleeper feared German agents and radical labor groups would disrupt war production and initiated the legislation that allowed him to assemble the Michigan State Troops. Known also as the Michigan Cavalry or Michigan Constabulary, the troops headquartered in East Lansing under the command of Colonel Roy C. Vandercook. Reorganized as a peacetime force after the war, the state police went from horseback to motorcycles and patrol cars in the 1920s. After eighteen years, the "temporary" Michigan State Police became permanent under legislation passed in 1935.
MICHIGAN STATE POLICE HEADQUARTERS In 1917 the Michigan State Troops established its headquarters on a site north of here, owned by Michigan Agricultural College (MAC), present-day Michigan State University. The original compound included a barn, offices, barracks, mess halls, stables, a corral and parade grounds. Three hundred troops constructed the buildings, provided by the St. Johns Portable Building Company. In 1929 Mapes Hall, named for Corporal Samuel Mapes who was killed by a bootlegger two years earlier, opened as an office building and barracks on the present site. In 1932 the Administration Building was completed, and head-quarters operations were centralized. During the 1930s the Works Progress Administration funded construction of additional buildings on the compound.

Update Log 

  • May 8, 2012: Essay added by Nathan Holth