The paper was started as the Lansing Republican on April 28, 1855, to advance the causes of the newly founded Republican Party in Michigan. Founder and publisher Henry Barnes completed only two issues of the weekly abolitionist publication before selling it and returning to Detroit.
According to the Pioneer History of Ingham County, "In a few weeks, Barnes sold his interests to Herman E. Haskill. Shortly after Haskill made this purchase he met with a great disappointment. He was not appointed State Printer. Two men, Fitch and Hosmer, got the appointment, and Haskill sold his interests to them, and they published the paper in connection with the State printing. In 1857 Fitch sold his interests to John A. Kerr, and the firm’s name was changed to Kerr & Hosmer. I can remember the two men and the old red building on West Michigan Avenue where the State printing and binding was done, and this paper was published. It had a long sign on the roof that informed the passerby that it was the State Bindery and Republican Office."
Over the next 50 years, the paper saw many name changes and many different owners, finally merging with the rival Lansing Journal forming The State Journal in January 1911. Gannett bought the paper in 1971, and it became the Lansing State Journal on August 25, 1980. On April 15, 1985, it became a morning publication, rather than an afternoon one.
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