Ranney Building, 208 South Washington Avenue

The Ranney Building was constructed in 1890 on Block 115 of the Original Plant of the City of Lansing. In 1883, with his purchase of Lot 17, Dr. George E Ranney became the first private landholder there, opening a doctor’s office. He constructed the present three-story red sandstone building on that lot in 1890. The site was dedicated to doctors’ offices for nearly 50 years, doctors who were involved in local, state, regional, and national advances in medicine and public health. The Ranney Building exemplifies the Characteristics of the late 19th-Century American Romanesque style. The Ranney Building is in Lake Superior red sandstone, and is an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. Many of the building’s distinctive features have survived to the present day.

Dr. Ranney (1839-1915) came to Lansing in 1866, already, at 27 years old, a Civil War hero, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor as a surgeon with the Second Michigan Cavalry. Dr. He saw action as a surgeon at Atlanta, Chickamauga and other battles. He treated survivors of the Confederacy’s infamous Andersonville Prison. He came to Michigan in 1866. He was instrumental in the field of public health, including documenting the associations of bad water with typhoid fever, a major breakthrough for public health. He was a founder of the Michigan State Medical Society. Dr. Ranney served as medical director of City Hospital, organized by Edward W Sparrow, his brother-in-law. He died in 1915, having just days earlier bequeathed what is now Ranney Park to the City of Lansing.

Ranney Building Study Committee Final Report (PDF)