Fun Fact

McDonald's in Lansing - September, 1957

Black and white photo of an old McDonald's restaurant.
2007 marks the 50th anniversary of McDonald's Restaurants in Michigan. This photo shows the first McDonald's in the state and one of the first anywhere! Ray Kroc, the legendary founder of McDonald's, opened his first store in Des Plaines, Illinois only a year earlier (the original McDonald Brothers stand in San Bernadino, California was a small octagonal building without the arches which bore little resemblance to the famous design.)

Lansing's prominent place in McDonald's history is a happy accident of locker room banter. Among the first to learn of Ray Kroc's new venture were his golfing buddies in suburban Chicago. One of these, Max Hagen, had a son-in-law working a tough, hardware sales beat in Michigan. Ed MacLuckie (how's that for a natural McDonald's name?) answered the call to burger flipping and prepared for his own franchise in Lansing by becoming the first manager of the original Des Plaines restaurant.

MacLuckie, attracted to the North Larch Street site, approached a hardware contact - Glen Dean of Dean Hardware, ward councilman for the area. Dean referred him to 25-year-old Bruce Maguire, Jr. at Wolverine Development. Maguire travelled to Des Plaines to visit this "miracle" store and to meet with Ray Kroc to learn first-hand of his revolutionary concept. A deal was struck to build the first of what would become five McDonald's in Lansing and East Lansing developed and owned by Wolverine (all personally approved by Kroc.) Ed MacLuckie and Max Hagen operated these original 5 restaurants under a franchise agreement.

Kroc was a hands-on entrepreneur and worked closely with Maguire and his father, Bruce Maguire, Sr. Even as his empire expanded around the world, Kroc maintained contact with his associates from these heady, early years (not early for him-he was 52 when he started McDonald's.) A lifelong fanatic on cleanliness and service, Kroc never outgrew his practice of beginning every store tour by walking the grounds to pick up trash.

This Larch Street site was followed quickly by the East Grand River Avenue location adjacent to M.S.U.'s campus. As with Larch, this East Lansing store was an instant success-becoming number one in the nation in sales. One of the first in the world, this East Lansing store was, ironically, among the last to convert from the old design-retaining the Golden Arches until 1979!