Michigan State University was founded in 1855 and was built in the area we now know as East Lansing. For the first 40 years, the students and faculty primarily lived on campus. The first houses that would eventually make up the city of East Lansing were known as "Faculty Row" and built on MSU’s campus in the 1850s.
In 1887, Collegeville was created and located on present-day Harrison Road, Center, and Beal Streets just north of Michigan Ave. It wasn’t until 1907 that the city of East Lansing was actually incorporated. Fun fact: East Lansing was actually a "dry" city from its inception in 1907 until the city charter was modified in 1968.
The city has come a long way since 1907 and is now eight times larger. The downtown area has been redeveloped over the years, and the population density has increased dramatically. The downtown area of East Lansing is centered around Grand River Avenue, where you can find restaurants, bars, coffee shops, bookstores, and even a Target.
The city has a unique mix of residents with students and faculty of Michigan State University making up the large majority of the population. In some neighborhoods, you can find fraternity and sorority houses on one block and families with children on the next.