A piece of Morenci history lies embedded in a Lansing sidewalk as part of a historical renovation project.
Morenci’s Buck & Kellogg Mill was torn down in 1975, but sometime before that, a millstone was transported to Lansing to become part of a collection owned by Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. Founded in 1881, the company was among the first in the nation to offer fire insurance to millers.
Morenci’s mill was built at the north end of Mill Street in 1866 for use as a woolen mill. Charles Buck and Frank Kellogg leased the business in 1889, four years after it was converted to a flour mill.
The owners’ sons, Arthur Buck and C. Ray Kellogg, took over ownership in 1921 and continued the mill operation until 1952 when it was converted to a feed mill, owned by Stanley Russell.
Eventually the property was sold to the Parker Company and the mill was demolished in 1975.
Move ahead 32 years to a renovation project in downtown Lansing. Morenci native Jim Harper served as an electrician at the site and spotted a plaque that mentioned his home town.
He learned the millstones displayed in front of the building were collected from seven Michigan communities, including Morenci.
The renovated building was constructed in 1925—at least the first three floors were finished at that time. Two additional floors were added in 1928 when the Art Deco style structure became the home of Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance.
The company moved its offices to a new location in 1956 and the old building on Capitol Avenue fell into disrepair.
That changed when the Lansing-based construction management firm, the Christman Company, announced plans to renovate the historic structure. About 20 percent of Christman’s business involves renovation projects, so it was only fitting that the company chose to rehabilitate a stately old building for its own offices.