February 23, 2014 at 1:00 am

'Lansing Votes' exhibit highlights key decisions in city's history

In a photo from Feb. 12, a new Lansing Votes history exhibit from the Historical Society of Greater Lansing is shown in the lobby of city hall in Lansing. The exhibit highlights six votes the society said stand out in Lansing's history. Among them: The city being approved as the state capital in 1847 by the Michigan House of Representatives. (Greg DeRuiter / AP)

Lansing— For Valerie Marvin, president of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing, the Lansing Votes exhibit is more than just words and historic memorabilia.

“As citizens, we need to be engaged in the community, to make sure that the things that are coming about are things that are important to us,” she said.

The exhibit in the atrium of city hall, which opened earlier this month, highlights six votes the society said stand out in Lansing’s history. Among them: The city being approved as the state capital in 1847 by the Michigan House of Representatives.

“(The exhibit) reminds people how important is it to participate in our city and our elections,” Marvin said.

The exhibit also features a booth commemorating Carl Morlok, who was appointed city constable in 1930 before being elected to the position in 1931.

Morlok was father of the world’s first known identical quadruplets, Marvin said. Morlok, who was working part-time, and his wife, Sarah, could not support four children. The city offered them a home rent-free for a year and a local dairy store provided them with milk for several months.

That’s when Lansing Mayor Laird Troyer appointed Morlok to the city’s vacant constable position after hearing of the family’s financial hard times.

Morlok held the position for 16 years.

“The city always really supported them,” Marvin said.

Other key votes in Lansing’s history, according to the exhibit:

— Approval of financial package in 1998-99 to persuade General Motors Corp. to remain in Lansing and open what would become the Lansing Regional Stamping facility and the Lansing Delta Township and Lansing Grand River assembly plants.

— A vote to build the River Trail in the mid-1970s.

— The election in the 1940s of Mayor Ralph Crego, who helped modernize the city with projects that included the current city hall and the Lansing Civic Center.

— Approval for a Carnegie Library in 1902.