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The boundaries of the original city were Douglas Avenue to the north, Wood and Regent streets to the east, Mount Hope Avenue to the south, and Jenison Avenue to the west. Lansing began to grow steadily over the next two decades with the completion of the railroads through the city, a plank road, and the completion of the current capitol building in 1878.

Most of what is known as Lansing today is the result of the city becoming an industrial powerhouse which began with the founding of Olds Motor Vehicle Company in August 1897.

This figure includes two 425 Agreements with Alaiedon Township and Meridian Township, and the four 425 Agreements with Delta Township since 2000.

Since the 2010 Census, the city has entered into two additional 425 Agreements.

The first agreement consisted of the temporary transfer of 1,888.2 acres of Lansing Capital Region International Airport to the city from De Witt Township in 2011.

The second agreement consisted of the temporary transfer of 41 acres (17 ha) in Alaiedon Township for the expansion of the headquarters of Jackson National Life Insurance Company in 2013 bringing the area either fully or conditionally under control of the city to 39.69 square miles (102.80 km Under Michigan law, 425 Agreements are only temporary land sharing agreements, and do not count as official annexations.

The city occupies most of what had formerly been part of Lansing Charter Township.On September 26, 1963, a 12-year-old, 3,000-pound female dancing elephant named Rajje (alternately reported as Raji and Little Rajjee, among other variations) rebelled against her trainer during a performance in a shopping-center circus near what was then Logan Street and Holmes Road in Lansing, and escaped into the streets, aggravated by the frenzied pursuit of nearly 4,000 local residents.The incident ended with the shooting of the elephant by Lansing police.When announced, many present openly laughed that such an insignificant settlement was now Michigan's capital. Greenly signed into law the act of the legislature making Lansing Township the state capital.With the announcement that Lansing Township had been made the capital, the small village quickly transformed into the seat of state government.