Abbott Road Park … but what about Theophilus Capen Abbot?

Abbot Park

Abbot Park, photo by jstealth03.

Abbot Road Park is one of the City of East Lansing’s 24 neighborhood parks. It’s located north of Lake Lansing Road and designated as a hiking and cross-country ski trails natural area with access to the Northern Tier Trail.

The city can’t seem to settle on a name for the park. Their web page calls it “Abbot Park” but the road is “Abbott Rd”. The city’s park & facilities map (pdf) lists it as “Abbot Road Park” so that’s probably correct. However, there’s the matter of Abbot Hall, about which Kevin Forsyth’s fabulous History of East Lansing says:

The hall was named for Theophilus Capen Abbot (1826-1892). Dr. Abbot joined M.A.C. as Professor of English from 1858 to 1866. He then became acting Secretary of the Board of Agriculture, a position he effectively held until 1871. Concurrently — and most importantly — he was third President of the College from 1862 until 1884. During his long and distinguished tenure, he guided the growth of the school through difficult times, and “showed an eye single to the grand object for which the College was established. Nothing could swerve him from a course which should ever keep in view the aid and promotion of agriculture.”

In any case, I’ve added a marker for Abbott Road Park to our Absolute Michigan map of Michigan and requested some sort of clarification from Mr. Forsyth – if you have anything to add to my confusion or the discussion, please post it in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Abbott Road Park … but what about Theophilus Capen Abbot?

  1. Cool! When if/when you do get out there, post a link here!

    Kevin Forsyth responded:

    Regarding Abbot/Abbott Road: the city only recently decided to return to the proper spelling of Abbot’s name for the road — i.e., it’s now officially Abbot Road, according to Ordinance #1179, adopted on October 2nd, 2007. (Check the city council web site for the text.) I have a map from 1915 that calls it “Abbot Avenue” (correct spelling, wrong terminology), but the name had been spelled with two t’s for God knows how long — my best guess is it started some time in the early 1920s, possibly when the main north entrance to the College was moved from opposite Evergreen Street to become the extension of Abbot Road now called Abbot Entrance (circa 1924).


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