Lansing is named for James Lansing, a pioneer settler. Formerly William Lansing Taylor, James changed his name upon his enlistment in 1862 as a hospital steward in the 7th Kansas Cavalry. Following the Civil War, he earned a position at the new state penitentiary in Kansas as a hospital steward. He later resigned and opened a general mercantile store, which held the post office and an apothecary business, in the area called “Town of Progress”. “Doc Lansing”, as he became known, and his friend John C. Schmidt became co-owners of 90 acres (360,000m2) of land that was platted into town lots in 1878; they named the area “Town of Lansing”. Lansing did not become an incorporated city until 1959.