Lansing Brew House To Honor Elephant That Rampaged Through Town [Video]
Rajje's Tap House is named after an elephant that escaped from a circus back in 1963, and went on a legendary stroll through the city's south side before it ended tragically.
It's one of those stories, that if you grew up in Lansing you heard at one time or another, ususally from an older relative. A sad tale of the day the elephant went beserk and wrecked half the town.
Now it has a place to knock back a few craft beers while retelling the oft told tale.
Rajje's Tap House will open on Lansing's East Side in the fall of this year, and it gets its name (with a slightly different spelling) from a story that lives on in Lansing's storied history.
On September 27, 1963, Rajjee the elephant decided she had had enough of circus life, and bolted from the tent at the corner of Holmes and Logan (now MLK Drive) on the city's South Side.
She ran through a department store first, knocking over mechandise and displays before heading down Fenton Street with the police, and an estimated 3000 onlookers in close pursuit. After Rajjee stomped a citizen who got in the way, the police shot her eight times with a deer rifle, taking the 16 year old pachyderm down. The shots took her down to one knee before the decision was made to euthanize her.
Nick Ostapczuk says he's honoring a bit of Lansing's past with the moniker. "I wanted to tie in an aspect of Lansing's history into the business," Ostapczuk told the Lansing State Journal recently. He lives roughly a mile away from where Rajjee was killed.
"There were a lot of interesting, subtle stories," he said. "Then I came came across the story of Rajjee and all the subtlety went out the window. There was this knee-jerk reaction from the elephant taking off from the circus and unfortunately being killed in the streets."