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Grand Rapids Then and Now


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386 replies to this topic

#341 SupercityGR

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:11 PM

Oh. All makes more sense now. Thank you for the link. I thought those 3 buildings already broke ground?



 

#342 GRDadof3

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:54 PM

Oh. All makes more sense now. Thank you for the link. I thought those 3 buildings already broke ground?

 

Nope. 2 of the 3 have broken ground (the ones near Pekich Park/Cherry & Division). Nothing has been released on 240 Ionia...yet.



#343 SupercityGR

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 02:24 PM

didnt feel like starting a new topic. Big move into bridgewater place

 

edit: after i made this post, a new thread was started on it. sorry


Edited by SupercityGR, 14 January 2013 - 05:23 PM.


#344 andrew.w

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:26 AM

didnt feel like starting a new topic. Big move into bridgewater place

 

edit: after i made this post, a new thread was started on it. sorry

 

I think this will be the first company to move into those floors since DTE moved Michcon out of there in 2000.  I have checked periodically over the years and they have always been vacant on McKinley's website.


Edited by andrew.w, 15 January 2013 - 09:27 AM.


#345 SupercityGR

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:39 AM

The space into which Spectrum is moving has been vacant for the past five years after DT Energy moved out of downtown to Kentwood, Wiener said. The 17-story building at 333 Bridge Street NW is now 70 percent leased, he said.



#346 fotoman311

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:51 PM

Then:

http://www.historygr...r-governor-club

Dianavirtual-4.jpg

 

 

 

Now:

http://goo.gl/maps/OjjfI

 

What a great old facade Olive's used to have.  And you could rent bikes for $0.25/hr!  Fun!!



#347 joeDowntown

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:20 AM

Interesting- I walked by Olive's the other day and wondered what the facade used to look like. At some point somebody put nasty faux rock on that building. Olive's has done an ok job making it look respectable, but it doesn't look nearly as nice as this picture. 

 

Joe

 

Then:

http://www.historygr...r-governor-club

 

What a great old facade Olive's used to have.  And you could rent bikes for $0.25/hr!  Fun!!



#348 walker

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:17 AM

Interesting- I walked by Olive's the other day and wondered what the facade used to look like. At some point somebody put nasty faux rock on that building. Olive's has done an ok job making it look respectable, but it doesn't look nearly as nice as this picture. 

 

Joe

 

Apparently sometime between fotoman’s 1936 photo and this 1949 photo the faux rock façade was added:

 

http://grpl.contentd...gleitem/rec/349

 

The business to the left in the link, Buth’s Dairy Bar, later moved around the corner and morphed into Jersey Junction. I can remember sitting with my grandmother in Buth’s having a chocolate malted probably only a couple of years after this picture was taken. You could look across the street through the window and see the roller coaster at Ramona Park, although the roller coaster was no longer operating by then.



#349 Gorath

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:44 PM



#350 jas49503

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 07:42 AM

3,000,000 feet of exhibit space would make GR one of the biggest in the country.  I wonder how much there is now. 



#351 GRDadof3

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 09:37 AM

3,000,000 feet of exhibit space would make GR one of the biggest in the country.  I wonder how much there is now. 

 

There's about a million just in Devos Place. If you add in the JW and AGP, Probably 1.2?

 

There's an interesting article about DVP in the Press today, with a great aerial photo of that area pre-convention center and pre-Hall of Justice.



#352 walker

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 09:08 PM

Just ran across this blog tonight.  It's got some interesting before and after street photos:

 

http://gr-retro.blog...6-vs-today.html



#353 jonathan.jam

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 04:15 PM

Those pictures of Michigan...I almost cried.



#354 GR_Urbanist

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 12:58 PM

Special series of stories on Mlive recounting Urban Renewal!

 

Still controversial: Why MLive is looking back at urban renewal in Grand Rapids

http://www.mlive.com...t_river_default

 

http://www.mlive.com...t_river_default

 

http://www.mlive.com...t_river_default

 

(interactive slideshow)

http://www.mlive.com...t_river_default

 

 

Tons of photos. Lots of stuff many of us likely never seen before. And It looks like there will be even more stories.

 

 

Warning: You may also feel your blood pressure go trough the roof.

 

-3121544e92bac967.JPG

 

Seriously...WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO TAKE THIS DOWN? I didnt even know this building existed!


Edited by GR_Urbanist, 18 May 2014 - 01:21 PM.


#355 droonus2000

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 01:50 PM

 
Warning: You may also feel your blood pressure go trough the roof.
 
-3121544e92bac967.JPG
 
Seriously...WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO TAKE THIS DOWN? I didnt even know this building existed!


I thought the same thing! It's beautiful, I can't believe I never knew it existed. I can't figure out how this was deemed expendable.

#356 fotoman311

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 10:25 PM

I thought the same thing! It's beautiful, I can't believe I never knew it existed. I can't figure out how this was deemed expendable.

 

What a great looking building. Perhaps we should also be thankful they weren't allowed to "improve" the whole downtown.

 

I look forward to reading this series.



#357 walker

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:46 AM

 

-3121544e92bac967.JPG

 

Seriously...WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO TAKE THIS DOWN? I didnt even know this building existed!

 

It seems like many lifetimes and careers ago and it is all kind of hazy now but back in 1967 or 1968 I was a substitute mail carrier and can remember delivering mail many times to the Houseman Building.  The building even at that time was mostly vacant.  The few tenants were for the most part really oddball businesses as I remember although I cannot remember anymore what they were.    The official urban renewal area was all north of Lyon Street.  The Houseman Building being south of Lyon was not directly a victim of urban renewal, nor were a number of other no longer standing old office buildings south of Lyon.  They were collateral damage.

 

A couple of things were going on the caused the demise of these buildings.  Besides the Houseman Building, there was the Ashton Building, the Murray Building, the Red Cross Building, the Consumers Power Building, the Gas Building, and a few other smaller buildings all south of Lyon but north of what is now Monroe Center.  First, the new buildings coming online in the urban renewal area set up a sort of musical chairs scenario.  The more prestigious tenants left what had been the class A spaces such as the (Michigan) Trust Building and the McKay Tower for the new office buildings.  And of course the businesses whose names were on the new buildings also left their former offices; Old Kent Bank, Union Bank, and the Gas Company.  So then the best tenants of the secondary office buildings such as the Houseman Building moved up a step or two into the vacated old class A building spaces.  Second, a lot of businesses that used to occupy downtown office space such as insurance agencies moved to the suburbs with its free parking.  The Red Cross moved to their suburban style building out on Fuller.  There was just more supply than demand and the weaker players fell out.  Ellis and a few others were right there to help them out.

 

Just an aside, unlike today, back then mail delivery was a big deal and the lifeblood of many businesses.  I don’t even know if the zip code 49502 exists today but that was the downtown business zone.  If your business was in that zip code you got mail delivery three times a day.  In many offices people’s work schedules were dependent on the mail deliveries.  


Edited by walker, 19 May 2014 - 07:58 AM.


#358 RegalTDP

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:39 AM

The Houseman Building was built by (go figure) Julius Houseman in two stages, the southern portion in 1883 and the northern in 1887.  It must have been one of his last endeavors before he died in 1891.

 

MLive had just posted a shot of its demolition a couple months ago:

http://photos.mlive....molition_g.html

If you really want a have a coronary, check out the Ellis Parking "Open Soon" sign on the lower right.  :sick:


Edited by RegalTDP, 19 May 2014 - 08:43 AM.


#359 mgreven

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 11:17 AM

The Houseman Building was built by (go figure) Julius Houseman in two stages, the southern portion in 1883 and the northern in 1887.  It must have been one of his last endeavors before he died in 1891.

 

MLive had just posted a shot of its demolition a couple months ago:

http://photos.mlive....molition_g.html

If you really want a have a coronary, check out the Ellis Parking "Open Soon" sign on the lower right.  :sick:

Thanks for that photo.  My Grandpa worked at VanderSys and eventually bought the place.  Cool to see another location from before my time - even though it's a sad photo.  It moved to Pearl after that and was torn down for the AGP tower (my grandpa loved talking about negotiating with Rich DV) and after that was where Brian's Books is now.


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#360 RegalTDP

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 11:41 AM

Here's a view of the building from Pearl and Ottawa.  I believe the picture is from Ernest Fisher's Grand Rapids Illustrated from 1888.

 


2699380_orig.jpg

(from mygrandrapids.info)

 

This was probably one of the grandest and biggest commercial office buildings in town then.  The Waters Building didn't go up until 1899.






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