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joeDowntown

Urban Renewal

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Ah, you gotta love Urban Renewal. Before we had this:

P1010072.jpg

We had the lovely City Centre Ramp. To make way for progress, we lost these buildings:

citycentre-old.jpg

Darn Urban Renewal! Check out the public library's website for more lost gems:

GRPL Photo Archive

Joe

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You are so right Joe. It is nothing short of unbelieveable what this city has demolished in the past 100 years. That corner of Fulton and Division alone has lost almost all of its great buildings! Even the street lamps from the early 20th century were, in my opinion, priceless treasures lost. I love to spend time just looking and wondering what it be like to walk into a building like that today. ^_^

The GRPL photo archive is a great resource. The local history department is regularly adding photos to it. If some of you have the time you should go visit the library and browse through the photo collection. Many of the books about GR only have a small sliver of images of our citys urban history. You can spend DAYS getting lost in those great buildings, and street scenes that the libray has in storage that never make it into print!

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Goldmine of images.

A few very interesting ones. Like the Berkey and Gay factory - once the largest manufacturing plant in the world. Other show lost gems that we will never get back.

It is a shame what happened in this town during the urban renewal sickness. Downtown lost a lot of density, and a few nice ten to twelve storey buildings. It is hard to imagine what downtown would be like today if half of it was not demolished. We would have had to build up much sooner and Grand Rapids would have had a much more cosmopolitan skyline and character.

I am sure that even those that supported urban renewal back then are probably sad now that they see what we have lost.

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Wow, was the Berkey & Gay, once the largest manufacturing plant in the world? when was it built? It must have been before the monstrosities that are in Detroit were, some of those plants cover square miles!

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What great images, Joe. I'd like to do some 'before and after' photo comparisons sometime.

Now it seems almost unimaginable that they torn down 128 buildings, encompassing 40 acres, all in the name of progress. Once dynamic city centers lost centuries of thier development in just a couple foul decades.

This is an interesting image. Notice that most of the northern section is cleared, the highway is up, but the old city hall and courthouse still stand.

125-934-37.jpg

And just look at what Monroe mall used to be. It would be nothing short of a miracle if we ever see that kind of foot traffic return to downtown.

54-19-36.jpg

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The 1988 Book "Grand Rapids: Then and Now" by James Van Vulpen is a great side-by-side book of photographs of various sites, taken, I believe, one hundred years apart. It's quite rare now and only available through online booksellers at prices approaching $100.

I see it in numerous lobbies and waiting rooms, though.

It's a real eye-opener!

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The 1988 Book "Grand Rapids: Then and Now" by James Van Vulpen is a great side-by-side book of photographs of various sites, taken, I believe, one hundred years apart. It's quite rare now and only available through online booksellers at prices approaching $100.

I see it in numerous lobbies and waiting rooms, though.

It's a real eye-opener!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's still availabe at most of the branch libraries in GR.

it's intreesting to see that alot of the "now" photos are now out-of-date! :P

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I own the book (glad to know it's worth $100 ;) ) and I think they should do an update. A lot of pictures are out of date. It would be neat to see a Then, Then and Now. :) 88 - 2005 has seen dramatic change. Adding a third set of photos would be cool.

Joe

It's still availabe at most of the branch libraries in GR.

 

it's intreesting to see that alot of the "now" photos are now out-of-date!  :P

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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I own the book (glad to know it's worth $100 ;) ) and I think they should do an update. A lot of pictures are out of date. It would be neat to see a Then, Then and Now. :) 88 - 2005 has seen dramatic change. Adding a third set of photos would be cool.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Lets get out the cameras and find a publisher! It could be an UrbanPlanet project, to write Grand Rapids: The comprehensive photographical history of the city 1905 - 2005

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And just look at what Monroe mall used to be. It would be nothing short of a miracle if we ever see that kind of foot traffic return to downtown.

wow...!

that picture is amazing, just look at all those people!

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I plan on adding a then and now section to my site, is this something all of you would be interested in?

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Definitely Rizzo. I love Then and Now pics.

Joe

I plan on adding a then and now section to my site, is this something all of you would be interested in?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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