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Grand Rapids Then and Now


6th Gen local

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Does anyone have any new gems they've stumbled across?

I've been collecting a few postcards the last 6-8 months, many of them from the 'teens and 20s. The dozen or so of them are currently on the wall in the dining room in a sort of collage. I'll try and get a few of them down and photograph or scan them and get some updated shots in the next week or two.

I need to spend some more time going through this entire thread as well.

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Bumping this for those who may not have seen it before. Start at the first page if you haven't.

well, seeing you bumped it, and i read the whole thread, maybe you can tell me in the first few photos which building was "stadium arena"? i keep thinking its the white egg looking building, but it certainly doesnt appear to be that at all when looking at it today.

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well, seeing you bumped it, and i read the whole thread, maybe you can tell me in the first few photos which building was "stadium arena"? i keep thinking its the white egg looking building, but it certainly doesnt appear to be that at all when looking at it today.

Stadium Arena I think is now the DeltaPlex.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ae/Deltaplex.JPG

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And before that, it was a Atlantic Mills store.
And before it was Atlantic Mills it was originally a hockey stadium for the Grand Rapids Rockets. I used to skate there when I was a kid when they would have open skating to the public. I thought it was pretty cool to sit in the penalty box. Their parking lot was also a drive-in theater in the summer. I don't know what it was called back then, we just called it the stadium. After Atlantic Mills closed, the old promoter Phil Simon regained control of the building and renamed it Stadium Arena. I never liked that name, it sounds redundant.
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After Atlantic Mills closed, the old promoter Phil Simon regained control of the building and renamed it Stadium Arena. I never liked that name, it sounds redundant.

Never knew it was an Atlantic Mills - learn something new everyday on this board. ;) I agree that Stadium Arena is redundant. How about Park Field for the new baseball field downtown? :P

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Those trusses were added shortly after it was originally constructed because the roof sagged :( . It was a garage for Greyhound buses between the Rockets & Atlantic Mills.

Ah. I always wondered why there were trusses on the outside. It's amazing all the eyesores that have been cleaned up around town. Remember the big rusty water tower right near the Plainfield/I-96 exit? That and the rusty overpass at that time really made you feel like GR was a great city. :scared:

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There is really old school rendering of Grand Rapids at the Library of Congress American Memory site. The drawing of Grand Rapids is from 1868. You can zoom in really close and see Park Congregational Church and St. Mark's church. I'm pretty sure there are remnants of Prospect Hill at Pearl and Ottawa. Here's a link.

I can't figure out how to put the image up on here. It's better at the LOC site anyway because you can move around the image and zoom in and out. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

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  • 1 month later...

I was browsing some old photos of Grand Rapids on flickr today when I came across this. It's not so much as what's in the photo, but the vivid descriptions of what Grand Rapids used to be like. One brief quote: "Monroe Avenue was always a hotbed of activity. We transferred buses, ate our meals, shopped, and met up with friends there. After the quiet and peace of farm living, Monroe Avenue seemed like the ultimate in excitement and glamor."

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeyharrison/...in/photostream/

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  • 11 months later...

The Grand Rapids Historical Society has a program next week Thursday, January 14, that many of you might find interesting. Donald Bratt will give a presentation featuring the photographs that his father took of virtually every building that was torn down that was within the borders of the great downtown urban renewal project of the nineteen sixties. His father, Hero D. Bratt, had a business on Ottawa NW roughly just south of where the Federal Building stands now. According to the historical society's newsletter, these photographs were the basis of a slide show and lecture that Hero Bratt used to present around town.

Here's a link to the historical society's event calendar. Slide down to January 14 for a more eloquent description:

link

The program is at the Ford museum at 7 PM. There is no charge and parking is free.

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I believe it originally was a part of a Heritage Hill home that was torn down. It was retrofitted and spent years as a telephone "booth" about where the statue is in front of Bigby's. It was taken out when they redid Rosa Parks Circle.

Joe

I recognise everything in that photo except for the onion-domed gazebo on the right. Where is/was that?

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I believe it originally was a part of a Heritage Hill home that was torn down. It was retrofitted and spent years as a telephone "booth" about where the statue is in front of Bigby's. It was taken out when they redid Rosa Parks Circle.

Joe

I didn't know what that was either, but rightfully so since it seems to have been "before my time" (I only have one vague recollection of that corner before the reconstruction, and it has more to do with the brick waterfalls than anything else). Still, 1 point for me for originally thinking that it looked like a belvedere - that is an open balcony/room that would often top the towers of Victorian homes.

There's one other thing I don't recognize (but seems familiar). It's the brick structure to the left of the golfer and underneath the duck (what an odd place for a duck).

Edited by [email protected]
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I believe it originally was a part of a Heritage Hill home that was torn down. It was retrofitted and spent years as a telephone "booth" about where the statue is in front of Bigby's. It was taken out when they redid Rosa Parks Circle.

Joe

I vaguely remember that the 'onion dome' actually came from a building on Monroe that was torn down to make room for DeVos Hall. I'm trying to find a picture of it..

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I believe it originally was a part of a Heritage Hill home that was torn down. It was retrofitted and spent years as a telephone "booth" about where the statue is in front of Bigby's. It was taken out when they redid Rosa Parks Circle.

Donald Bratt mentioned and displayed this in his historical presentation. It was the corner feature on a building previously on the west side of North Monroe, in a short block approximately across from the northernmost entrance to what's now the parking garage. Artist supply store. (Raildudes Dad, feel free to jump in.)

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My great-grandfather had a book published in the 1950s, which I looked at in detail recently. The author's bio noted that he was a "graduate of the Grand Rapids University."

Does anyone know more about this institution of higher learning, and what happened to it? I've never heard of it before.

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