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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.

Believe it or not the University of Grand Rapids was absorbed into Aquinas College in 1945. http://www.aquinas.e...ge/forties.html

There are a few references to the U of GR in Google's News Archive as well - mostly about the football team.

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WOW!

Found a treasure trove of old pictures from what I like to call the "Second Wave". After the Arena was announced but before it was open. I'll share photos as I have time. I'm amazed at how dilapi

Slide taken from my grandpa's (Russ Molt) collection. Ionia street looking north as the "new" weather ball is being installed in the 1960's.

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Believe it or not the University of Grand Rapids was absorbed into Aquinas College in 1945. http://www.aquinas.e...ge/forties.html

There are a few references to the U of GR in Google's News Archive as well - mostly about the football team.

Go UGR! Go Lancers! Rah! That's really fascinating, if only it was still around today.

It seems like it was only open from the 30's until 1945. I have no idea how my great-grandfather would have attended there, since he would have been in his late forties by the time the school opened. That book jacket might have had University of GR confused with another short-lived institution.

Thanks trongrr.smile.gif

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Douma's Art Supply

Exactly right. Douma's was next located on Fulton Street near Jefferson until online ordering of discounted art supplies basically put their retail and wholesale divisions

out of business. Wonderful art supply store. I miss it.

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Apparently, none other than Gerald R. Ford taught briefly at the University of Grand Rapids, a course in business law. I think that UGR may have been a private business college, somewhat similar to Davenport.

My dad, a native of GR born in 1921, attended the University of Grand Rapids after graduating from Union. I think he attended a few reunions over the years with others who attended UGR. I was under the impression it was "only" a two year college, but can't really tell you why. At any rate, my dad ended up becoming a civilian Air Traffic Controller (worked for years at the old and "new" Kent Co. Airports) instead of getting a 4-yr degree (at UGR or wherever else) just prior to the start of WWII, and therefore he was not drafted.

That turn of events could be why I'm here (okay, in Denver) today!

Edited by Explorer55
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  • 2 months later...

4516156653_8fbe3204fb.jpg

Check out one the buildings that became 50 Monroe in the background to the right. Looks like it's in pretty rough shape. Also, it is just me, or does that area feel less dense in that picture? It's rare to look at an old picture and have the city feel less dense...I guess that says good things about the development of GR in the last 30 years.

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Check out one the buildings that became 50 Monroe in the background to the right. Looks like it's in pretty rough shape. Also, it is just me, or does that area feel less dense in that picture? It's rare to look at an old picture and have the city feel less dense...I guess that says good things about the development of GR in the last 30 years.

Looks like there was a building in the parking lot gap (Tre Cugini/Dog Pit).

Here's a streetview; too bad about the leafed-out trees.

http://tinyurl.com/y78wplh

Edited by Veloise
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Check out one the buildings that became 50 Monroe in the background to the right. Looks like it's in pretty rough shape. Also, it is just me, or does that area feel less dense in that picture? It's rare to look at an old picture and have the city feel less dense...I guess that says good things about the development of GR in the last 30 years.

With the urban renewal of the 1960s, the downtown area was far less "dense" than it is today. That process ripped out the heart of much of downtown. The park in the postcard was the site of some dime stores, for example, that formed the bottom of the Monroe Avenue slant before it went north and south. (The classical facade in the background, the old Mutual Home Federal Savings and Loan building, can be seen in Gaslight village today).

The recovery of urban density in the downtown core is essential to a vibrant area. Downtown GR in the 1970s was in many ways a hollow shell.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it was a Sears at one time. Anyone know what happened to the building (I think this would be a great spot for a small infill project).

Joe

The old Sears store was across the street on the north side of Monroe. It was demo'd years ago. I don't know what is in there now, if anything.

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The old Sears store was across the street on the north side of Monroe. It was demo'd years ago. I don't know what is in there now, if anything.

There may have been another Sears location but Joe is right. There was a Sears there. I have one of those Retro GR pictures in my office that has Sears labeled all over that building.

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There may have been another Sears location but Joe is right. There was a Sears there. I have one of those Retro GR pictures in my office that has Sears labeled all over that building.

Note the Sears store on right:

SEARS

There was a second downtown Sears store on Pearl across from the Amway. The Pearl Street store was for automotive parts and service.

Both stores were closed about the time they opened the Sears in Woodland Mall, give or take a year about 1968.

There was a winding alley built for another age back behind the store on Monroe that serviced that store and others. If someone else pulled in behind you, you were stuck until they finished their business too.

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Note the Sears store on right:

SEARS

There was a second downtown Sears store on Pearl across from the Amway. The Pearl Street store was for automotive parts and service.

Both stores were closed about the time they opened the Sears in Woodland Mall, give or take a year about 1968.

There was a winding alley built for another age back behind the store on Monroe that serviced that store and others. If someone else pulled in behind you, you were stuck until they finished their business too.

Yeah, I remember both stores. I was right about the main Sears store on the north side of Monroe, which shows clearly in the picture. The auto store (which I recall as well) was on Pearl, but not at the site of that ugly brick thing in the postcard.

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Note the Sears store on right:

SEARS

There was a second downtown Sears store on Pearl across from the Amway. The Pearl Street store was for automotive parts and service.

Both stores were closed about the time they opened the Sears in Woodland Mall, give or take a year about 1968. ...

What a great photo, thanks for the link.

It looks to me like the former Sears building would now be Tre Cugini, and the parking lot was then occupied by the smaller, two-story plain white facade. Four Friends/Olive Express/Dog Pit are all in the triple-wide building adjacent to the vanished building.

(yes I know that FF and OE are goners. Easier than trying to remember the names of the current places.)

ETA: streetview

http://tinyurl.com/2ac6e6u

I am unfamiliar with a business called "All Felonies and Misdemeanors" in that space. Shows up on Streetview at the newsboxes.

Edited by Veloise
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What a great photo, thanks for the link.

It looks to me like the former Sears building would now be Tre Cugini, and the parking lot was then occupied by the smaller, two-story plain white facade. Four Friends/Olive Express/Dog Pit are all in the triple-wide building adjacent to the vanished building.

(yes I know that FF and OE are goners. Easier than trying to remember the names of the current places.)

ETA: streetview

http://tinyurl.com/2ac6e6u

I am unfamiliar with a business called "All Felonies and Misdemeanors" in that space. Shows up on Streetview at the newsboxes.

No, Veloise, the Sears store was leveled. It is now a parking lot, as seen on the streetview.

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ETA: streetview

http://tinyurl.com/2ac6e6u

I am unfamiliar with a business called "All Felonies and Misdemeanors" in that space. Shows up on Streetview at the newsboxes.

Huhh?? dunno.gif That's so weird. Is there an attorney's office near there? Maybe "All Felonies and Misdemeanors" was a tagline from his/her yellow pages listing that somehow Googlemaps picked up.

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  • 2 years later...

Apparently, none other than Gerald R. Ford taught briefly at the University of Grand Rapids, a course in business law. I think that UGR may have been a private business college, somewhat similar to Davenport.

M.E. Davenport, the man for which Davenport Unviersity is named actually started University of Grand Rapids too. That school folded and sold to Aquinas College in 1945. So it was very similar to Davenport, good observation. You can see some of the University of Grand Rapids buildings still at Aquinas today in fact, though I have no idea which.

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  • 3 months later...

Mlive’s Garret Ellison found in the Press archives this pretty interesting article and drawing from 1960 of what Grand Rapids downtown might look like in 1975. This was before urban renewal but it gives a pretty good idea of what their thinking was heading toward it:

http://www.mlive.com...ml#incart_river

Interesting to probably no one but me is that Ellison mentions John Paul Jones, the consultant that presented the Grand Rapids vision plan and who later became the head city planner. I’d mentioned John Paul Jones in a thread five years ago and was met with some ridicule about the likelihood of a planner existing with that name. Thank You Mr. Ellison, I feel vindicated.

Here is the thread where I mention Jones and the later replies doubting my story:

http://www.urbanplan...za/#entry829964

Maybe because urbanplanet has archived the thread above, the link takes you to the top of thread instead the entry I was trying to link to. However my post within the thread was #3 and the doubters replies were #4, #6, and #8.

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Whistle Stop:

You had posted some pictures of 50 Monroe getting re-skinned a while back, and I may be involved in an upcoming project there. The pictures don't link properly, but I would LOVE to see what pictures you've got.

Can you do anything for me?

Thanks!

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