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civitas

Lyon vs. Campau

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For those who don't know the history of our strange street grid. It starts with a feud between two now-famous guys...

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Campau beat Lyon to register the deed and thereby owned everything within the red line below (Michigan to Fulton and Division to the Grand River).

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Campau sold the north half to Lyon with the restriction that there be no connection except at Division.

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Campau sold his 1st platted lot where McKay Tower stands today.

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He then sold lots at the river to a guy who sold what he didn't need to Lyon giving him access to Pearl Street.

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Lyon platted his land with access to the south at only 2 points.

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The B/W image below shows Grab Corners after buildings were removed to eliminate the jog on Pearl.

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At some point Ottawa and Ionia broke through, but they didn't align well with the streets to the south, which explains the subtle jogs in each.

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The thing about GR is you can turn a corner and hit a street that is angled just right to give you some great views of architecture. It looks odd on paper, but when you're there it feels right. Gives some good density.

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Excellent post Civitas! I never knew that. :dontknow:

I love a series on angled streets in the grid. It breaks up the monotony.

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Excellent history Civitas...Funny how much personalities in history still effect us today!

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This is very interesting civitas. Was it called Grab Corners because of the land grab?

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This is very interesting civitas. Was it called Grab Corners because of the land grab?

Apparantly. The book "Old Grand Rapids" written in 1925 has this quote from Captain Belnap, "In 1865, Lieut. Bob Wilson, returning from war, took a job as reporter on the Daily eagle. He cartooned, ridiculed and satirized the local conditions around our civic center till the public accepted the title and took steps to transform "Grab Corners" into "Campau Square" - at a cost of $50,000 - 1870.

The book also has this great story about the city's condemnation of the block of buildings that had to be removed to eliminate the jog in the streets at Pearl. The 3-story building on the north end of the condemned block was the last to come down because the owner fought the condemnation. A mysterious fire broke out in that building and firemen found their apparatus reluctant to do anything except save adjoining property. It sounds like someone knew how to cut through the red tape.

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I love interesting urban history like this. Can you recommend some good history books about Grand Rapids and it

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Although it's not a history book more like a pictorial look at vintage postcards; I'd recommend the book: Grand Rapids In Vintage Post Cards 1890-1940 ISBN 0-7385-3950-3 Published by Arcadia...

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I love interesting urban history like this. Can you recommend some good history books about Grand Rapids and it

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I'm still waiting for a History of Grand Rapids Quiz Bowl. Bring on the challenge, I'm waiting...

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Where in Downtown was the original YMCA located?

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What about the book "Old Grand Rapids" civitas mentioned in the previus post?

Not sure of that one, but did pick up a copy of 'A Look at Early Grand Rapids' at River Bank Books for $7.95. It was first written in the 1970s and is a companion to the book 'Pictorial History of Grand Rapids'.

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Where in Downtown was the original YMCA located?

The Ledyard Block. Along with the first Public Museum.

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I'm still waiting for a History of Grand Rapids Quiz Bowl. Bring on the challenge, I'm waiting...

I would dissuade anyone from taking her up on that offer.......

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Where in Downtown was the original YMCA located?

The Ledyard Block. Along with the first Public Museum.

Well, if you want the real OG, try again.

1866-1875

a Church

on Canal

on Monroe

1875-1883

The Ledyard Block

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I love interesting urban history like this. Can you recommend some good history books about Grand Rapids and it's development?

I have copies of the following:

  • Grand Rapids Then and Now - James VanVulpen - 1988

  • A Look at Early Grand Rapids - Z.Z.Lydens - 1976

  • Grand Rapids, Renaissance on the Grand - Gerald Elliot - 1982

  • Pictorial History of Grand Rapids - Lynn Mapes & Anthony Travis - 1976

  • Old Grand Rapids - George Finch - 1925

  • Heart & Soul, The Story of GR Neighborhoods - Linda Samuelson - 2003

I'm sure there are others.

I enjoy the "Old Grand Rapids" book from 1925 because it sometimes compares old to "new." Of course what was new in 1925 seems pretty old today.

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My passion for this City has a lot to do with what I learned from Albert Baxter.

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My passion for this City has a lot to do with what I learned from Albert Baxter.

A footnote on the cover page in "Old Grand Rapids" (1925) says, "Intended only as supplementary to the local histories, so well written by Albert Baxter and others."

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I have copies of the following:
  • Grand Rapids Then and Now - James VanVulpen - 1988

  • A Look at Early Grand Rapids - Z.Z.Lydens - 1976

  • Grand Rapids, Renaissance on the Grand - Gerald Elliot - 1982

  • Pictorial History of Grand Rapids - Lynn Mapes & Anthony Travis - 1976

  • Old Grand Rapids - George Finch - 1925

  • Heart & Soul, The Story of GR Neighborhoods - Linda Samuelson - 2003

I'm sure there are others.

I enjoy the "Old Grand Rapids" book from 1925 because it sometimes compares old to "new." Of course what was new in 1925 seems pretty old today.

That's a great list of books civitas, I have most of those myself. Another book worth a look is "Memorials of the Grand River Valley" by Franklin Everett which is my personal favorite. It was originally published in 1878 and has many stories of the Grand River Valley as told by members of the Old Residents Association of the Grand River Valley. I am pretty sure there is a copy in the Michigan History section of the Grand Rapids Public Museum if you have a hard time finding it.

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That's a great list of books civitas, I have most of those myself. Another book worth a look is "Memorials of the Grand River Valley" by Franklin Everett which is my personal favorite. It was originally published in 1878 and has many stories of the Grand River Valley as told by members of the Old Residents Association of the Grand River Valley. I am pretty sure there is a copy in the Michigan History section of the Grand Rapids Public Museum if you have a hard time finding it.

I've heard that the Everett book is good.

PROF. FRANKLIN EVERETT.-Prof. Franklin Everett died early Thursday morning, February 1, 1891, at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. George C. Fitch, 155 Jefferson avenue, aged 82 years. He had been in poor health for some time and very feeble and the end was expected at any time. The funeral was held Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the residence and. was attended by the old settlers in a body. Prof. Everett was the oldest teacher in the city and many a prominent citizen of today received their earliest instructions from him. He was born January 26, 1812, at Worthington, Mass., was brought up on a farm and at the age of 16 began to teach and at the same time fitted himself for college. Five years later he went to what was then Waterville college, now Colby university, in Maine, and there, in 1838, graduated. He decided to follow teaching as a profession, and for a time had charge of Black River academy in Vermont, and of academies in Canajoharie and Cooperstown in New York. In 1846 he came to Grand Rapids to take the position of principal of the Grand Rapids academy. A little later this became an independent school, known as Everett's academy, and he maintained it until advancing years compelled him-to relinquish active labor in 1874. He was the author of a valuable historical work, "Memorials of the Grand River Valley," published in 1877, which has been one of the most treasured collections of pioneer reminiscences in the possession of old residents. He was a strong promoter of the Old Residents' Association and of the Kent Scientific Institute. In early life he affiliated with the orthodox Christians in creed, but later in life became independent, though not a free thinker, in religious tendencies. His wife and one daughter preceded him in death several years. Mrs. Fitch is the sole surviver of his immediate family.

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My passion for this City has a lot to do with what I learned from Albert Baxter.

My passion for this City has a lot to do with what I learned from generations of relatives who have lived here. It's interesting to listen to the old folks talk about the city when the were younger.

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My passion for this City has a lot to do with what I learned from generations of relatives who have lived here. It's interesting to listen to the old folks talk about the city when the were younger.

Rizzo,

How nice to be able to do that. Have you asked for or seen any old pictures, Polk city directories, newspapers, etc?

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Rizzo,

How nice to be able to do that. Have you asked for or seen any old pictures, Polk city directories, newspapers, etc?

My family has a lot of old pictures from the days the innercity rail transit system was in business. Also, a lot of downtown pictures from early 1920s to late 60s. Grandpa found lots of News papers used as insulation in his SW side home many years ago. I think the papers were from the Herald days.

When I had a chance to see some of the photos and view the street scenes I always think, "wow!"

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