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joeDowntown

Calkins Law Office Building

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Chris Knape had an interesting post on his blog about the Calkin's Law Office Building (I believe it is the oldest structure in Grand Rapids):

History withering...

The lunchtime walk today took me all the way over to the Calkins Law Office building at State Street and Jefferson Avenue SE.

The oldest surviving building in Grand Rapids looks pretty pathetic. Porch boards look like they're rotting. The deck in front of the Lincoln memorial bust is weathered beyond what you'd accept in your backyard. The grass is mostly dead (unless you count the crab grass). The sign explaining the significance of the building is faded beyond reading.

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Maybe move it to Campau promenade or 6th Street Park?

Or maybe make it the building that sits at Fulton and Division. :P

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Chris Knape had an interesting post on his blog about the Calkin's Law Office Building (I believe it is the oldest structure in Grand Rapids):

Do you think this building should be moved to the museum's riverfront property? Instead of being a shell of a building, do you think it should be rehabbed and rented out (or used for some activity at the museum). I think it would be interesting if the city moved the house to property between the museum and GVSU (near the walkway to the Blue Bridge) and restored it so it could be used as a tiny office, art gallery or even walk-through exhibit at the museum. What do you all think?

Joe

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I definitely think it should be moved. The only people who see it now are bums (and a few people who walk State between HH and downtown).

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That area needs a catalyst, but I don't think it will be in turning the museum into something else (it now IS being used, as archives). The catalyst will come from redeveloping the charter school and adding some residential in that area. Turning that area of State into a tourist destination would be the wrong way to go IMO.

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Lastly, about the "bums" - - I hope you guys are kidding. There are lots of people in that area waiting for buses or walking to and fro, but only a few are bums. They might not look pretty, but most are leading productive lives, albeit maybe not by our standards.

(It's strange the things that make me come out of the woodwork, isn't it? :rolleyes:)

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I think michaelskis' main point was that the building should stay right where it is, and I agree. It needs sprucing up, and tree-trimming so it's more visible. The museum, while being used, could look more like it's being used, i.e., do something with the front and side windows. And the charter school definitely needs to be redeveloped. BTW, does anyone know what the business is with the new "Wow" sign in the window? (I'm probably the only one who doesn't know.) Lastly, about the "bums" - - I hope you guys are kidding. There are lots of people in that area waiting for buses or walking to and fro, but only a few are bums. They might not look pretty, but most are leading productive lives, albeit maybe not by our standards.

(It's strange the things that make me come out of the woodwork, isn't it? :rolleyes:)

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Does anyone have a picture of this building?

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Does anyone have a picture of this building?

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Thanks, Ted. Its been quite a while that I've been past this building. It looks considerably better than when I remember. I don't understand why we should move this anywhere else, especially to the grounds of the Museum. The Apollo capsule is enough as it is. If It should be moved, why not put it in the Museum -- we already have a friggin whale in there, might as well an office.

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I understood what he meant, but if it gets a huge influx of cash to "fix it up", and fix up the little park where it sits, who will see it? Wouldn't it get better exposure in an area that has people visiting to learn about history and culture, like near the Ford Museum or Grand Rapids Public Museum on the riverfront? Or maybe even over by the Voigt House, where historic tours might be taking place?

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I was thinking of something in the museum other than just the archives. We need something that will attract people to the old museum ...

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...which is being used as archives, not exactly a tourist attraction at this time.

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This is one of my favorite areas of GR; I would love to see the old museum building be used for something more "public" than archival storage.

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Could it perhaps be converted to a neighbourhood Library of sorts? Not sure where the libraries are in GR..

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Could it perhaps be converted to a neighbourhood Library of sorts? Not sure where the libraries are in GR..

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This is one of my favorite areas of GR; I would love to see the old museum building be used for something more "public" than archival storage.

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There's a central library not less than a block away.

...

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Seems like the least they could do to the old Public Museum sign is take down the old sign and maybe dust off the cobwebs. It sits there as if the Museum move 1 week ago.

Joe

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