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seely

Looking for some old/offbeat residences in GR...

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I'm trying to compile a list of some really odd, unique, offbeat, old houses in Grand Rapids. I know about the grand historical mansions in the hill, but what I am trying to find is some that are perhaps overlooked, really out of place, odd, or old. For example, I live off Benjamin in an area where the majority of houses were 1500+ sq. ft, built 1900-25, but there is one neat little random 975 sq. ft. house built in 1860. Just trying to find some more architectural anomolies, oddities, oldies, etc. If this topic is too stupid, feel free to ignore... I'm just stoked for warm weather rides around town again.

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I'm trying to compile a list of some really odd, unique, offbeat, old houses in Grand Rapids. I know about the grand historical mansions in the hill, but what I am trying to find is some that are perhaps overlooked, really out of place, odd, or old. For example, I live off Benjamin in an area where the majority of houses were 1500+ sq. ft, built 1900-25, but there is one neat little random 975 sq. ft. house built in 1860. Just trying to find some more architectural anomolies, oddities, oldies, etc. If this topic is too stupid, feel free to ignore... I'm just stoked for warm weather rides around town again.

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OK, if I was still in GR, I would drive by to get the address, but alas, you will have to do with some general directions and explore...

There is a great art deco house, just North of Burton East of Griggs. Looks like it fell from Miami Beach into the hood. Great place, would love to see the inside too.

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OK, if I was still in GR, I would drive by to get the address, but alas, you will have to do with some general directions and explore...

There is a great art deco house, just North of Burton East of Griggs. Looks like it fell from Miami Beach into the hood. Great place, would love to see the inside too.

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There's a big old mansion that sits on Boltwood (?) NE, that is in a very weird location. It's surrounded by homes built probably in the 60's and 70's.

Right in the middle here:

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&...4&encType=1

Also, there's a new modern home built on Fiske Lake near the corner of Plymouth and Wealthy (across from Blodgett Hospital) that I really like.

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All over town, there are large, "non-fitting" houses that used to be THE HOUSE on the block before blocks existed and this was all farmland. There's a large house on 4th St--a couple blocks west of Valley NW that's well over 4,000 sf with great architecture. The old Campau Mansion (SW corner of Fulton and Gay), though surrounded by other large Heritage Hill homes, is another example. The large apartment building on the south end of the property used to be the carriage house for the owner's horses. Yet another one is on Lexington between Bridge and Lake Mich Drive--a large brick house that used to be the only one in the neighborhood.

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There is one really funky house that I know of, very unique. It has a cobblestone chimney, and oriental eaves. You have to see it to know what I mean. Very odd arts and crafts. It is by Highland Park on Grand Street just off of the intersection of Flat and Grand. Across Highland Park from College Street.

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Ah, so they are, it was Giddings. Hey, it started with a G, had a double consonant, ends in an "s"...

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Also, there's a new modern home built on Fiske Lake near the corner of Plymouth and Wealthy (across from Blodgett Hospital) that I really like.

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Some great suggestions guys... thanks. I looked up the 600 Fairview address and it sounds a lot like the house on my block here... 970sq. ft. and built in 1870... pretty old for GR. I'll definately be checking these out on the first warm day we get and see if I don't come across a few more.

On a semi related note: there was one place I tried to find again the other day... it was a really odd setup, and I remember riding past it occasionally when I lived on Portsmouth... but I can't find it now. It almost looked like a motel, except it appeared to be actual seperate residences all grouped together with a courtyard in the middle... kind of a white stucco/adobe looking construction maybe? Anyways, it looked quite old and quite unusual as it seemed that maybe it was servant's quarters or really early apartments? It was all on one level, and I believe the doors all faced into the middle courtyard. Anyone have any clue what I'm talking about? I think it may have been for sale/rent last year.

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I don't know where Portsmouth is, but your description sounds like the apartment building on Diamond or Eastern south of Lake Dr. or Cherry. It's on the east side of the street. I've noticed it because I thought it would be good for intentional community or low cost co-housing. Same with the row houses on Fitzhugh near Hope. There is a stucco house around that corner that would make a good community house for them. Missing is space for a community garden -- but with intensive gardening and container gardening, it would likely be enough. My dream/hopes are for more models of this kind of living at all socio-economic levels. Especially would like to see adapting existing urban buildings to this use.

Some great suggestions guys... thanks. I looked up the 600 Fairview address and it sounds a lot like the house on my block here... 970sq. ft. and built in 1870... pretty old for GR. I'll definately be checking these out on the first warm day we get and see if I don't come across a few more.

On a semi related note: there was one place I tried to find again the other day... it was a really odd setup, and I remember riding past it occasionally when I lived on Portsmouth... but I can't find it now. It almost looked like a motel, except it appeared to be actual seperate residences all grouped together with a courtyard in the middle... kind of a white stucco/adobe looking construction maybe? Anyways, it looked quite old and quite unusual as it seemed that maybe it was servant's quarters or really early apartments? It was all on one level, and I believe the doors all faced into the middle courtyard. Anyone have any clue what I'm talking about? I think it may have been for sale/rent last year.

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On a semi related note: there was one place I tried to find again the other day... it was a really odd setup, and I remember riding past it occasionally when I lived on Portsmouth... but I can't find it now. It almost looked like a motel, except it appeared to be actual seperate residences all grouped together with a courtyard in the middle... kind of a white stucco/adobe looking construction maybe? Anyways, it looked quite old and quite unusual as it seemed that maybe it was servant's quarters or really early apartments? It was all on one level, and I believe the doors all faced into the middle courtyard. Anyone have any clue what I'm talking about? I think it may have been for sale/rent last year.

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I don't think that was it. I remember the place looking more English countryside or Spanish influenced, but I'm going to check out the place you mentioned at ground level and see if that could have been it. I thought it was more like Eastern and Grand or around the cemetary off Eastern perhaps? I could be completely wrong... this is all going on vague memory. I want to say it was in kind of a "bad" neighborhood, which made it stand out to me since it appeared to be really early and unusual contruction. I think it even had a shake roof, but this could be wishful thinking.

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I'm pretty sure you're talking about that one on Eastern. It was for sale a few years ago...could definitely use a face lift, but very interesting design. I think you're correct in calling it "Spanish"--that's what I would call it.

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Maybe the big old white farm house on Fuller near the SE corner of Cedar isn't all that off beat, but the fact that there is a farmhouse, a couple of barns and all the land in the middle of the city is.

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There is a little blue house in Ada, on Buttrick that has a sign out front that says it is from the 1840's. The person who owns it says that Buttrick is not the original location, it was moved at some time (I'm sure many moons ago). I was impressed at how old it is. It has to be one of the oldest still around this area.

Joe

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Maybe the big old white farm house on Fuller near the SE corner of Cedar isn't all that off beat, but the fact that there is a farmhouse, a couple of barns and all the land in the middle of the city is.

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There's a house in EGR around Argentina or San Lu Rae that is a complete remodel by some folks that work for Herman Miller, VERY modern euro, not a thing like it was before the remodel and nothing like anything in the neighborhood. Went though it when it was for sale sometime back, stunning inside! They showed some press clippings, so it has been written up.

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There's a large home on Plainfield, just south of 3 Mile Road, that I've always thought looked out of place with the rest of the neighborhood. The home sits on a property what appears to be the size of a city block and is bordered with brick piers and heavy chain.

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