Friday, July 15, 2016

Great Lakes Shipping Company restaurant

So this one is a little late. I took quite a few photos for it with my "film"™ camera, a Minolta SR-T101, and it was a little while before they were developed. Anyway, lateness doesn't count so much on a retro blog right?

I got to go the Great Lakes Shipping Co for the first and last time May 27th, the day before they closed for good. It was very charming and historic and I really felt disappointed to hear it was closing, even though I'd never gone there. Quite a few places around this city have gone under due to not having enough business to keep going and when they'd close, I could feel mildly guilty for not supporting them. In this case, it seems like they were a victim of  "progress."  The historic building didn't fit with the plaza owner's vision of a bunch of generic concrete boxes I guess. Great Lakes had to either close or move and they couldn't afford to relocate.  Such a shame.

The restaurant is the longest-running tenant for Breton Village, built in 1971 and opening as The Starboard Tack by West Michigan restaurateur Richard DenUyl, who died in 2008. He opened nearly 20 restaurants in his career, including the Point West Inn overlooking Lake Macatawa in Holland.

I won't really get into trying to review the food. I am not somebody who frequents steak-houses and has high standards. My girl and I both got the "Surf and Turf" and drank some Old Fashions and we thought it was damn fine.  I'm sorry to see this place go but glad to have had the chance to experience it once before it's gone.

Here are photos from our visit. There's quite a lot. I was trying to capture as much as I could as something for people to see down the road after it has been demolished.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Renovating The West Side Signal Tower

I've always liked that old railroad signal tower on Bridge Street in front of El Sombrero restaurant.  A cool piece of history that has been there as long as I can remember.  Come to find out it's been there 125 years!
There is a ton of new development happening on the West Side lately and quite a bit of the old is leaving to make room for the new.  I am glad that some of the plans try to respect the history of the area.
The new owners of El Sombrero took down the old signal tower the other day with plans to restore it.  It'll be cool to see what they do with it...

Photos by Maxwell Crosby, We Are Westsiders

Monday, March 28, 2016

Schmidt's Show Bar

Here is another round of local archeology prompted by a postcard....

Another charming place from a bygone era. Check out the curved ceiling.

The address on the reverse shows 41-43 S. Division.  That would make this the recently demolished building that was Pub 43.

Once demolished, some 100+ year old signage for Battle Ax Tobacco was visible on the side of the building housing Republic next door!

Word is, Pub 43 is still looking for a new location to re-open. I really only ever had been in there once before but I do remember the curved ceiling....

I believe before Pub 43, it was called Joey's for a long time. Anyone out there have any knowledge of this place?

In it's day, Schmidt's looks like it could've been a happenin' spot!  Or maybe not, I have no idea. Cool building though!

Also, just wanted to say thanks for some of the kind comments from people enjoying the blog. It's good encouragement to keep it going.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Scottie's Lounge

Some Grand Rapids archaeology.

I found this postcard, showing this very charming looking place...

The address on the flipside put it on this pretty desolate South Division Corner. Can't really see any remnant...

Then I found this picture from 1950 of the same part of the street (GR Public Library collection)....

There it is, down on the right....

Never heard of "Scottie's Cocktail Lounge" but it looks pretty cute. Wish I could step into this photo and check it out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Wurzburg green stamp bank

This is a charming little green stamp bank I found at Eastown Antiques.
I sort of remember "green stamps" being around when I would go to some stores with my grandparents shopping. I imagine they were something like a paper version of the "rewards program" most places have nowadays. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

North Kent Mall fashion show!

God bless Susan Evangelista for posting this incredible video!  An awesome glimpse at 80s fashions and we get to take a trip back to North Kent Mall as well!  Wish I could step into this video right now, though I would probably sneak away from the fashion show and go blow quarters at Aladdin's Castle instead!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Some GR Retro-ness in this music video!

I'm glad to finally be able to present this music video I've been working on (on and off) for the last 4 months.  It's for the Grand Rapids synth-pop band Alexis for their song "Feel 4 U."

The video is an homage to something near and dear to me, the 90s public-access TV experience.  In particular, this is a semi-real/fictitious look at GRTV's closest thing to a superstar, The Great Daryl Nathan.  I was involved pretty heavily with public access through most of the 90s and often worked on Daryl's show. 

I really wanted the video to be both entertaining but have a heart. Daryl always seemed to me both a comic and tragic character. 

I was and still am a bit surprised this project ended up coming together!  Especially Joshua Burge wanting to play Daryl, with him pretty much on his way to Hollywood now. But he and everyone else getting into this and wanting to make it happen made it feel like I had a good idea worthy of everyone's time.  I'm happy with how it turned out and hope you enjoy....