Thursday, June 7, 2012

Grand Rapids before and afters...

Some historic photos around the Grand Rapids area matched with ones from modern day...

(click photos to enlarge)

Michigan Ave. 1936 vs. today

Immanuel St. James church on the left is the only building in common. I believe it is a protected historic landmark or I suppose it would've been bought out by Spectrum's expansion long ago.

One of my facebook friends, Chris Cole actually had some interesting memories of it...

"They tried to buy up the property back when I was in 6th grade-ish... I remember before that huge building went in it was the residency slums for the hospital...  Steam heated was that whole building... and it would sound like someone was beating the crap out of the pipes in the basement every time they fired up... Then come summer we all baked like potatoes in the class rooms..."

Also, if you magnify the picture and look closely on the left side, a Red Lion restaurant is visible. Had no idea they were around so long! 

1950s vs today

 A little gas station which is now a car dealership on 28th st, just West of the 28th exit on 131. Gas 24 cents, cigarettes 26! All the old signs sure had neat typography.
The "Red Barn" there is no relation to the porno theater that once existed on the SE side of 28th, although a strange coincidence.

 More time travel

 Burton Heights area. Division near Burton, 1952ish.. 

And here is downtown, Michigan and Monroe, 1958.

If any trend is visible here, I'd say it's that things seem to have become more boring-looking. But I suppose that's coming from the POV of somebody that prefers old-timey stuff.


  1. Nancy Mc Carty PoissonNovember 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    My father grew up in the large house right next door to Immanual St. James church on Division. I remember it well. Still see some of the back yard behind the retaining wall just below the Van Andel institue.

  2. Architecturally, we lost a lot.... just look at those pics... But, one thing that is nice is the amount of green in the recent pictures, i dont see a single tree in those old timey pics...

  3. so, what will happening 20 years from now