Saturday, November 5, 2016

Some ancient civilization is visible while they're working on this building downtown...

I was walking downtown and came upon some work being done on the 50 Monroe building.  When I moved here in the 80s I remember it being white with mirrored windows. At some point in the last few years it was redone to charcoal. Right now it looks like some of the exterior has been removed and underneath some very old architecture is revealed! ....

So from what I could find, this is actually three buildings joined together, dating from 1890 to 1911. 
It once looked like this:

And also this....

Here you can see the "Chic University" sign which is partially visible in the new photos above.
Apparently the reason the pieces of building are being removed is that the building was recently purchased by a real estate company 4 1/2 years ago and they are considering historic renovation.  That would be pretty amazing if they could bring it back to looking like it did in these old photos!

Anyway, I really like "Elliot's News Stand" that still resides in the building and has for 30 years.  I often stopped in there for a coffee and donut and sometimes a copy of "Heavy Metal."  I hope they are able to continue.

Also, apparently Chic University of Cosmetology still exists.  I was aware of them because a couple girls I knew in the 80s were going there but also, it seemed like they were running TV ads all the time.  I actually found one of them on one of my VHS copies of Pepsi Dance Trax.

Here, I uploaded it to youtube for you...

1 comment:

  1. Moe (GR native now on the west coast)December 15, 2016 at 6:55 PM

    I remember when the green and white facade went up. I watched it happen day by day for nine months--my bus ride from the SE side to Zoo School took me past it every morning. That would have been 1985-1986. (Another show going on at the same time was the demolishing of the old (furniture?) factories on Fulton, where the VanAndel Arena and the GVSU downtown campus now stand.)

    So many great downtown GR buildings were covered up in the 60s, 70s, and 80s to make them look more "modern." Back then, they were considered outdated eyesores. Now, they make developers just about wet their pants with joy. Lots of those facades have come off in the last 20 years, and I'm so glad to see this one coming off now!

    Another great facade removal was the NW corner of Division and Monroe. If you have the book "Grand Rapids Then and Now," you can see what it looked like when it was a Revco Drugstore. Blech. I can't believe there was a time when that kind of thing was considered more attractive than all that beautiful stone and brick work. (If you DON'T have the book "Grand Rapids Then and Now," drop what you're doing immediately and go find it.)