CHERRY STREET TOUR!
Travel west to east up Cherry Street in this virtual tour to see the rich layers of 100 years of Grand Rapids architectural history from historic mansions to mid-century commercial on one vibrant street!
Cherry Street is an amazing street. Throughout Grand Rapids history, this street been home to the estates of many of Grand Rapids most prominent citizens. The street runs east to west, and is the next main street south of the Fulton Street Corridor and north of Wealthy Street.
It's a great walk! This relatively short stretch of Cherry Street has an eclectic representation of architectural styles from lovely old homes to early and mid-twentieth century apartment buildings to commercial office buildings and galleries and small parks and monumental buildings. One example is the D.A. Blodgett Home for Children, now the Inner City Christian Federation. The virtual tour below gives you an idea of the richness of the architecture and brief descriptions of the history of each home and building. Keep scrolling down to enjoy this walk through Grand Rapids architectural history. More buildings will be added to this list as the research continues.
To link to the Cherry Street Tour in a Google map format link here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wP3BKtevHJOUrVHjPJ6OY7f9dDY&usp=sharing
U.S. POST OFFICE/DOUGLAS J. AVEDA INSTITUTE
138 COMMERCE SW (25 CHERRY STREET): U.S. Post Office, Parcel Post Building, 1927 designed by the U.S. Post Office Building Department and constructed by Osterink & Vos. The combination one- and two-story brick, concrete and steel structure has a 138-foot-long facade fronting Cherry Street SW, a public entrance on the west end (lower left of photo) for the walk-in Post Office branch, and loading docks were located on the Commerce Street. The main floor was creosote wood blocks laid on end over concrete, with "more resilience to rend them less tiring to workers than a hard floor." Another point noted was the refrigerator room with a "refrigeration machine. " The second floor was mostly rest rooms, a lounge and shower room for the 50 employees. In addition to the large windows visible in the photo, there was a skylight that provided more eye-saving illumination and the fixtures and switchboard were proclaimed of the new safety type. Postmaster Robert G. Hill hosted a public open house at the new facility on Monday, November 7, 1927 so that the public could see the full operation. (Grand Rapids Herald, Sunday, November 6, 1927.) Renovated in 2006. TODAY: Douglas J. Aveda Institute.
143-145 CHERRY SE: The Dayton Apartments, 1914, originally owned by R. C. Dayton of Rinelander, Wisconsin, was designed by Frank Allen and Son and built by L.C. Parmenter, Contractor. The three-story building has a facade of old mission brick by S. A. Mormon & Company, with a classic center-front entry with columns and pediment roof overhang. Safety was emphasized and the building had a new automatic sprinkling system, quite innovative at the time. Each unit featured six rooms and the front apartments have a three-part bay window. The first floor apartments were finished in oak trim, second floor in red brick and third floor in silver elm according to an article in the Grand Rapids Herald. Dining rooms were painted, baths were riled and there was a "disappearing telephone booth in each." The Chandelier Shop furnished the elaborate lighting fixtures. TODAY: Apartments
LAFAYETTE MEDICAL BUILDING
153 LAFAYETTE: The Lafayette Medical Building designed by architect E. John Knapp, A.I.A., 1960. It received an Honorable Mention Award for Commercial - Industrial Buildings from the West Michigan Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Architect E. John Knapp employed his signature four-foot module adapted from Japanese design, to create the basic two-story structure of four by four sections. He incorporated an outdoor courtyard to the lower level and connected the two floors with a ramp and a stylish open stairway on the exterior. The multi-level structure was given more of a horizontal feel by placing one floor below grade. He completed the building with a bold mid-century modern "lattice style" concrete block wall that reinforced the building's low horizontal orientation. HISTORY: O'Bryon & Knapp Architects were commissioned by Edward Thompson, an anesthesiologist at St. Mary's Hospital, to design the medical office building at the corner of Cherry SE and Lafayette. When it came time to choose materials for the facade, Knapp listed several possibilities to Thompson. The idea he liked best was tile, so they went to Detroit to see an Italian tile-maker, work out the design concept and pick the tiles. The tile-maker, who Knapp remembers as a "very small wiry man," made up the tiles in a modular format measuring 4 x 8 feet. He brought the tiles to Grand Rapids and installed them himself. TODAY: The vacant building is vacant, had fire damage, and is in dire condition.
CARRIAGE HOUSE/KRAAYEVELD LAW OFFICES
300 STATE STREET: This former carriage house was once part of an estate at 240 Lafayette, architect unknown. HISTORY: The estate at 240 Lafayette was purchased around 1884 by the Little Sisters of the Poor and became their convent and carriage house. The convent property, by then part of the St. Mary's Campus, was torn down in 1971. By the 1980's St. Mary's wanted to use the land for a parking lot and thanks to the efforts of the Heritage Hill Association, the carriage house was saved and moved in 1997 with much fanfare to the empty lot on State Street. TODAY: In 2005, the Kraayeveld Law Offices bought and completed remodeled the structure into their own modern office building.
PRUDENTIAL BUILDING/LEASED FOR OFFICE SPACE
252 STATE STREET: Prudential Building, offices of the Grand Rapids District Office of the Prudential Life Insurance Company, 1957, built by Taylor B. Closterhouse. An old photo shows that the building originally had a Mondrian look with multi-color geometric panels. A second later photo shows the current more conservative pallet. HISTORY: The site originally was home to the Benjamin F. Jacobs house, built in 1853. Julius Houseman bought the house in 1890, and when he died in 1890, left it to his wife Hattie and daughter Jane. The house became the home of the Trading Post, an antique shop, before it was demolished for the current building. TODAY: Commercial building with offices
345 STATE: The State Building, 1956, architect unknown, George Datema & Sons, Inc., contractors. It was a yellow brick modern with a distinctive 2-story recessed entry placed at the building's corner. HISTORY: The modern commercial office building was occupied originally by the General Motors Acceptance Corporation and the Michigan Bell Telephone Company which leased the entire second floor for tits engineering department and the Yellow Pages advertising division.The men behind the project were Augie G. Busk (Ace Enterprises) and Carl Grimes and Earl Hess. with a land lease from Joseph A. Deeb and heirs of Michael Deeb. and subcontract from Walter W. Lyon. TODAY: Apartments. As part of the renovation, an additional building was constructed on Prospect and is connected to the main building by an glass-walled passageway.
DAVID WOLF HOME/RESIDENCE
350 CHERRY SE: David Wolf home, 1875, remodeled in 1924 by Alexander McColl working with Blakeslee Brothers Builders. This was a modernization of an older home with the addition of a new sun porch, large club room, three-stall garage and general remodeling throughout. New modern features included a new hot water system with oil burner and plumbing for three lavatories and two new bathrooms. The brick veneer exterior was stained a light fawn color set off by wrought iron work around the front porch and balcony. Tile insets, wood trim and shutters painted a dark color to harmonize with the exterior. TODAY: Private residence.
STUYVESANT APARTMENT BUILDING
401-413 CHERRY SE: Built for Ben H. Drollinger, Chicago, 1924. The plans were drawn up by J.S. Arnor, Chicago architect. Arnor also designed the Regent Theatre also in Grand Rapids. This brick building with distinctive stone trim and door surrounds was designed as a 106 unit apartment building with a unique Chicago style 44-foot wide inner courtyard. Street level is designated as mixed-use. HISTORY: The original design included studios and apartments called suites with a living room, bedroom, closet and kitchenette. The smallest units had an "In-a-door" bed. The building was always designed for mixed-use with six ground-floor stores, and a basement with laundry and store rooms. (GRH 2-3-1924) The Stuyvesant is located on property originally the site of a home owned by D. A. Blodgett, and through his estate by son, John W.. Blodgett. (GR Herald 3-9-1923). TODAY: Apartments
MID-CENTURY COMMERCIAL BUILDING
415 CHERRY SE: A stunning example of mid-century modern commercial design, designed and built in 1960 by James Bronkema, a young star of the Grand Rapids Builders association, who became president at age 25. Bronkema built anywhere from 150-200 homes and buildings in Grand Rapids, but it is his homes that have received the most attention from the public. The three Cherry Street commercial buildings in this tour (415, 425, 645) were designed and built by Bronkema. Designed as a split level with a facade of brick and two large glass curtain walls framed in metal, one stepping forward from the other. The interior features a floating staircase connecting the two levels (3192 square feet on the main level and 896 on the ground level) and walls of beautiful wood panelling. Bronkema followed the philosophy that with an interior of natural materials like stone, brick, glass and wood, there was little need for applied decoration. HISTORY: The building was owned by local builder Harold Albert and Harriet Martin. Today: The building is the Pregnancy Resource Center.
MID-CENTURY COMMERCIAL BUILDING
425 CHERRY SE: James Bronkema designed this mid-century modern commercial building in 1958. The multi-level structure is distinguished by a dramatic massing of sections clad alternatively in wood, stone, metal framed glass and panels. Perfect for separate offices, the building had a street level glass entry and a raised recessed entry reached by front steps. HISTORY: The records for the land go back to 1834 when Eurothan Parmele Hastings obtained a "government patent" on it. It would later become the home site of Theron Goodspeed, who was a Director of the National Bank of Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Trust Company, and started a number of businesses from shoe stores to the American Paper Box Company and the Sanitary Milk Company. When the current building was completed, the first tenants were the Apparatus Sales Division of General Electric Company managed by Merritt Lawrence. TODAY: Renovated commercial building
GENERAL ISRAEL O. SMITH HOUSE (Gone)
435 CHERRY SE (gone): House for Gen. Israel O. Smith by William Williamson, 1893. HISTORY: The home had a colonial design and the site had many shade trees in a neighborhood of wide lawns -- "a neighborhood where every home is a mansion." The hall was finished in oak, the large library and sitting room were finished in prima vera, the reception hall was painted with white enamel and dining room was done in mahogany. The upstairs rooms were trimmed in pine finished in tinted enamel. Downstairs rooms could be opened up into one large apartment. The home was full of cosy nooks, pretty corners and romantic window seats, and there was an . extra large attic for dancing. The first event after the house was completed was a house warming party for their son, Morton Fitz Smith before he returned to West Point at the end of his vacation. The exterior was clapboard with ornate chimneys, a stone base and columns. (GR Democrat 7-23-1893)
435 CHERRY SE: The Halloran Building, 1958, is a one-story moderne building with a slightly art deco look. Architect is unknown. The light-colored Roman brick facade has a projecting center front with a distinctive stone trim piece above the canopied glass entry. The entry is flanked by single pane storefront windows. HISTORY: The building is located on the site of the old Barnhart house, 1900. When the current building was completed in 1958, it housed the father-son detective office of John M. Halloran and Lionel C. Halloran respectively. TODAY: The Harrison Eye Center
DAMON HATCH REISDENCE
445 CHERRY SE: The Damon Hatch Residence, 1844, is an excellent example of early Greek Revival style with a graceful row of fluted Greek columns across the full-length front porch which has a tiled ceiling and floor imported from Wales.. The front windows are full height and the exterior facade is river limestone taken from the Grand River shoals, a material considered both cheap and durable. The house is made more interesting by its various hip roofs and small gable dormers. The grounds originally extended from Cherry to Washington, west of College, and there was only one other home in the vicinity. HISTORY: The Hatches were prominent citizens, but their daughter Rose was lost in the shipwreck Alpena on Lake Huron. The house changed hands and the third owner H. B. Childs broke up the extensive property and platted the land into smaller lots. In 1903 the home was purchased by C.B. Judd who had it remodeled by Williamson & Crowe. They claimed that the remodel would be to a bungalow style. One major change is that flanking wings were added on both sides of the original house, continuing the symmetry of the original house. The interior was finished in mahogany and other expensive woods. Contractor was J. B. Westra. TODAY: Medical Offices
GILBERT BROTHERS PALACE/MORRIS MANOR
434 CHERRY SE: The 3-story villa, 1858, architect unknown, was first known as the the Gilbert Brothers Palace. This is an elaborate Italianate villa originally of brick that has been covered with many layers of paint, and with a tiered three-story tower complete with balcony ornate window trim throughout. Once an ornate fountain stood on the lawn. HISTORY: Robert Morris bought the home from the Gilberts, it became known as the Morris Manor and that name stuck. Morris was a part owner in a steamer that traveled between Muskegon and Chicago, and actually became the Muskegon mayor for six years before buying the house in 1865 for $45,000. He died only a year later, and his widow Sara Morris not only remained a popular hostess entertaining there for many years, but also sold off many of the lots where important Heritage Hill homes were built. TODAY: Apartments
455 CHERRY SE: The Castle, 1884-86, designed by W. G. Robinson for brothers Colonial E. Croften Fox and his brother Charles Fox, who made their fortune in lumbering. They reportedly wanted to "live like kings." The Michigan Historic Marker erected in 1979 reads: "Designed by local architect William G. Robinson, this castle-like edifice was constructed in 1884-86 for Colonel E. Crofton Fox and his brother Charles. Built of granite block imported from Scotland, this house is a fine example of Chateauesque Style architecture. A Heritage Hill landmark, this house features leaded and stained glass windows, and a metal stair dormer superbly crafted to resemble stone. Its interior is adorned with parquet flooring in the entry hall and a carved oak staircase. It was refurbished as a restaurant in 1978." TODAY: The Castle is home to Stonecastle Denitistry who's motto is "The art is in the details."
115 COLLEGE SE: The Voight House, 1895, was designed by William G. Robinson. This is an elegant Victorian mansion in the Chateauesque style, and it contains the Voight family's original furnishings, personal items and clothing. There are back stairs for the servants and fabric wall-hangings and when the house was open for tours, and they used to have teas, they used the original family china. The house demonstrates a turn-of-the century style of life for the wealthy. HISTORY: The Voights owned a flour mill on the Grand River, on the site of the Public Museum. My husband's grandfather, John VanderVeen, sold flour, and was occasionally summoned by Mr. Voight to meet with him at the house. TODAY: Managed by the Public Museum, the home is not open for tours.
HILLMOUNT APARTMENTS/HILLMOUNT CONDOMINIUMS
505 CHERRY SE: The Hillmount Apartments were designed by Emil Zillmer in 1937. Building was delayed, due to wartime material shortages, until 1949 and in 1951, the first occupant moved in. The six story BTRICK fireproof structure features art deco details more in keeping with the 1920's and 30's than the 1950's, when it was completed. Distinctive features include the wrap around steel windows, horizontal brick trim courses at the top of the building, and a modern full-story glass entry wall with a curved metal roof overhang. HISTORY: This was the site of the Aldrich estate, the residence of Mayor Aldrich (1860's) who was the son-in-law of William Ledyard. and built the Cornerstone Building, at the corner of Monroe Center and Ottawa, the oldest surviving commercial building downtown In the 1920's Sundial Park, Grand Rapids smallest park, was located on the southwest corner of the property and dedicated to the Aldrich family. The symbol of the park, a small statue holding a sundial, has disappeared, and to date, has not been located. TODAY: Hillmount Condominiums, developed in 2006 by Second Story Properties.
TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY/CLINIC OFFICES
CHERRY: Travelers Insurance Company, 1950's, architect unknown. This is a large brick commercial building with a massive glass entry wall projecting from the center of the building. HISTORY: Site of the Mayor George Ellis Home, known as a "broker, banker and politician." (Pen Club Magazine, February 1956). Previous to that it was the George Metz residence. TODAY: Clinic offices.
THOMAS FRIANT HOUSE
601 CHERRY SE: Thomas Friant House, 1895, was designed by A.W. Rush & Son, an early Grand Rapids father-in-son architect partnership. The Friant home is a massive stone structure of Richardson Romanesque style with a steep gable porch roof, stone columns and chimney, and a large Romanesque rounded arch covering the porte cochere. There are leaded glass transom windows and a two-story projecting tower with a conical roof. A large coach house goes with the property. HISTORY: Original interior details include oak trim and floors, decorative plaster ceilings, dramatic staircase with ornate banister detailing, a fireplace with ornate iron grate and ceramic tile and a library and master bedroom in the first and second floors of the tower. The dining room features included an oak coffered ceiling, quarter sawn oak wainscoting and built-ins with beveled glass. Two bathrooms included gas fireplaces. A ballroom with leaded glass windows was located on the third floor. Thomas Friant, a leading citizen of the city, was a self-made man who his fortune in lumber, and had lumber interests and a ranch in California. TODAY: The restored home became the residence of Heritage Hill Historic District advocate Mayor John Logie and artist wife Susan Logie.
600 CHERRY SE: The Metz house, a large Queen Anne style house completed in 1888. Typical of the Queen Anne style, the house has a rusticated stone foundation, and a main hip roof with decorative open balustrade on top. On the east side is a three-story side projection with a gable roof and open pediment. The west side features a projecting three-story tower with a bell-shaped roof. There is an abundance of windows in varying shapes and sizes with ornate trim. HISTORY: The home was built for George Metz, owner of the Grand Rapids Leather Company. TODAY: The gracious home is a multi-unit apartment house.
Sanford's Folly/Wilmarth Homestead/Sanford House at Cherry Street
540 CHERRY SE: Lewis T. and Lavinia Wilmarth homestead, originally designed and built by first owner, Sanford in 1847. The massive colonial revival home features three prominent two-story columns anchoring a projecting front porch section with gable roof and classic Greek pediment with an elliptical window. The home is really cross gabled and the front door is asymmetrically placed. There are four window sets below and five above which gives the overall home a sense of symmetry. There is a pretty red brick chimney contrasting with the white exterior adding more of a colonial flavor. HISTORY: Originally known as Sanford's folly, the house was named for the owner Samuel Sanford, who hailed from the east coast, and designed and built it pretty much himself. Sanford was the first druggist in the city. He stopped work on it for a while but about 15 years later finished it. Today it is still original, and there is nothing really dated about this classic design remains The home was said to be haunted after two tragedies struck the early owners. Later owners Lewis and Lavinia Wilmarth completely remodeled the home, ending the "haunting." The Wilmarths placed the house in trust to be used as an education building after they were gone. They specifically reserved it for the Wolcott Kendall Memorial Art School (Kendall College of Art and Design) should the school decide to use it, TODAY: Sanford House at Cherry Street, Addiction Treatment Center.
New York Life Insurance Company/Lotz3Metz
645 CHERRY SE: This commercial building, 1956, is a fine example of self-trained architect James Bronkema's design style. James Bronkema was a forward thinking builder and designer of between 150-200 modern and ranch-style homes and commercial buildings in Grand Rapids. The multi-level flat-roofed building is beautifully arranged with an exterior facade that combines brick, panel and and an abundance of glass in true mid-century style. It features a side wall of glass and panel on the driveway side. Wide concrete sidewalk and steps provide a dramatic and rather classical approach to the building. Simple trim neatly completes the building's modern statement. HISTORY: The building was the home of New York Life when it was first constructed. TODAY: Lotz3Metz LLC, Architects
IBM BUILDING/DAVITA DIALYSIS
801 CHERRY SE: The IBM Building at 801 Cherry SE, may have been designed by M. Brice McMIllan and was completed in 1958. The large square building with a flat roof originally had a steel structure with a facade of first floor glass curtain walls, marble and brick. The basic structure remains intact although the glass configuration has been modified, and some of the marble has been painted. TODAY: It is now Davita Dialysis.
JUST DOWN THE STREET FROM CHERRY ON EASTERN IS 220 EASTERN AVENUE: The Apartments designed by J. & G. Daverman were constructed in 1920. as rooming house for Trolley Car conductors. TODAY: Apartments
THE PASADENA APARTMENTS
EASTERN AVE: Described as "a bit of California set down in Michigan," the Pasadena Apartments were designed by Harvey H. Weemhoff and constructed by George Vander Meer & Son for J. Lloyd Alexander on Eastern between Cherry and Lake. Considered one of Grand Rapids first bungalow apartment houses. Designed on slab, in a California Spanish style, the facade was of rough cast white cement plaster trimmed in reddish brick trim. Steel sash windows and a Creo-dipped roofing shingles in varigated colors complete the U-shaped exterior. Of the 8 apartments, 2 had a large open-hearth fireplace. Each unit had a tiled outdoor terrace separated with tiled floors and wrought iron railings. Sound-proofing was achieved with Gypsum block partitions with felt insulation provided sound proofing. Plants and shrubs of Spanish origin complete the ambience. Apartments were outfitted with "in-a-door beds." TODAY:: Just recently rennovated.
LOS ANGELES APARTMENTS
835 CHERRY SE: The Angeles Apartments, 1914, architect unknown was built by H. J. Burgraff for C. E. Bigelow, and named for his daughter. The two-story building of brick veneer, has a brick porch with rounded columns and a second floor balcony. HISTORY: The building was divided into four apartments, five rooms each. The apartments were thoroughly modern and elegant for the time, featuring tiled baths, oak trimmed main rooms, ivory painted bed chambers, art glass, a vacuuming system, shades and draperies by Herpolsheimers and custom designed lighting. The first occupants were newlyweds Adrian C. Johnson and wife. TODAY: Uptown Apartments
BUILDERS AND TRADERS EXCHANGE
822 CHERRY SE: The Builders and Traders Exchange, 1958, was designed by Donker Engineering (most likely by Russell Donker), near the corner of Cherry & Eastern.. The two-story brick and panel building is 100 feet wide by 56 feet. It replaced three razed apartment buildings formerly on the site. HISTORY: The land was purchased purchased by the exchange for $52,000. Contractor C.D. Barnes (Cleave D. Barners) formed a company named Jedco to construct the building and lease it back to the Exchange for ten years. The plan was for the Exchange to occupy the main floor and lease out the upper floors. Architect Wilifred McLaughlin was an early tenant, but died shortly after the building was completed. TODAY: The restoration of this building was led by Shayne Malone, principal of Malone Development, LLC. I They added two apartments to the 3,800 square feet of office space above.
Bullock-Walker Chemical Company/Richard App Gallery
910 CHERRY ST. SE: The Bullock-Walker Chemical Company, 1927, I. K. Parsons & Son, contractors. The one-story structure of fireproof construction has a facade of patterned brick with stone foundation, and trim, inscribed "Bullock." The center front arch with engaged columns and tile detail surrounds an elaborate recessed main door with sidelights and a Palladian window. On either side are two large matching plate glass windows. The front arch is echoed in arched side windows. TODAY: Richard App Gallery
S.H. METCALF & CO. MORTUARY/BREWERY VIVANT
933-935 CHERRY SE: S. H. Metcalf & Co. Mortuary, 1915, designed by architect John F. Smith, with John H. Hosken contractors. The English Tudor structure was meant to give the impression of a large elegant home. The facade is common brick and cement with decorative half-timbering for exterior trim. HISTORY: In the original structure, the downstairs included a chapel, showroom and office. There was a full-basement. The upstairs was a three-bedroom apartment with living room, sleeping porch, kitchen and enclosed balcony. Interior finishes were oak in the main rooms and white enamel in the morgue and bathrooms. All work was done by the Builders and Traders Association, offices just down the street (see 822 Cherry on this tour). TODAY: Renovated and enlarged for Brewery Vivant, a LEED Certified Craft Brewing Company with tap room and restaurant (Grand Rapids Herald 1914-4-12)
D.A. BLODGETT HOME FOR CHILDREN
920 CHERRY SE: Delos A. Blodgett Home For Children, 1908, designed by Asbury W. Buckley, Chicago architect. The restoration was completed by Rockford Construction in 2007. This massive three-story neoclassical building rests on a raised first level with a full-height portica supported by four enormous columns. The facade is a rose brick with terra cotta window trim, including the second floor windows that have elaborate half round terra cotta inserts and keystones. The deep terra cotta cornice has the building's name inscribed on it. Terra cotta fluted pilasters frame the building's corners. Inside, the original terrazzo flooring, cast iron staircase and quarter-sawn white oak wainscoting are some of the features preserved in this truly remarkable restoration. HISTORY: Delos A. Blodgett was known for his compassion, and he spared no expense in the building of this facility for orphans. The innovative facility was a national leader in child welfare. Even the Victorian gardens were planned for the well-being of the children and enjoyment of the residents. Opening ceremonies were attended by Congressman Nicholas Longwerth of Ohio and his wife Alice Rosevelt Longworth, daughter of former President Theodore Roosevelt. After being vacant for more than twelve years, the ICCF bought the building and began the restoration. TODAY: Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) has its offices in this LEED Certified historic building.
JOHN H. FRIDAY BUILDING/HEARTWOOD ANTIQUES
954 CHERRY SE: John H. Friday Building, 1919, is a remodel of an older 1900's storefront by architect Benjamin & Weemhoff and builder John H. Friday. The facade is dark red rough text rug brick with large storefront windows are set in an attractive black tile base on either side of the center entrance, with small pane transom windows above. The low pitch red tile mansard roof sits above a colonial style cornice with dental molding. The original stepped-up entrance was lowered to street level in the remodel. The double door entry is glass with wood frame and transom. TODAY: Heartwood Antiques and apartments above.
BOULEVARD HOUSE/BRICKS & MORTAR, HOTEL VENUS, APARTMENTS
951-953 CHERRY S.E.: The Boulevard House, 1870 is a three-story imposing yellow brick building with tall narrow Italianate windows. It overshadows the other mainly one-story commercial buildings on this stretch of the block between Eastern and Diamond. HISTORY: The Boulevard House was also known as the Halfway House because it was supposedly halfway between Grand Rapids and Reeds Lake in the early days of the city. A scene of drinking, political "caucusing", prize fights featuring well-known fighters and dog fights, the place was finally closed up. When the area was incorporated into the city of Grand Rapids, the city fathers were able to put an end to the popular party spot when the Boulevard House attempted unsuccessfully to get a liquor license. TODAY: Newly renovated apartments, Hotel Venus Hair Salon.
UPTOWN CHERIE INN/CHERIE INN
969 CHERRY SE: The Cherie Inn was designed by Roger Allen, 1937. The facade was black structural glass, heavy aluminum moldings, plate glass and the new glass block. The air-conditioned interior was described as having a "luxurious setting" in the Grand Rapids Mirror, Fall, 1937. HISTORY: The owner was John P. Honton. It was a favorite eating spot, and in 1942, my mother-in-law had dinner there following her wedding and before my husband's father left for Officer's Training School in World War II. TODAY: The exterior has changed, but the Cherie Inn continues to be a popular breakfast spot in an iconic section of Cherry Street.
963 CHERRY ST. SE: Beecher Theatre designed by Pierre LIndhout, 1914. Beecher owned a number theatres around town including Beecher's Surprise on Michigan. This building was to be 43 x 96 square feet and was a two-story, fireproof building constructed of steel, tile and brick. Joseph Cobur is the owner. The building contract was award to Joseph Nordella.
OLD KENT BANK BRANCH/METAL ARTS STUDIO
978 CHERRY SE: Old Kent Bank Branch, 1958. A recent restoration is complimentary to the original design. TODAY: Metal Art Studio.