Library Street is a cultural vortex, where theatre, library, park, church and music society meet. Here beautiful historic exteriors frame the restored and revitalized interiors of some of Grand Rapids most-frequented buildings.
Scroll down to see the buildings and learn more.
YMCA. Date: 1915. Design: Architects Robinson and Campau may have designed it in conjunction with an out-of-town firm of architects. The structure is brick with elaborate limestone and cornice details and Palladian windows. History: This new 1915 YMCA replaced the YMCA located in the Federal Square Building. It had residential rooms that could be rented in addition to the traditional facilities offered. One important figure in the building of the YMCA was William Hovey Gay, president at the time of both the Berkey & Gay Furniture Company and the Oriel Cabinet Company. He was involved in the planning of the building and raised the funds to make it possible. Today: In 2005, the building was purchased and restored by CWD as "The Fitzgerald" condominiums, named after an early settler, William Fitzgerald. The historic running track above the parking structure retained. From the Penthouse units you have a wonderful view of the Ryerson Library and Fountain Street Church.
The Ryerson Library, Grand Rapids Public LIbrary. Date: 1904. Design: Shepley, Butan & Coolidge, Architects designed Beaux Arts style exterior using milled Bedford, Indiana Limestone with an interior that features Italian Carrara marble steps and Italian marble for the wainscoting.. History: Prominent Chicago businessman and Grand Rapids native Martin Ryerson, provided the funds to build a new library downtown, aptly named the Ryerson Library. A modern addition was completed in 1969 and portions of the original building were closed. Today: The building was restored in 2003 by New York architects Hardy, Holzman, Pfeiffer, with the Grand Rapids firm Fishbeck, Thomas, Carr and Huber. It continues in use as the Grand Rapids Public Library.
Majestic Theatre. Date: 1903. Design: Colonial J. M. Wood designed the Majestic Theatre, completed in 1903. The interior was designed by the Echert Brothers of Chicago and supposedly had the extremely large stage area. It was brick structure that held 1,200 seats, with a main floor and two balconies. History: The theatre was designed for plays but later featured vaudeville, and then movies. It had a Barton Theatre Organ, used to entertain pre-and post- show, that was later sold to a Muskegon historic organ society, but was later sold off to private citizens. It was the last old theatre downtown, but was scheduled to be demolished in 1979, when it was saved by the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and restored along with the adjacent Botsford and Wenham Buildings. Today: The Civic Theatre continues its vibrant performance and teaching traditions. For lots of fun information about the Civic Theatre link here.
The Botsford Building. Date: Design: A. W. Rush & Sons . More information coming soon.
VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK
101 FULTON EAST: Veterans Memorial Park established 1833 and dedicated in 1926. Once known as the town square and site of traveling circuses and grazing cows (Fulton E. History Grand Rapids). Notable park features include the memorial pillars designed by architect Ralph Demmon and inscribed with the names of WWI veterans. Names of WWII, Korean & Vietnam veterans were added later. TODAY: Veterans Memorial Park is in the midst of major site improvements
St. Cecilia Music Society. Date: 1894. Design: By Henry R. Cobbs, Chicago Architect and on the National Registrar of Historic Buildings. Designed in the classic revival style with a facade divided into a sandstone base, a brick middle section and a cornice featuring a a terra cotta frieze decorated by cherubs with trumpets. A Tiffany window was added a year after the building was complete. History: Established in 1883 as St. Cecilia Society by 9 Grand Rapids women determined to “promote the study and appreciation of music in all its branches" and named for the legendary patron saint of music. TODAY: St. Cecilia
For more about the building link here: http://scmc-online.org/building-history/
First (Park) Congregational Church. Design: Building construction began constructed in 1867. The Tiffany style windows were installed between 1904 and 1938. In 1912, the steeple was replaced by a bell tower, and in 1917, the parish house was added for recreation space. A 90-seat chapel and office space were added in 1954 along Library Street, and a church school wing was added on the south, as well as the current bell tower. Today: The Church continues to be a strong downtown presence, has restored the windows and continues to improve this historic building.