A Grand Rapids Look Back, and Where Are They Now?
It's fun to look back at the Grand Rapids of yesterday and see where we have come and what has become of some true landmarks of downtown.
For instance, the replacement of the old “5-globe” streetlights with brighter and more efficient streetlights. Although cool looking, they didn't provide much light. So they were replaced and this all began way back in 1928.
My friend, David Morgenstern, who seems to have turned into a Grand Rapids historian, posed the question about the picture above. Where exactly was this and what has happened to the old buildings? Have they been torn down? Still there? Yes and no is the answer.
The large building (“Parisian Dye House”) has been a parking lot for many years, but in its day, it housed the “Kenwood Hotel & Apartments in the early 1920s.
But, what about the white building right next door? In its day the “Dent Barber and Beauty Supply Co." was there from 1920 to at least 1933. It also had the “Oriental Perfume Cabinet Company” as an occupant. In 1933 the Miller Press Printing moved in.
Then what? Fast-forward to 1953 and, if you were around then, what do you remember? How about shoes? Yep, one of the best shoe stores in Grand Rapids, Hoekstra Shoe Company with "Free" parking. Of course, that was all before the big malls were built, Woodland and Eastbrook. Hoekstra Shoes sadly went out of business in 1988.
Now, fast forward to today. What is standing there? One of downtown Grand Rapids' best and most popular restaurants. It’s Rockwell Republic!