Where Are They Now? An Amazing Piece of Grand Rapids History!
As Grand Rapids continues to grow, change and develop, I'm finding more interesting pieces of Grand Rapids history, such as the old Voigt Milling Company.
The milling company was downtown at a busy dirt road intersection of Pearl, Front and Canal streets, as you can see with the wagon driver. Voigt Milling was famous for their Crescent Flour that was sold around the country.
They had been in business for nearly 60-years, 1896 to 1955, seen here. But Voigt had been running the mill in the mid to late 1800s before owing it in partnership with W. G. Herpolsheimer. The also owned a dry goods business, Voigt and Herpolsheimer. The two decided to split in the early 1900s with Voigt taking over the mill and Herpolsheimer keeping the dry good business, which a lot of us remember grew to become one of the largest department stores in Michigan, Herpolsheimer's!
Who doesn't remember the Herpolsheimer's train!
Carl Voigt, in the mean time, built a beautiful home in what is now the Heritage Hill district of Grand Rapids, on College Avenue. He passed away in 1908 but the family continued to operate the mill and live in the opulent home Carl had built.
The last of the Voigt's, Ralph, died in 1972 and the home became a public museum operated by the Grand Rapids Public Museum. It is now closed except for some possible special occasions.
It's still easy to find since it is right across the street from WOOD-TV 8!
Herpolsheimer's we know has sadly faded away, but what has happened to the old milling company? What happened to that old dirt road location?
Take a look! Pretty familiar, huh?
This is the same view as the horse drawn wagon. All those buildings were torn down to make way for the 131 Expressway in 1960-61. By 1981 the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum opened it's doors and some years later the new downtown YMCA along with the downtown campus of GVSU opened.
And the rest is history.
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