Grand Rapids is a town rich in history.
It is the home town to Fredrick Meijer, the founder of Meijer Thrifty Acres. Now just known as Meijer.
For those that are unaware, the story goes that one day, Fredrick was shopping at a K mart and received very lousy service. So bad in fact, that he decided to open his own store where the customer always came first. He was initially a barber by trade and would cut men's hair a little shorter than they wanted, with the reasoning that he wanted them to get their monies worth. He carried that through to his stores too. It started out just a Michigan thing and now, Meijer's can be found across the country. They are even rivaling Walmart. For the longest time, we didn't have Walmart in Michigan because of Meijer and Kmart being so prevalent. (Kmart corporate headquarters was in Troy, Michigan before it sold out to Sears).
Everywhere you go in that town you see the names of the people that started those two companies.
But that's not all that's from Grand Rapids. There is Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks and Steelcase furniture located there as well.
The city was in existence before Michigan was even a state. And the history shows it.
As you all know, I am a nut for history and architecture. So, for my birthday, my wonderful husband got us tickets to a walking tour of the Heritage Hill District, downtown.
We were able to tour homes built from 1840 to about 1920.
It's amazing what you could do with your money, when you didn't have to pay income taxes. Some of these homes are just way too big and ornate for anyone to keep up so often they came with a full staff upon purchase.
Unfortunately post World War 2, many of the homes were split up into apartment buildings and many remain that way today.
Yet, other homes have either remained single family homes or been restored to their once grand status in the community.
For the most part, I was enjoying the outside fretwork, more than the interiors.
The Historic Society maintains that the house must remain of original styling outside. But the insides, obviously needed to be updated for modern living.
But, I'd probably end up with the one that needs all the restoration done to it still.
We were each given a set of booties to wear on our feet so we didn't track up these folks homes. They looked rather silly, but I understand.
It's my goal to have the kitchen finally finished by the end of summer. (It's only been over a year already)
And NO, you haven't seen the best part (for me) yet.