Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Down with the Old

I love old things. I especially love old architecture.

So it has been hard for me to go on my walks with Lucy and Olivia lately, because every day we walk by the old school two blocks behind our house and watch as it gets razed.

In 1924ish Grand Rapids Public Schools built what was then Ottawa Hills High School. It eventually became Iroquois Middle School until 2005, when it was closed due to budget issues. In 2008 Grand Rapids Christian Schools purchased the property for use as an elementary school (they're consolidating four of their elementaries into this one). Apparently their construction gurus decided that the upkeep on the 200,000 square foot building would be more expensive than tearing it down and building a new one.


That place is an important part of the historic Ottawa Hills Neighborhood, which butts into our backyard. One day last week as we were walking by the school, an old man approached on his bicycle. He said to me, "I went to high school there! It's crazy..." He then watched as the backhoes tore into the brick walls. Poor guy. I saw photos on mlive.com about one last openhouse for the school (which I didn't know about! Argh!) and there was an image of an older guy walking the halls and wearing with his old Ottawa Hills letterman sweater. It was sad to me--even though I know that you can't keep everything the way it was.

I unfortunately do not have photos of the cool architectural detail of this building, but I found this one on the web. On a positive note, they are removing these stones and not including them in the demolition. Perhaps the new school will be using them:

Here are some shots I have taken as we walk by:

See, even Olivia is unhappy about this:


Michigan Girl said...

What a shame to lose such a beautiful old building.


Melissa said...

"She's even cute when she's serious." - Derek