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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Michigan Trust Building

Michigan Trust Building

GRHC - March 9th, 2011

Located at the corner of Ottawa and Pearl, this building was the tallest in the city/state and the first in Grand Rapids to be solely used for offices. It was completed in 1892, in the style of H. H. Richardson.    



The Michigan Trust Company, the first in the state, was formed in 1889. Two years later they began construction of their new building at the southeast corner of Ottawa and Pearl. That location had been the home and workshop of William Haldane, father of the Grand Rapids furniture industry. The home was demolished to make room for the tallest building, at that time, in both the city and the state.

The Michigan Trust Building was the first in Grand Rapids planned specifically as an office building.  Designed in the style of H. H. Richardson, it is considered one of the major works by architect Solon S. Beman, designer of many Chicago landmark buildings. The original ten-story Trust building was completed in 1892; in 1913 there were two additions on the south side of the building; and in 1928 a penthouse topped the structure.

The façade progresses in four stages from large Romanesque arched windows at street level to smaller windows at the top. Exterior materials are red sandstone, brick, and terra cotta. The building was as fireproof as imperishable materials could make it in its day—an important consideration for a company that planned to house customer’s treasures in its safe deposit boxes.

The interior woodwork was red oak, the corridors throughout were of English tile, and the bathrooms were finished in marble. The original elevators were hydraulic. The cost was $260,000.

The Michigan Trust Building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, still stands as a landmark structure in downtown Grand Rapids.



Full Details

TitleMichigan Trust Building
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, radio, Michigan Trust Building, Henry Hobson Richardson, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, Podcast
Pubdate StringMarch 9th, 2011

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