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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Evening Press Building

Evening Press Building

GRHC - June 15th, 2011

In 1906, Albert Kahn, Detroit's leading architect, was commissioned to design a new building for downtown Grand Rapids. He designed one of the most unique and artistic buildings solely for newspaper use, and it was meant to complement the Ryerson Public Library across Fulton St. Park.    



The task of planning the new Grand Rapids Evening Press building in 1906 was placed in the hands of Albert Kahn, Detroit’s leading architect. Kahn designed a classical building in the Beaux Art style. No doubt he was influenced by the architecture of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago.

Described as ‘one of the most unique and artistic buildings solely for newspaper use,’ Kahn’s design was a massive four-story structure intended to complement the Ryerson Public Library across Fulton Street Park. Constructed using the Kahn system of reinforced concrete, it was faced with Bedford limestone – the same rusticated stone used for the library. The main entrance, featuring a seven-ton keystone, was elaborately hand-carved. Bronze doors led to the main office, an open area 56 feet square, with polished white Vermont marble walls, columns, and counters; the woodwork was mahogany. A stairway of polished Italian and white Vermont marble led to the upper floors, which were finished with mahogany and oak.

Kahn, who died in 1942, is internationally known for his industrial architecture. Because he practiced in Detroit, he designed many well-known buildings for the auto industry. One of his most famous buildings is the Art Deco styled Fisher Building in Detroit.

Many of Kahn’s buildings have been recognized with Michigan Historical markers, including the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News buildings. We can no longer include an Albert Kahn building on our list of historical architecture. Ironically, about 1969 this landmark was demolished to accommodate the automobile. It became a parking lot.



Full Details

TitleEvening Press Building
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, Evening Press Building, newspapers, Albert Kahn, Fulton St, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, Podcast
Pubdate StringJune 15th, 2011

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