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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...



This solid block and fire-brick theater was built in 1912-13 by Beecher, and first appears in the city directory as Beecher's in 1914. Also known for some time as Beecher's Division, it was renamed as the Franklin sometime after 1920. It was operated at least for a time by G. Glenn Fleser and Charlie Callaghan; and by Beecher's, Inc. In 1936, the ownership was equally divided between G.L. Willer and H.B. Boshoven. Lot 449, Doran's Plat 15. The lot size was 40' x 103', and the building size 39' x 103', for a total square footage of 4,017. There was a 17' ceiling. The 8' x 25' marquee hung 9' above the sidewalk. The original stoker furnace and steam heat had been replaced by 1967 with gas heat and 2 forced air furnaces. There was a hardwood floor over a concrete foundation, with a tile floor in the lobby. The building had steel girders and wood joists, and a tar and gravel roof. The walls and ceiling were plastered. At the rear, the theater was served by an alley and a loading area, and there was a small basement, 12' x 25' with a concrete floor. There were two toilets and lavatories, and one urinal. By June, 1953, it had been remodeled into a night club, “The Rose Room.” The old 10' x 6' stage was torn out and replaced with a small raised platform. In 1959, the front of the building was completely remodeled and decorated with a tan brick and stone trim. It served for several years in the 1960's as Muhammad's Temple of Islam No. 61, affiliated with Muslim leader Elijah Muhammad of Chicago. The 1967 owner was John Sneed, 501 Henry S.E. 49503. The assessed valuation in 1967 was $15,200, but the asking price was $60,000. In 1978, Amos Nordman of Marne sold the building to the Grace Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, with Rev. Jake Lipsey as pastor.

Full Details

Address814 Division AVE S 49507
CreatorFather Dennis Morrow
Also Known AsBeecher's, Beecher's Division

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