The Town Hall (adjacent to City Park) was built in 1898 to house government offices, a
jail, and an opera house for those seeking a higher degree of refinement. Grand
Rapids became known as one of the finest facilities on the theatrical circuit.
Besides plays, many other fancy affairs were held there, and if you give your imagination
a little play, you can see ladies in long, flowing dresses stepping down from
buggies. Escorted by properly dressed gentlemen, they hustle inside for an evening
of quality entertainment. The building has been placed on the National Register of
Historical Places. Here we also pass one of two full service marinas servicing the
community, one with a newly constructed boat docking area.
The end of Front Street is where the Huffman Ice House used to stand on the quarry. In
the winter the Huffmans and other men in the community cut ice from the quarry and stored
it in the ice house to use in the summer. The ice was packed in saw dust to keep it
The Wichman House
Now standing at the end of Front Street is a fine example of adaptive reuse.
The main part of the Wichman House is an old granary that Mr. Wichman rescued from its
country location. It still has bin marks on the interior walls. The rear
portion of the house was another farm building. That now serves as a garage.
The enclosed porch on the west side, still another farm building in its former life, has
original beams. These three old buildings, knuckled together, create an outstanding
house that is beautifully decorated to represent a country motif.
The former Sisters of Thurston B & B Nestled In the Trees
Turning left on Beech Street, at the intersection of Beech and Second Streets on the
South side are two old homes. The one on the left is the former Sisters of Thurston Bed and
Breakfast, so named for the Thurston family who lived there for many years. It was
built by Dr. Mead.
The Gabriel Guyer House
Looking to the right, the house you see is reputed to be the oldest house in Grand
Rapids. It was built by Gabriel Guyer, but has been added on to in recent years.
The Jacob Heeter House
A right turn onto Second Street brings you to the Jacob Heeter House, also known as
the Ginger Bread House. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this
house was built in the 1870s and architecturally is Gothic Revival in style.
The house was renovated beginning in 1990. It has a spacious lawn in the rear which
complements the lovely plantings in the front.