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Ladies Literary Club

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1887, William G. Robinson; 1931 addition and remodeling, Rindge and Rindge. 61 Sheldon Blvd. SE

Six women who had met for a year to study history organized the Ladies Literary Association in 1870. The association incorporated in 1882 as the Ladies Literary Club with the goal of “promoting literary, educational and scientific pursuits and to establish and maintain a library.” The club built this comfortable, residential-scaled meeting house in 1887 to the designs of Robinson, who was obviously influenced by the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Robinson (1835–1907) was a pioneer Grand Rapids architect who came from Niagara Falls in 1865. The front two-story hipped-roof portion with characteristic round-arched openings has a one-story rear section. The former contains the foyer and the library, with meeting rooms above; the latter holds the four-hundred-seat auditorium. The club is constructed of Amherst, Ohio, bluestone trim and Grand Rapids pressed brick with terra-cotta trim. The south window of the library, illustrating the Casket Story in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, was designed and executed by Tiffany Studios in 1915. In 1931, Rindge and Rindge added the south entrance wing, which contained a new stage.

In October 2006, due to dwindling membership, the Ladies Literary Club voted to give its historic property to Calvin College. The college will improve the building for continued use in cultural programming. Cornerstone Architects is planning the rehabilitation.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Ladies Literary Club", [Grand Rapids, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 254-254.

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