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Heritage Hill

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1840–1920. Bounded by Michigan, Union, Jefferson, and Lafayette aves., Pleasant St., and Claremont Pl.
  • 143 Lafayette Avenue NE (Photograph by Catherine Boland Erkkila)
  • 145 Lafayette Avenue NE (Photograph by Catherine Boland Erkkila)

West Michigan's largest and finest concentration of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century houses lies in this residential district. It is located on the rise of ground on the east side of the Grand River valley overlooking and adjacent to the city's downtown area. The first houses were built here in the 1840s by people who wanted to avoid the river's recurring floods. Those who prospered as the city grew selected this area in which to build their grand houses, and, by the 1870s, the neighborhood was firmly established as the most prestigious residential section in Grand Rapids. Virtually every style of American domestic architecture, from Greek Revival to Prairie Style, is represented in this six-hundred-building district. Precipitated by the demolition of their splendid Victorian-era city hall in 1969, citizens formed the Heritage Hill Association and initiated plans to preserve these fine houses and their surroundings through the creation of the Heritage Hill Historic District, home-improvement citizen's action programs, and revolving fund programs. Their success is evident.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Heritage Hill", [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, 257-257.

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