Welcome to Architecture Grand Rapids where you will find guided architectural tours, stories about homes and buildings, interesting neighborhoods, classic and modern architectural styles, and a growing list of architects and contractors who created the built environment in Greater Grand Rapids and neighboring cities between 1850-1980.
If you are on Cherry Street it is impossible to miss the monumental restored D.A. Blodgett Home for Children on Cherry Street that now houses the offices of the ICCF, or Inner City Christian Federation, known for its Grand Rapids housing initiatives and historic building restorations. The restored building is located in the iconic heart of one of Grand Rapids trendiest neighborhoods known for food, beer, ice cream, books and more. On summer evenings, concerts are held in the gardens filled with native plantings.
BUILDING DETAILS: The D.A. Blodgett Home for Children was completed in 1908 through the generous contributions of Delos A. Blodgett, Grand Rapids philanthropist. The building has the reconstructed three-story classical columns of cream-colored terra cotta and rich red brick exterior in neoclassical revival style. The interior features the original terrazzo floors, refinished woodwork and orphans' assembly hall. When it was designed the two important priorities for the building were 1. creating a fire-proofed structure and 2. using the best advances in plumbing and sanitation of the day. This required the unusually high level of generosity shown by Mr. Blodgett who ensured that nothing was left undone both in the elaborate structure of the home, the interior furnishings and in making this a facility that provided the best possible conditions for the orphans of the city.
HISTORY: The D.A. Blodgett Home for Children was designed as a state-of-the-art orphanage that became a national leader in the field of child welfare and was first to use the practice of foster care to place children with families in the community. It pioneered Camp Blodgett on Lake Michigan to give orphans and underprivileged children an opportunity to attend summer camp. In 1949 the building was given to the Mary Free Bed Guild which used it as a hospital until 1976. After a number of tenants, the building was finally empty and deteriorating when the ICCF bought it to restore for their offices which they occupied beginning in 2007. When the restoration began, the large addition had to be torn off the front to expose the original front structure. New replacement columns were fashioned using old photographs. The original porch was restored and the woodwork refinished.