Grand Rapids Civic Auditorium

Lyon St NW Grand Rapids

Seven Buildings to See in Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Civic Auditorium
Architecture Grand Rapids
Written By Architecture Grand Rapids

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All that remains of the Grand Rapids Civic Auditorium is the glorious facade and lobby.


Climb the grand stairs to get a close up of the Civic Auditorium located on a plaza west of Monroe Avenue, slightly hidden from view behind the Pantlind hotel where Lyon Street meets the Grand River.

BUILDING DETAILS: The Neoclassical building has a facade of Indiana Limestone with fluted columns and dramatic stair approach. The interior lobby features a combination of burnished wood paneling, large glass windows, gleaming tile floor, and decorative ornamental metal balcony and stair railings. The rest of the building was demolished to make way for the DeVos Place Convention Center.

" The building is neoclassical in style with art deco features and consists of "six massive columns, the grand stair approach, and recessed entry and impressive sets of double doors leading to the lobby." Grand Rapids Spectator, September 19, 1931.

The Detroit architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls designed the building, Local architects Frederick Sloan Robinson and Antoine Campau were associate architects on the project, and the venerable Grand Rapids firm of Owens, Ames, Kimball were the contractors. Detroit sculptors Corrado and Rudolph Parducci carved in cut stone the building's classical figures and motifs including the seal of Grand Rapids, signs of the zodiac, and allegorical figures representing the arts, science, sports and commerce.

William R. Moore, at the time the President of the American Institute of Interior Decorators, led the interior design.

HISTORY: The 1932 Civic Auditorium was often referred to as the Welsh Auditorium in honor of the former Mayor George Welsh who, despite the economic challenges of the Great Depression, made the construction of the building possible by using the "scrip" system. Under this system, workers were paid not in cash but in "scrip" that could be exchanged for groceries and goods in special Scrip stores. After the original building on the site was torn down, the Scrip workers scraped the mortar off the remaining bricks so they could be used to construct the pool house at Richmond Park on Grand Rapids westside.

Seven Buildings to See in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Civic Auditorium

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