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.
The Flat Iron Building, Grand Rapids oldest commercial building, was restored to house the legal offices of Smith Haughey Rice &Roegge.
BUILDING DETAILS: Grand Rapids is home to several classic mid-to-late-Italianate-styled buildings on Monroe Center. The 1860 Flat Iron Building draws immediate attention because of its attractive bullnose shape and stone-trimmed rounded corner entry at Monroe Center and Ottawa NW. Defining features include elaborate roof brackets and window trim. Varying paint shades delineate the different building sections.
The Monroe Center street level floor has always been a mixed-use space showcasing commercial wares with large plate-glass windows. Today the window of the main floor lobby of the legal offices of Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge draws the attention of passersby with two beloved sculptures - the law clerk balancing a pencil on his nose and the disapproving older partner looking on.
HISTORY: The Flat Iron Building was constructed 1860 by Moses Vail Aldrich, a well-respected businessman and community-minded public servant who was Grand Rapids Mayor from 1868-1870. It was built originally to house Ledyard & Aldrich, the banking enterprise of Moses Aldrich and his father-in-law William B. Ledyard. The main level of the building has, for over one hundred and fifty years, been the home of various retail operations. The upper floors were vacant from about 1940 until its recent restoration.