140-year-old home demolished after decades of restoration and years of debate

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A historic house that sat along Lake Michigan Drive NW in Grand Rapids is now reduced to rubble, despite efforts to save it.

After years of debate, the property owners were given permission to turn the 140-year-old ornate home into an open green space.

To Katie Dubiel, her childhood home at 2500 Lake Michigan Dr. NW will live on in treasured memories.

Dubiel told FOX 17 she was married there 10 years ago this September. She calls the iconic home her parents’ labor of love: decades spent restoring ornate fixtures matching the antique home’s era.

But now crews continue to demolish what is left.

“It’s kind of a tough one in that they no longer own it, they have this emotional attachment to it, and a lot of people recognize that it is part of the fabric of the Westside and did want to preserve it,” said Suzanne Schulz, Grand Rapids Planning director.

Dubiel said her father sold their home to the neighboring retirement community, Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, when it became too hard to live there after her mother passed. When Covenant Village officials applied twice to turn the home into green space, Schulz said the department and city debated preserving it for years.

“The planning commission felt that the home was integral to the neighborhood and that it should stay,” said Schulz.

The Board of Zoning Appeals eventually approved demolition, and then the city commission appointed a study committee to review whether the home should be designated as historic. Ultimately, the city commission took no further action.

“The house to me is kind of a symbol of that overall philosophy we’ve had of trying to maintain good residential structures in the city,” said Schulz. “The contribution that it had on the Westside is that it was very visible: iconic with the yellow house with the white trim.”

Community members also rallied. Organizers like Jason Beurkens created the Save 2500 Lake Michigan Drive petition, GoFundMe and Facebook pages.

“Preserving homes such as this, and other historically important things, should be a priority of the city, especially here in Grand Rapids, a city that specifically honors its history and culture,” Beurkens said.

Covenant Village has not released any plans on developing the space for the future.

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4 comments

  • upset

    What a shame that this country just doesn’t value history and architecture that can not be replaced, yet we love to travel to Europe to admire the very thing!

  • steve thomas

    Covenant Village hasn’t released any plans for the future. Translation: It’ll become a weed field. Great thinking. Tear down a beautiful house in order to create a vacant lot. Idiots.