Week 28 – Rephotographing on Diamond Avenue

One of my Facebook friends who has been following my recent rephotography blog posts suggested this week’s subjects. They are both on Diamond Avenue SE and he bikes past them regularly.

The first building is the original home of Third Reformed Church, at Diamond and Hermitage. The building was constructed in 1875. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980s. As you can see, at some point the house beside it (the original parsonage?) was renovated and attached to the church. This angle of view looks west from Hermitage Street towards Diamond.

The viewpoint below looks east from Diamond towards Hermitage. In the 1960s, Third Reformed moved out to the suburbs (Michigan Street NE). It sold the building to Grace Pentecostal Church of God in Christ. In the 1990s, in turn, Grace Pentecostal sold the building to Iglesia Resurrection Y Vida. In 2017, preservationists bought the building. Today it is being renovated as a neighborhood arts center.

The second building is at Diamond and Chester, just south of Cherry Street. It is Engine House No. 11, today known as Chester Street Fire Station. Built in 1902, is the oldest active fire station in Grand Rapids. You can see how the garage bay doors have changed and the switch from horse drawn equipment to a modern fire engine. Theses first two images look from Chester southwest toward Diamond.

The second viewpoint looks south from Diamond. The original image seems recent, with modern garage doors and a window AC unit. I did not find a date for the photo. The engine house was was designed in the “Richardsonian Romanesque” style, named after “Henry Hobson Richardson, 1838-1886, a Boston architect who developed his own personal style based upon Romanesque forms.”

The last image is something completely different and nothing to do with rephotography. I was in Heritage Hall this week, at Hekman Library at Calvin University. As I walked through one of the storage areas, where rare books and archival materials are kept, the light and shadows caught my eye. So, I grabbed a camera and made this image.

There are people in the Hekman Library these days, but only a small number of staff. We’ve started allowing patrons to make appointment to visit the archives and the Meeter Center (one of the world’s largest collections of material on John Calvin, Calvinism, the Reformation and early modern studies). This past week, Heritage Hall had its first patron since mid-March.


Look for more images in the coming week. And stay safe!

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