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[MIDTOWN] Scavenger hunt: What's on your sub-neighborhood plaque?

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

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Grand Rapids is peppered with neighborhood plaques. Take a closer look at Midtown's and you'll see there are actually seven distinct plaques tacked all over the neighborhood. Ashby Row, Brikyaat, Cegielnia Crossing, Coldbrook Creek, North of Market (NOMA), Old East End, and The Woods, each of these have illustrations of important icons in the neighborhood.

Duane De Roo, a Grand Rapids resident for 20 years, took the lead in designing the plaques. De Roo is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer who is actively involved in the Ashby Row block club and has served on the Midtown Neighborhood Association board multiple times.

In summer 2006, De Roo began by scoping out the various neighborhoods and doing historical research.

"The goal for the signage was to create an identity that would reflect the history of Midtown and bring it to a level of recognition equal to other bounding neighborhoods like Eastown and Heritage Hill," De Roo said. "I walked each of the seven enclaves within Midtown to determine which property was most representative or recognizable for each."

Production for the plaques began in summer 2007, and house plaques are available for purchase by contacting MNA. The seven neighborhood plaques represent:

  • Ashby Row (dark blue): This house in the 600 block of Crescent NE has been passed down through three generations. Jack Ashby was the last of the Ashby Family to live on that street.
  • Brikyaat (red): The row of houses pictured on this plaque, MNA's community organizer's house among them, is located on Holland NE.
  • Cegielnia Crossing (yellow): "There is no current home that is represented for theirs," De Roo explained "Cegeilnia Crossings wanted an illustration to honor the old Polish Brickyard that was originally in that part of Midtown boundaries. They did their own research to find historical reference photos."
  • Coldbrook Creek (light blue): The image on this plaque is of one of many Polish halls on Michigan. The Diamond Street Hall is operated by St. Isidores Aid Society.
  • NOMA: North of Market (pink): What would be more appropriate than an image of the Fulton Street Farmers Market?
  • Old East End (brown): A view of Houseman Field, looking northwest. The land for Houseman Field was donated as an athletic field in 1907.
  • The Woods (green): An iconic, white house tucked into the corner of Grand NE and Parkwood NE.

Be sure to check them out on your next morning run or evening stroll.

Click on the pinpoints for additional information.


View Midtown sub-neighborhoods in a larger map.


Compiled by Denise Cheng (MNA board member) and Fred Quillin (resident from The Woods)

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I relaly miss having a studio in Ashby Row. Best summers.

All the other 'hoods drool.

as if!    Jenn Gavin and her canine companions drool....mainly due to their lack of bicuspids.  Old East End Forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

is where it's at, yo.