The Rapidian

Calkins Law Office - The oldest building in Grand Rapids

Have you ever wondered what Grand Rapids was like over 100 years ago?
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We all admire this beautiful city that we call Grand Rapids. It is grand for many reasons, ranging from its patron’s artistic ability, and more recently, its brewing ability and beautiful modern skyline.

Have you ever wondered what Grand Rapids was like over 100 years ago? Have you even considered that it was not a city filled with glass buildings, but instead, beautiful small wooden buildings?

Beneath all the glass beauty stands a tiny piece of history, the oldest building in Grand Rapids, known as Calkins Law Office, or Lincoln Place.

Built around 1836, attorney Charles Philo Calkins used the building to practice law. Since then, it has served as a museum and a place of residence.

On the same plot of land, a few yards away, is a statue of Abraham Lincoln, which was donated to the city by Loraine Pratt Immen. The building and the statue were both sculpted by Adolph A. Weinman.

It was this very statue that renamed State Street Park to Lincoln Place. In his time before presidency, Lincoln was a lawyer, making it fitting for the Calkins Law Office and this memorial to be placed together. When President Lincoln called for men to fight the Civil War, many men from Grand Rapids went, including the son of Charles Philo Calkins.

For more information and history about Calkins Law Office, watch the video above or visit the site at 201 State St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI.

Written by Andrea Lenhart, GRTV Intern, Summer 2016

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