The 1880s were a time of rapid expansion and modernization in Grand Rapids. Electric lights were being installed, and they would eventually replace the gas and candle lit lampposts then in use. The Bridge Street, Fulton Street, and Fulton Street bridges were replaced with iron ones, and with them the city expanded farther west from downtown.
On an 1888 map of Grand Rapids, our building is located at what was once 175 Stocking, marked with an “S” for store. It was erected sometime between 1883 and 1886. In 1886 it was the residence of Sarah Webster and Lucine (or Lucina) Munson who was a carpet weaver. Both of these women were likely widows, and the word “notions” is listed to describe their business.
From 1904 to 1914 Charles Shenor owned the building and lived there with his wife, Anna, and daughter, May. In 1912, when the area was subdivided by Silas Hall, a builder and contractor, the address was changed to 637 Stocking. It was vacant in 1920, and the tailors Theo Bialk and Frank Bart managed their business (Bart & Bialk Tailors) there from 1924 to 1929. This business became just Theo Bialk, Tailor in 1929. Bialk must have been financially savvy because he weathered the Depression and maintained ownership of the building for decades after that.
In 1959, the business listed was Fred Bialk, Tailor, and the building also housed Bender’s Barbershop. The Bialk family owned it until at least 1999. Most recently the building was a retail clothing store. We purchased it in 2017 with the intention of starting Corridor Coffee.