Thursday, March 01, 2007

Grand Rapids Cycle Company Fire

Grand Rapids Cycle Company Fire

Pieces of insulation and ash from this fire landed on my street over 4 miles away.

From WOOD, the story of this building-

GRAND RAPIDS -- Many associate Grand Rapids' history with furniture, but the city lost a key piece of its bicycle manufacturing history Tuesday.

The century-old Grand Rapids Cycle Company was engulfed in flames Tuesday night, flames that lasted well into the morning and consumed most of the building.

At one time the city had six factories making bicycles and Grand Rapids Cycle Company was the first and largest. The company put out 30,000 bicycles and the factory employed 200 people in its prime in the late 1800s.

Bicycle manufacturing in Grand Rapids was abruptly halted in 1899 as most of the bike makers were bought out and shut down by the bicycle trust out of New York. By 1903 the bicycle industry was completely gone.

After the bicycle company left the building was used as a furniture factory and a warehouse. It sat empty for decades before being purchased by developers.

And into history it goes...