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‘Irreplaceable’ West Michigan sites join National Register
Three historic sites in West Michigan can now be found in the National Register of Historic Places.
Historic sites are nominated to the national register by the State Historic Preservation Review Board, which considers nominations to the register three times per year.
On behalf of the review board, the State Historic Preservation Office forwards nominations to the keeper of the National Register — the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior — for listing.
Michigan has more than 1,600 listings in the National Register of Historic Places, including some 250 districts comprising more than 20,000 properties.
The State Historic Preservation Office at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority named the latest sites last month.
"The listing of sites in the national register represents interest and hard work by individuals throughout the state who see the value of their historic buildings — what these structures contribute to the community — and have taken the initiative to obtain listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the nation's list of historic sites worthy of preservation," said State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway. "These historic structures are irreplaceable, and we hope this recognition will assist in their preservation."
Eastern Avenue School and Lexington School, Grand Rapids
Eastern Avenue School, at 758 Eastern Ave., NE, and Lexington School, at 45 Lexington, NW, were two of a series of schools designed by board of education staff architect Henry H. Turner and built for Grand Rapids Public Schools between 1915 and 1929, a period of accelerated expansion and improvement district wide.
Eastern was built to replace Michigan School, built in 1885, approximately a mile to the southwest at the corner of Michigan Street and College Avenue. Approval was given in 1925 to purchase the property, and Turner was authorized to submit plans and specifications for the new school. Eastern Avenue School was an educational, recreational and social focal point of its residential neighborhood.
Lexington School was built to replace the old Jefferson School, built in 1868. Unlike Jefferson School, Lexington School was an educational, recreational and social focal point of its residential neighborhood. This concept was reinforced in the 1960s when the school became a park school. The school building was built in 1915 in a simplified arts-and-crafts-influenced Neoclassicism.
Fremont High School, Fremont
Located in downtown Fremont, the former Fremont High School, at 204 E. Main St., occupies most of two city blocks and is constructed in three distinct sections. These include the original 1926 high school, a two-story building whose exterior combines arts-and-crafts-inspired commercial brick detailing with Classical Revival features. The other two sections include the 1961 international-style gymnasium and natatorium and the 1988 connector between the two earlier buildings.