Old East End is the largest neighborhood in Midtown. Its Western border is Ashby Row (Grand Street), its Eastern border is Diamond, and it is bordered on the North and South by Michigan and Fountain Streets respectively.
This name recognizes three historical facts about this section of Midtown:
- The original 1860’s eastern boundary for the City, comprised largely of farmland, runs through this section of the neighborhood.
- East Street (now Eastern Avenue) in its heyday was a major or “pivotal” commercial thoroughfare for the City. Eastern Avenue is located in the middle of The Old East End neighborhood.
- The cable car line, operated in the 1920′s by the Valley City Street and Cable Railway, ran up Lyon Street from downtown and ended in the Old East End neighborhood, with the power house for the cable line located near the intersection of Lyon and Grand. With the advent of the downtown trolley, Old East End became a hot bed of residential construction. The 1920′s bungalows and foursquares that largely populate this enclave are the result.
Old East End is also home to Houseman Field, the site of many Grand Rapids’ high school athletic events.
The Old East End is a neighborhood rich in architectural and cultural diversity.On these blocks you will see turn of the century homes as well as Victorian cottages and many in the Arts and Crafts style. Residents take pride in their homes. The past several years have seen a great surge in renewal and beautification of the Old East End.
The Old East End is conveniently located within walking distance of the Farmers Market and the businesses and shops of Fulton and Michigan streets. If you don’t mind the walk back up the hill, the downtown area is also easily reached on foot! The most noticeable feature of this area, however, are the people. The neighbors of the Old East End are always willing to lend a hand on a project or with winter shoveling. In the summer, backyard get-togethers and barbecues are also part of the Old East End culture that many enjoy.