Heritage Hill, Grand Rapids

An urban residential neighborhood adjacent to downtown Grand Rapids, Heritage Hill includes many historic examples of the missing middle housing that is so desperately needed in our cities, towns, and villages.  The district includes many single-family homes but also has duplexes, triplexes, quads, apartment houses, courtyard apartments, center hall apartments, and accessory dwelling units.  All of these types are mixed throughout the neighborhood and integrated within the block structure - some apartment buildings are right next to single-family homes!!

As a general urban pattern, many of the larger apartment buildings are at the endcap of the block, whereas the other missing middle types are spread throughout.

 

The neighborhood also includes a variety of porches, stoops, and dooryards that help to provide "eyes on the street", accentuate visual interest to passersby, assist in demarcating the public and private spaces, and provide great places for residents to sit, dine, or talk to their neighbors.  These porches and stoops come in all sizes and, while not a typical pattern, sometimes are located on the side of the house instead of the front (though they are still visible and connected to the public spaces).   These frontage elements oftentimes include hedges or decorative fences to accentuate the transition from the public realm to the private home. 

 

Finally, Heritage Hill is home to Frank Lloyd Wright's Meyer May House and Marion Mahony Griffin's Amberg House. Both prairie-style homes are within a block of each other and have been meticulously restored.

Some history and facts of this place:

Heritage Hill is one of the largest urban historic districts in the country. It was the first “neighborhood” of Grand Rapids and is adjacent to downtown, the medical institutions and universities, and the hip Uptown district. Heritage Hill offers Michigan’s largest and finest collection of 19th and early 20th century houses. Nearly every style of American architecture, from the Greek Revival to Prairie, is represented in the 1,300 buildings that date from 1844. These were the homes of lumber barons, teachers, judges, and legislators who shaped Grand Rapids' future. Today, the neighborhood's population of 4,000 households is very diverse. Professionals, artisans, and students; singles, couples, and families; renters and homeowners; people of all colors, backgrounds, and incomes make Heritage Hill home.

For more information about Heritage Hill visit the Heritage Hill Association website.