1961 VIEW OF THE LOWER LEVEL ENTRANCE | Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids City Archives

1961 VIEW OF THE LOWER LEVEL ENTRANCE | Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids City Archives

  1961 Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids City Archives

1961 Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids City Archives

The Lake Drive Medical Building was to be completed by November 1953, according to the Grand Rapids Press April 1953 edition, for a cost of $300,000.  Donker Engineering Company provided the architectural design and Barnes Construction Company acted as contractor.  The building was designed with concrete block load bearing walls, asphalt tiled floors and had brick veneer  on all exterior sides.  There were quarters for 25 physicians plus a pharmacy, central X-ray room and laboratory.  Off-street parking was available for 75 cars.  The entrance as today was off Lake Drive and the exit on Eastern Avenue.   The building replaced the house of Mrs. Randolph K. Eggleston, granddaughter of Philander Tracy, one of the earliest white settlers in the Grand Rapids area from Cuyoha County, New York.

The LaFontsee Gallery purchased the brick building at 833 Lake Drive SE in 2011.  It has about 250,000 square fee on two levels. They took down the walls of the former medical offices and exam room  and as they say on their website, they created their "home accessory boutique, frame design space, fine art collection and a variety of poster prints" (description from the LaFontsee website). According to a Grand Rapids Press article written at that time,    they left the exposed duct work, repaired cracks in the concrete floors but did not try to make the perfect,  Some of the original beams bearing contractor's original remarks have been left to hang art work.  As a frequent visitor to LaFontsee Galleries, I can attest to the fact that this building seems meant to be a place to display and enjoy art. 

 Drawing by Donker Engineering Co - Building Design

Drawing by Donker Engineering Co - Building Design