Various Shops and Other Stuff: Gas Light Village in East Grand Rapids
While I have not been back to Michigan since my family left in 1979, I do very much remember Gas Light Village in East Grand Rapids. At the time, this was a district of small local stores, and you could find all manner of things in these stores.
Naturally, at the time one of my favorites was a little toy store that sold all manner of toys, but in particular they sold a number of wooden toys made by craftsmen from the area.
Sometime around 1977 or 1978 - a few years before my family left - a huge Toys R Us store opened way out on the edge of town someplace. I remember the grand opening, and after that time the little local toy store in Gas Light Village seemed to have a lot of trouble surviving.
However, the district itself survives, and today has all manner of condominiums, local restaurants, and various other features that make it its own little enclave. It even has its own web site to encourage visitors and real estate developers.
I can't help but wonder what happened to the unique historic buildings which once were part of the charm of Gas Light Village (that is, after all, what the gas lights were all about) but at least the district survives and efforts are being made to promote the local businesses that call the place home.
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