By Judy Reed
By the time you read this, work will probably have begun on the demolition of the building at 95 N. Main—a building that has occupied that site since 1890. The building is being razed to make way for a new chapter in the history of that site and in the town, with the building of a brand new business—Cedar Springs Brewing Company.
Before the current building, a hotel known as the Wager House sat on the northeastern part of the property at the SW corner of Main and Maple, in the late 1870s, early 1880s. A residence was located on the western portion of the property. According to the Cedar Springs Story, these two structures were spared in the big fire of 1884. It reported that in an excerpt from the Clipper newspaper, “the cinders were carried over the Cedar Springs House (NW corner of Main and Maple) and the Wager House (SW corner of Main and Maple)…” The hotel was reportedly demolished sometime between 1884 and 1890.
According to assessor’s records, the current two-story building was constructed in 1890 on the NE portion of the property. It was used as a flour mill, with animal feed and hay storage. By 1899, it was used as a grocery store, and an ice house and meat storage area were added to the southern portion of the building. Over the years, there were several groceries located there. The Cedar Springs Story reported that Ed M. Smith had a grocery there, followed by Thomas & Bassett groceries, Esch’s groceries, and it later became an I.G.A. store, between 1950 and 1955. The rear of the building was added between 1950 and 1960, and the second floor was used for apartments. The residence behind the building was removed between 1960 and 1967 to make way for more parking.
On the SE portion of the property, formerly 87 N. Main, was a large lumber storage building in 1929. It was removed during the 1940s to create an open gravel lot.
In 1982, Cedar Springs Auto Supply, a NAPA dealer moved in and occupied 95 N. Main until 2009. A judge ordered the business to vacate the premises after it was condemned by the city for an inoperable central heating system and Kent County foreclosed due to unpaid taxes. The City of Cedar Springs then exercised its right to buy the building before it went up for auction.
The building has been vacant since then, with remodeling being cost prohibitive. Many residents have called it an eyesore, and are glad to see something being done with it. Asbestos shingles were removed last week in preparation for the demolition.
David Ringler, owner of The Cedar Springs Brewing Company, said that they would try to save some pieces of the building to use in the new one. He has updates on the progress of the new facility on the CS Brewing Company’s facebook page.
Stay tuned as a brand new business takes over that corner—and hopefully stimulates some growth in business in downtown Cedar Springs.