100 Years in Ottawa Hills and 50 Years for OHNA
In 2022, the Ottawa Hills Neighborhood will celebrate its centennial anniversary, acknowledging our theme of community support that over 100 years has never stopped. We are excited to mark this milestone anniversary that pays tribute to our history, celebrates today, and will influence tomorrow. Our Centennial celebrations will extend throughout the year giving us a chance to celebrate all year long.
Our neighborhood is one with a storied history that began in the early 1900s and includes, a 160-acre pig farm and a 9-hole golf course. The golf course changed hands several times and eventually one of the owners decided to develop the land which would become our neighborhood. The land was mapped out and featured beautiful winding drives and large open areas where streets intersect. The first lots were sold in 1922 and went so quickly that a second plat was put on the market in 1923.
In 1925, Ottawa Hills High School was built on 9 acres of the land and ended up anchoring the neighborhood for 85 years. By 1928, 200 brick homes of varying architectural style dotted the neighborhood, surrounded by Franklin Park (now Martin Luther King Park), Calvin College (now Grand Rapids Public Schools Administration building) and Farmer's Field (now Clark Home). There was little change during the Depression and World War II. In the 1960s property values decreased to the point that the Association coordinated efforts to stop redlining, blockbusting and soliciting listings with scare tactics.
Over the years the Association, which will also celebrate 50 years of existence in 2022, has sponsored a babysitting co-op, a bridge group, a garden tour, and has been a long-time supporter of the beloved Hollyhock Lane Parade.
In 2009, the Grand Rapids Public School system sold the school building and land to Grand Rapids Christian Schools to develop a pre-kindergarten through 4th grade school and this anchor, along with Pontiac Field once again stabilizes the neighborhood. It is clear our neighborhood has seen many changes through our history, but several things have remained constant, a deep appreciation for our community’s history and a dedicated and tenacious group of neighbors.
We are honored and delighted to call Ottawa Hills our home. Many festivities will mark this anniversary and we will look to you for ideas on how to promote the fun. We are already brainstorming ideas like outdoor fitness classes, walking and architectural tours, music in the park, food trucks, outdoor movies and a neighborhood picnic. Keep your eye on the monthly newsletter for ways you can contribute to making this a brilliant and memorable year. If you have interest to volunteer or any questions, contact Eric Doyle.
Happy 100th Ottawa Hills!
Schedule of Events
Many hands make light work. Please sign up to volunteer for one or more of these awesome opportunities!
Movie / Concert in the park coordinator
Public relations planner
Commemorative tree planting team
Block party hosts
Community event planner
OHNA Hollyhock Lane Parade float entry
Holiday sleigh rides
Graphic designer to produce centennial pieces