21 Unusual Old Grand Rapids Photos E-mail

21 Unusual Old Grand Rapids Photos

A look at some of the strangest, silliest and most absurd vintage photos from GR.

By GRNow.com Staff
Published: December 19, 2013

1. The Crazy Contortionist


Source: Pinterest

I don’t want to assume this guy was completely oblivious to his surroundings, but...

2. Three Riders and a Clown on a Horse


Source: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Not sure what’s going on here, but there’s kind of a weird Wizard of Oz vibe in this photo...

3. A One-Way Trip


Source: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Hookah Lounge or hospital room? Also, the cross over the door subtly lets the patients know they’re not going to make it.

4. A Festive Bunch


Source: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Meet the merry crew of the Woodmen of the World!

5. Clyde Rothrick


Source: ebay

This press photo from the 1920’s seems innocuous enough...until you read the caption on the back: “Clyde Rothrick, Blind Evangelist”.

6. Train Wreck


Source: Grand Rapids Public Museum

This head-on collision occurred near the modern-day intersection of 28th and the East Beltline, setting the standard for accidents at that location for the next 100 years.

7. When Lampshades Were All the Rage

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 11.50.37 AM

Source: Grand Rapids Public Library

Here’s enlightening entertainer Miss Kay Davis. She sang and danced at the Wolverine State Electrical Inspectors convention at the Pantlind Hotel in 1939. Apparently her getup also lit up because there appears to be a cord running from her leg.

8. Rollatennis


Source: ebay

Of course, merely playing tennis in East Grand Rapids isn’t enough; these industrious stepford wives decided to add shiny roller skates to the mix.


The hilarious idea in action

9. In Character


Source: Grand Rapids Public Museum

When people say Johnny Depp takes preparing for a role uber seriously, they are not joking.

10. Mr. Rover


Source: History Grand Rapids & wikimedia

This is Mr. Rover. In 1907, a local publisher created a series of postcards featuring the giant fictional character next to famous GR landmarks. The character was portrayed by a successful insurance broker named Harry Wykom. After his face had become well known in the area, he suddenly disappeared from town with both the cash receipts from his business and his secretary, much to the shock and dismay of Mrs. Wykom.

11. Bear Jail


Source: ebay

Although the back of the photo says “John Ball Park, 1926”, I’m pretty sure it’s actually the Flint zoo, circa now.

12. Y-M-C-A


Source: Pinterest

The image on this postcard is both highly offensive and insulting. You never, ever wear black shoes with a brown loincloth.

13. Old Man Fisticuffs


Source: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Local tensions over the Teapot Dome Scandal had reached a boiling point.

14. There Are Enough For Everyone

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 11.53.47 AM

Source: Grand Rapids Public Library

Wow, finding parking spaces downtown really gets competitive during ArtPrize.

15. Draw Your Own Conclusions


Source: F Yeah Grand Rapids


16. Another Grand Rapids First


Source: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Look, we can claim the first goat-cart! Get it? Go-at cart.

17. Oxygen Leg Case

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 11.52.57 AM

Source: Grand Rapids Public Library

I just know there’s an Affordable Care Act joke in here somewhere.

18. High Fashion


Source: History Grand Rapids

I think the guy is as stunned by the hat as I am.

19. Mock Execution


Source: Pinterest

The Calvin-Hope rivalry gets out of hand.

20. A Crappy Idea

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 11.52.04 AM

Source: Grand Rapids Public Library

Wow, people were a lot less concerned about privacy back in the day.