Plank Road Lofts is a commercial and residential property located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Built in 1875, Plank Road Lofts is the oldest brick building on South Division Avenue and has been home to milliners, painters, photographers, and more. The building was designated a historical landmark in 2000 by the Grand Rapids Historical Commission and boasts its original Chicago brick and wood floors.
A little bit of history...
In the early 1850s, plank roads became an obsession in towns and cities throughout the United States. The wooden roads were a remarkable improvement over the muddy and often impassable roads that existed during the time and were often built and maintained by privately held companies, often managed by wealthy farmers, professionals, merchants, and manufacturers.
Michigan was a leader in the development of many plank roads. Roads were constructed across the state from Detroit to Port Huron, Lansing to Howell, Ann Arbor to Whitmore Lake, and Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids. Division Avenue was one of few plank roads in downtown Grand Rapids. It began near 13-17 South Division and was part of the Kalamazoo-Grand Rapids Plank Road. Tolls marked every mile of this road. Individuals and families would travel to and from Kalamazoo via wagon or horse-drawn carriages. They were charged two cents every mile during the journey. Individuals and families were charged two cents per mile for their wagon or a carriage drawn by two horses. One cent per mile was charged for a sled or a sleigh.