The History of 920 Cherry
A home for children
Our home at 920 Cherry has a rich history of caring for people in the community. The D.A. Blodgett Home For Children opened in 1908 to care for orphans. It served as an orphanage for forty years until foster care replaced the use of orphanages.
A home of healing
In 1948 the polio epidemic created the need for residential medical care. The Blodgett heirs donated the building to the Mary Free Bed Guild for a hospital. This hospital served polio patients, tuberculosis patients, injured war veterans and children with orthopedic problems at this location until 1976 when the hospital relocated to downtown Grand Rapids.
A home in decay
The tradition of community care at 920 Cherry ceased for thirty years. From time to time tenets occupied sections of the building, but it remained completely vacant for twelve years. Animals moved in, homeless took up residence and criminal activity increased. The building’s interior deteriorated and it was weeks from demolition when ICCF purchased it in 2005.
Help for your home
ICCF wanted to restore the building to its original appearance and to its tradition of community care. With the support of many people in the community, Rockford Construction and tax credits, the restoration of the 920 Cherry building was completed in two years. Once again, the building is beautiful and it has continued its tradition of caring for the community through the housing programs of ICCF.
The Courtyard at 920 Cherry
A Community Endeavor
This building is a real tribute to the generosity of the Grand Rapids community. The restoration of the D.A. Blodgett building would not have been possible without the support of the community. Gifts from corporations, foundations and hundreds of individuals made the project a success.
Prior to ICCF’s move to 920 Cherry, the staff was working in multiple offices. This building enabled the staff to work together under one roof. It allows the organization to operate more effectively and efficiently and provides space for program expansion.
ICCF is very grateful to the community and welcomes visitors to enjoy the gardens. Come inside and have a look. Take a tour. Look at the latest art exhibit. Take a class. See what we have to offer. After all, this building is for you.
Reflection of Values
The restoration of 920 Cherry embodies ICCF’s goal for every home renovation and neighborhood revitalization project. Whenever possible, ICCF designs or renovates homes to maintain the historical integrity in the neighborhood. ICCF wanted to make sure the East Hills neighborhood didn’t lose a significant piece of its history through demolition of the building.
Now that the restoration is complete, the building is a reflection of ICCF’s values of respect, opportunity and beauty. This building allows clients to enter a place of beauty where they will be treated with respect as they pursue housing opportunities.
The historical restoration of the building began with the demolition and removal of the large 1950’s addition on the front of the building. This permitted the reconstruction of the main entrance, front porches and four pillars. Outdated utilities were replaced with energy-efficient systems. New windows, insulation, solar panels and many other features resulted in Gold-LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The money ICCF saves on energy costs helps fund our programs.