The lumber and furniture industries fueled great fortunes in Grand Rapids during the 19th and early 20th centuries - and many of our historic homes reflect the excess of those lavish times.

House & driveway Heritage Hill, 2023

Heritage Hill is one of the largest urban historic districts in the United States, and includes many gorgeous homes like the one above.

Photo by Nick Irwin for Experience GR

Heritage Hill 

One of the nation's largest urban historic districts is located adjacent to downtown Grand Rapids. Its 1,300 homes date back to 1843 and represent more than 60 architectural styles. This Old House magazine named Heritage Hill the best old-house neighborhood in Michigan.

Meyer May House

One of the crown jewels of Heritage Hill, this dazzling restoration of a 1909 Frank Lloyd Wright design provides the rare opportunity to experience a Prairie-style home just as Wright intended – complete with original furnishings. Free tours are conducted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Online reservations are required.

Weekend Tour of Homes

The Heritage Hill Association conducts an annual home tour in May. Each year, 6-7 private homes and 1-2 historic buildings are open to the public and staffed by guides who share information and highlight special features. The Association also hosts a garden tour in July.

McCabe-Marlowe House in  Heritage Hill Historic District.

The McCabe-Marlowe House was names for two of its most prominent occupants, science teachers who opened their home as a social and cultural gathering place for students.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Of course, you can take a walking or driving tour of the district any day of the year – just download this map as your guide. You can also Google Map your way to these Heritage Hill (and Hill-adjacent) homes commemorated as historic landmarks:

The Castle

This Chateauesque-style home was built in 1888 as an interpretation of a Scottish baronial castle for lumber baron brothers Ethelbert and Charles Fox. It is currently occupied by commercial tenants. 455 Cherry St. SE.

Mathias Alten Home & Studio

Built in 1907, this Colonial Revival-style home was purchased by German-born Impressionist painter Mathias Alten, often referred to as the Dean of Michigan Painters, in 1914. He lived and painted here until his death in 1938. 1593 Fulton St. E.

McCabe-Marlowe House

Built between 1865-70, the McCabe-Marlowe House is one of the oldest homes in the Heritage Hill Historic Distric. Originally constructed for businessman James Gallup, this Italianate-style home was later owned by several prominent Grand Rapids families. It’s named for Marie McCabe and her niece Wilma McCabe Marlowe, who lived here while they taught at Grand Rapids Junior College in the 1950s. 74 Lafayette St. NE.

The Voigt House

This 1895 Queen Anne-style mansion was built in 1895. The house's architecture was inspired by the chateaux at Chenonceau, France. The Voigt House is owned by the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and from 1972-2009, operated as a Victorian-era museum. 115 College Ave. SE.

President Gerald R. Ford’s Boyhood Home

Located just on the edge of Heritage Hill, this foursquare bungalow was the future president’s home from the time he was 8 years old until the age of 17 (1921-30). Built in 1910, it was declared a historic landmark by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission in 1990. 649 Union Ave. SE.

Benjamins-Spring House

This stately Queen Anne house, located a few miles south of Heritage Hill, was built around 1886 for clothing entrepreneur Leonard Benjamins. It was purchased in 1924 by Berton A. Spring, one of the region’s first licensed morticians. 2359 Madison Ave. SE.

Lakeshore Historic Homes

Cappon House and Settlers House Museums

These two meticulously restored homes showcase the "upstairs-downstairs" division of late 1800s life in Holland – one is an Italianate mansion built by a rags-to-riches Dutch immigrant, the other is a simple working-class home. Cappon House was the home of Holland's first mayor and local tannery proprietor, Isaac Cappon. It is furnished with one of the country's largest collections of early Grand Rapids furniture in its original setting. The Settlers House has been restored to appear as it did in the 1870s. The homes are open for tours on summer Fridays and Saturdays from 11am-2pm, and for group tours from September through May.

Hackley & Hume Historic Site

This site preserves the homes and barn of Muskegon's most famous labor baron, Charles H. Hackley, and his business partner Thomas Hume. The houses are some of the best examples of Queen Anne residential-style architecture in the country. The Hackley House has been structurally restored to its 1890s appearance, complete with its original 13-color exterior paint scheme. The Hume House features nine bedrooms, a beautiful library and a large dining room with geometric tile flooring. Regular tours are available from May to October.