An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Summer Heat Got You Down? Chill Out in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Summer is in full swing right now, and areas of the Country are experiencing record high temperatures, so it seems like the perfect time to cool you off with this set of images taken in December of 1948. The lead photo and the expandable view of it below are of the intersection of Division Avenue and Hall Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Many of the vehicles in the photo are pre-war, but the post-war Oldsmobile Coupe looks like it just rolled out of the showroom. None of the buildings have survived in this recent view of the intersection.

The second view from Grand Rapids below was taken just south of the intersection of Division and Plainfield Avenues with Coldbrook Avenue crossing from left to right. This image contains a larger number of postwar cars and, once again in a recent view of the intersection, everything has changed.

Tell us what you find of interest in the Michigan Department of State Highways images found via Daniel Strohl at Hemmings Daily and courtesy of Seeking Michigan.


23 responses to “Summer Heat Got You Down? Chill Out in Grand Rapids, Michigan

  1. In the lead photograph, 3rd car driving toward the camera, is a 1937 BUICK.

    In the 2nd photograph, 2nd car driving away, is a 1941 BUICK Sedant which is following a 1942 BUICK Sedanet.

      • The driver must be enjoying the weather. The cowl vent is open and it looks like the passenger door window is down, too.

        • Joel,

          Good observation. Could be that someone had smoked in the car and the driver was trying to get rid if the odor.


          • Here’s another thought; The Olds looks brand brand-new. Perhaps the driver is trying to overcome the smell of the undercoating.

    • That ’37 Buick is a ’38. Note the coarse grille bars. On the right in the first pic, going away from us, is a ’37 Nash. In front of the Hekman’s truck is a ’35 Plymouth.

  2. In the lead photo I see a 1935 Ford tudor and the Heckman’s truck looks to be about a 1946 Ford 2 ton truck. In the last photo I see a 1946 Ford coupe parked on the left and the rear of a 1947-1948 Ford tudor sedan. I’m only good at spotting the Fords as you all can tell.

  3. 1st picture lower left corner: Car has clip-on mirrors on both sides. I never seen a RH outside mirror before on any of these 40s cars or light trucks . Don’t see one even on the Ford truck, two cars behind–if it had one, it would have to be at window level for the drive to see it.

  4. Well, maybe the Vent guy was a bit overheated. This looks like a very very mild winter in GR. I have been there several times in both the Fall and Winter and never saw anything like this. Surprised there aren’t more convertibles with the top down.

  5. Here goes… I spy two bicycles and the front of a motorcycle. The bike is behind the Hekman truck and one on the sidewalk. MC is parked on the right side under the thru left sign. Has anybody ever seen a Walnut billboard that size before? A new crop! Nice pics.

  6. Those who visit Hemmings ( who I have a sneaky hunch is in cahoots with OM somehow, or visa-versa) have seen these photos. I thought, in the top photo, with the crowd of people on the corner, and the odd placement of the sedan behind the Hekman truck, there was an accident there. While it doesn’t appear Michigan used front plates, that Olds is definitely brand new. What a crappy day to pick up my new car, but WHAT A HEATER!!!

    • Howard – No connections at all, other than getting to know several of the staff because of an article they did on the shop, and meeting them at the HMN concours and other events.

      PS: Dan Strohl of Hemmings Daily whom I consider a friend of mine, and myself occasionally find some interesting photo archives and since we both fish in the same sea it may appear we are sharing the same images at times, but in reality the efforts are independent.

  7. How’d you like to have that standard oil sign in front your garage? It does appear there was an accident behind the Heckman’s truck, a crowd is gathering on the sidewalk behind the truck.

    • I’m not sure if the crowd is gathering for an accident or just perhaps waiting for a bus, but toward the back are those two or three white peaked traditional Dutch style women’s hats? In Grand Rapids that would not be improbable. The bicyclist braving the traffic amidst the snowy street appears to be wearing a babushka.

  8. Nothing to do with cars, but when I started work as an apprentice machinist back in the late 50’s. The company I worked for had a great many machines that came to the U.K. under the lend lease scheme in WWII. One of them was a huge Grand Rapids surface grinder, which was still going strong when I left in the late 60’s. Those old American machines would go on for ever. Just like old American cars!

  9. The mirror referenced car is definitely a ’37 Ford, owned a few. Don’t know how drivers avoided accidents without right hand mirrors, I always added them to the 30’s cars I owned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note: links to other sites are not allowed.