History

1009 Hermitage, an imposing structure with stunning stained glass windows and a towering steeple, reflects the cultural history of Grand Rapids. Constructed in 1875 by the Third Reformed Church, it served the Dutch immigrant population living in the “Brikyaat,” or brickyard, neighborhood. Services were conducted primarily in Dutch until 1944.

When 1009 Hermitage was constructed, it was common for the Dutch community in Grand Rapids to build wood frame churches because they could be large and impressive at a lower cost than masonry structures. The original building was expanded several times within the first decade, and in 1900 a new parish house was built next door to replace an older building.

The post World War II period brought profound changes to the Third Reformed Church congregation, with many families building new homes farther away from the church and others moving to new cities and states. For the first time, church membership began to decline, parking became an issue because many members were driving to church from other areas, and the building was in need of maintenance and repair.

In the late 1960s, Third Reformed Church moved to a new facility on Michigan Street at Lakeside Drive and sold the Hermitage property to the Church of God in Christ, a primarily African-American congregation. Recognizing the historic significance of the church structure, the Church of God in Christ sought and achieved inclusion of the church in the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1995, the COGIC sold the property to Iglesia Resurrección Y Vida, a Spanish-speaking congregation. In subsequent years, however, the small congregation found the costs associated with maintaining the large, deteriorating structure beyond its means. After the building was condemned, the congregation made the decision to sell it. Carol Moore and Bill Roelofs purchased the building in 2017.

Despite its deteriorated condition, Moore and Roelofs were drawn to the historic architectural features of the 4,000-square foot structure that includes a 400-seat sanctuary with a 60-seat balcony, a soaring embossed tin ceiling, and notable acoustic properties. The facility also includes a large open space and institutional kitchen as well as additional spaces, including the attached residential structure, for other uses. Moore and Roelofs were motivated to acquire the structure not only for its historic value but also by their vision for a neighborhood-oriented adaptive reuse, creating a vehicle for strengthening community through diverse arts and cultural offerings.


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