A Hidden Room, Artifacts, Even A Ghost Or Two Found In Historic GR Building

Posted at 11:06 PM, Feb 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-13 10:59:20-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Feb. 12, 2014) — The Honest to Goodness tattoo parlor takes up the entire third floor of a historical building at 333 Grandville Avenue SW in downtown Grand Rapids.

The business has been around for two years, but when they moved to a new location a few months ago, they didn’t figure they’d be sharing the location.

During renovations, the owners say, the encountered a secret room … and ghosts.

“While we were doing the demolition, there definitely was some other things influencing people’s moods and feelings,” Kaelyn Currow. “It was pretty intense. Lots of doors opening, lots of noises, things getting drug across the room.”

Currow never was one to fall for a ghost story, but the experiences were hard to ignore. And they weren’t just happening to her.  “(A construction worker) was up here by himself,” said Stephanie Lane, a tattoo artist who helped with the renovation.  “He had a ladder open, walked out of the room to grab something for two minutes, came back in, and the ladder was folded up and leaning up against the wall.”

The building itself dates back to the late 1800’s, with a storied past all its own, stories that Currow says echo down the halls from time to time.

Currow believes she has heard “a lot of women’s voices, and maybe that has something to do with it being a brothel. It was also a hotel.  I know there was a fire in here.  I know there have been a few deaths.”

All of this was discovered after the lease was signed.  Currow said there have been a couple ‘cleansing sessions’ to help get rid of any bad spirits, but at this point all parties are trying to exist in harmony, Currow says.

And there are other clues to secrets that were hidden for decades.

While hanging a chandelier in one room, Lane noticed a secret room between the ceiling and under the domed roof of the building.  Inside, under decades worth of debris, they found various items, such as a lingerie hanger, matchboxes, old signs, pigeon bird cages, and messenger bird tags, evidence that someone could have been staying up there at one point in time.

The artists at Honest to Goodness Tattoo said they have no regrets about their new place of business and plan to stay there for years to come.  They are happy to play any part in preserving such a fascinating history, even if it comes with a ghost story or two.