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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Napkin, Dinner

White damask. Embroidered "CGAV.";USA: Michigan, Grand Rapids. Voigt House. Ralph Voigt donated majority of the C.G.A. Voigt estate to the GR Foundation upon his death in in 1971. GR Foundation leased the property to Kent County Council of Historic Preservation. KCCHP purchased the property in 1974 and donated it to the City.. Voigt, Ralph. 
Kent County Council For Historic Preservation
The Kent County Council for Historic Preservation has several responsibilities that support the preservation and protection of our history. These include:
  • Recommending designation of new historic districts 
  • Reviewing applications for proposed alterations within historic districts
  • Enforcing the Historic Preservation Ordinance Chapter and cooperating with the state, federal and local governments in pursuance of its responsibilities
  • Conducting meetings or hearings necessary to carry out these purposes
The Historic Preservation Commission consists of seven members who reside in Grand Rapids. Members are appointed by the City Commission for three-year terms (two consecutive terms are allowed). Members shall have a demonstrated interest in or knowledge of historic preservation. Two members shall be appointed from a list submitted by the Kent County Council for Historic Preservation and one member shall be an architect duly registered in the State of Michigan.

Ralph Voigt
Ralph Voigt, born in Grand Rapids, was 14 years old when the family moved into their home at 115 College Ave. SE in 1896. Mr. Voigt was well into middle age when Ralph was born, so it was only natural that the last child should be special to his father. Ralph, the third surviving son by the second marriage, became a pal to his father in his old age. Partly for this reason, Ralph entered and graduated from one of the finest Prep schools in the nation, Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He subsequently went to Yale University graduating in 1905 from the School of Mining Engineering. During this period, he mastered the banjo and the guitar playing in school organized "bands" popular at the time. Joining a fraternity or sorority, of course, was a high point in the college student's career. Ralph was certainly no exception. He was in plays and college related productions and was popular. Memorabilia of Ralph's college days is abundant in the house -- a set of Wedgwood china bearing Yale scenes and other small personal items displayed in his bedroom. After his years in New England, Ralph returned to Grand Rapids and worked with the other family members in the milling business especially after his father's death in 1908. Ralph remained a bachelor living in this family home until his death there in 1971 at age 88.

Charles "Carl" Gustav Adolph Voigt
 Charles (Carl) Gustav Adolph Voigt was born December 5th, 1833 in Saxony, Prussia.  He was the oldest of the five sons of August Adolph and Johanna Wilhelmina Voigt. In 1847 the family immigrated to the United States, settling on a farm near Michigan City, Indiana. Charles’ father and mother lived until 1852 and 1853 respectively. By 1856 Charles had married Virginia Bateman Phillips, four years his senior. They had two children, Johanna and Charles Bateman. The daughter and mother died by 1859. The son lived to age seven, dying in 1865.  Charles married Elizabeth Wurster who was eight years his junior in 1860. Together they had nine children, three of which died in infancy: Oscar (1863), Clarence (1864), and Lilly (1879-1880). The other children included Frank (1861-1927), Clara (1868-1951), Emma (1870-1953), Amanda (1873-1963), Carl (1874-1958), and Ralph (1882-1971). The second generation of Voigts, from the birth of the first child by Mr. Voigt's first marriage to his last child’s death had spanned 114 years. 

In 1895 Charles hired William G. Robinson to design his retirement home on 115 College Avenue Southeast. It was inspired by the chateaux at Chenoceaux, France. He lived in this house until he passed away in 1908. 


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