Grand Rapids – West Side Hall – Opened 1938 (Destroyed by Fire 12-14-2012)
Regular Band was the “Vista Tones” Jerry Paawee, Ron Serecki
“Tone Blenders” was another band w/Gene Sironen
Back in the late 50s – early 70s they had Saturday and Sunday Night Teen Dances.
Annette King’s parents helped run the Teen Dances. Her dad acted as bouncer and her mother sold pop and Annette would help some nights. Her dad was President of the Club then.
Annette said the Sunday night dances at the Lexicon Club were started by Al Stiel and her dad Mike Marsiglia. The idea was to give local teen something to do on Sun. nights. They had a local kid as DJ and were open to anyone 13 to 18 as long as they behaved. No alcohol or drugs and all refreshments had to be purchased from and consumed inside, the club.The parking lot was patrolled by Auxiliary Police and she didn’t think the kids were allowed to leave and come back in. They started at 5 P.M. and ended at 9 P.M. (School the next day )
There was a school in G.R. at that time called Eastern Orthopedic where physically handicapped students went and eventually someone from there asked if they could bring some of their students to the dances too. It worked out quite well and gave us so called “normal” kids a chance to meet and get to know handicapped kids and find out they really weren’t so different from us. One young girl who had Muscular Dystrophy told some of us she had never had a date so the kid who was one of the most popular and best dancers, borrowed a station wagon (she was in a wheelchair) and took her on a date. My dad was president there for many years in the 50’s and 60’s and since we only lived a block and a half from there I ended up spending a lot of time there.
Ron Vance remembers: “I know some of us guys would go there on Sun. night The big dance was the Stroll when everyone would line up”
Have to share a story about the Lexicon Club. This happened before any drinking establishments were allowed to open on Sun. First a little background. We lived only a block and a half from the club. Both my dad and my grandfather ( my mother’s dad) were members and my grandfather was a stubborn ,old school ex German cavalry man (Pre WWI). The club would open on Sun. anyway but they had my grandfather sitting at the door to make sure only members got in . We had had a nice beef roast for Sun. dinner and after dinner my dad went to the club to play cards. After he was there awhile he got hungry , so he called home and asked my mom to make him and my grandfather some beef sandwiches and bring them over. Mom figured while she was there she’d have a beer too. When she got to the door my grandfather took the sandwiches and told her it was a men only club and she couldn’t come in. I guess you know my dad got a phone call and an ear full when she got home.
LEXICON CLUB FIRE
STARTED ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2012 BEFORE 11:46 AM. HERE, 27 HOURS AFTER THE FIREFIGHTERS ARRIVED YOU SEE THEM STILL TRYING TO PUT OUT THE “HOT
SPOTS” . THE ORIGINAL STRUCTURE WAS BUILT IN 1875. MY FIRST PHOTO OF IT WAS PURCHASED AT AN ESTATE SALE AND SHOWS IT DURING THE 1904 FLOOD WITH THE LEXINGTON/LAKE MICHIGAN DR INTERSECTION FLOODED. IN 1938 IT WAS MADE INTO THE LEXICON CLUB, ONE OF GRAND RAPIDS POLISH HALLS. THE BUILDING HAD BEEN ADDED TO AND REMODELED NUMEROUS TIMES. THERE ARE NO REPORTS AT THIS TIME OF A CAUSE.
i PASSED THIS BUILDING TWICE A DAY FOR 12 YEARS WHILE WORKING AT DLP/MEDTRONIC.