This 1970 Lothlorien poster was graciously supplied by Aris Hampers from his personal collection. He played at this concert with his band, the Phlegethon. Probably, this was the last rock and roll-oriented use for this building, located at 632 Plymouth N.E. Notice how this poster mentions that the concert is being held at the “Old Place.”
The Place was located at 632 Plymouth N.E. , between Leonard and Michigan streets. It was listed in the Polk Grand Rapids city directory in 1967 and 1968 as “The Place,” with owners Tom Regis and Syl Dick. This building has an interesting history. It was used as a concert/dance and skating pavilion in Ramona Park in East Grand Rapids from 1912 until it was disassembled in 1955, and was moved and re-assembled at the Plymouth Street location. Henry Nieboer bought the building and had it moved to his farm on Plymouth NE when Ramona Park shut down their amusement park permanently. Nieboer was associated with the entertainment and skating business operated in this building from as early as 1938. In 1940 it was converted to a roller skating rink.
After the building was moved, Nieboer called his place the Skate-O-Rama. In May of 1961, there were amateur skating competitions held at this facility. As early as 1965, the building was once again used for concerts and dancing, one example being an Impressions show that was canceled because the band reportedly had their car break down in route to the performance. A 16 piece dance orchestra was hired as a substitution, and played for 45 minutes. Reportedly, someone attending the ticket booth started refunding money to the ticketholders (2.00 of the 2.50 ticket price) and “disappeared” after handing back 50.00 worth of refunds. A “riot” ensued, and parts of the building were ransacked by disappointed fans.
The concert/dances that were held during The Place time frame are legendary to people that were teenagers in the late 1960s in Grand Rapids. Many local performers and some national acts played there.
Also, during the 60s, Delton Heard ran an establishment called the Psychedelic Shack at this same building.
In June of 1971 Henry Nieboer died, and in 1974 the building was demolished.
(Sources: Grand Rapids Press, Gail Snow, (an expert concerning Ramona history and an author on this subject,) Doug Taylor, Steve Smith, Kim Rush, Aris Hampers)
Click here for “The Place” Photo Album
The Place ash tray, courtesy of Matt Weber: