History of the Bundy House

The Fountain Hill Center is fortunate enough to have the Bundy House for its main office, one of the many historic properties located in Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Heritage Hill Historic District. The district is one of the largest urban historic districts in the United States and represents Michigan’s largest and finest concentration of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century houses. Through each change of hands, the Bundy House has been modified and its story has become richer.

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1883

McGeorge Bundy’s fiancée was given this house as a wedding gift. The same year, he returned from France after serving as a U.S. Diplomatic Corps member. Bundy’s grandsons, McGeorge and William, notably served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

1910

The Bundy family sold the house to the Blair family.

1922

The Blair family sold the house to Mr. and Mrs. Earle S. Irwin of Irwin Seating Company, the world leader in public seating. Earle Irwin was also director of Michigan National Bank and a trustee of Butterworth Hospital. In 1924, the Irwin family converted the third floor to a ping pong and billiards recreation room so that the then-current city tennis champion (Earle’s son, William) and the former champion (Earle) could keep their skills fresh during the winter months.

1966

Heritage Hill HomeCentral Reformed Church purchased the house from the Irwin family, with the intention of demolishing it to expand their parking lot. The federally protected Heritage Hill Historic District was formed shortly after the purchase, which made the house a permanent piece of Grand Rapids history. As a result, the house became a rental property.

312562_10151161723196596_278968_nThe balcony above the front desk was the location for the original staircase. When the house was converted to apartments, the original staircase was removed—creating our “balcony to nowhere”—and a new staircase was built to accommodate a multi-unit floor plan.

1975 – 1986

The Marriage and Family Center (now Fountain Hill Center) was established by Central Reformed Church. A group of lay people from Central believed that if the Church was to take “caring” seriously, it should create a counseling center that would serve both the congregation of Central, as well as the greater Grand Rapids community.

Andy Atwood, then working at Central as a part-time Minister to Singles, became the Center’s first staff member and our founder. The Center began leasing the first floor for office space in 1975. By 1986 it had expanded to the second floor, while the third floor remained an apartment.

1991

With the help of a generous and supportive donor, The Fountain Hill Center purchased the entire house from Central Reformed Church.

1996

The Marriage and Family Center changed its name to The Fountain Hill Center for Counseling and Consultation. Over the years we have had a variety of wonderful staff join the Center. Some have stayed for decades, while others have come and gone within years. Each contributing toward diversifying the services available to our community.

Today

Our clients and visitors frequently comment on how the “homey”atmosphere of our beautiful historic home provides them with a sense of comfort and ease not to be found in most other counseling centers. Come see for yourself how this space might benefit you in taking your next step. Or, take a tour of the home by downloading our Holiday Home Tour photos that were taken during our Second Annual Holiday Open House in 2013. download tour…