A. A. Carroll house - 3858 Kalamazoo Avenue.

Tammy (Beattie) Kline did the bulk of the research in locating the information below.

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The item at the left, above, is from a 1922 Kent County plat map of Paris Township. The center photograph was made available by the Kentwood Historic Preservation Commission. It is undated. The photograph at the right was taken in 2009.

A 1907 plat map does not show the property on Kalamazoo Avenue owned by A. A. Carroll, but it does appear on a 1922 plat map, as shown above. Information below makes it now seems probable that the 90 acre farm was formed, and the house built, around 1908, since Carroll retired to the farm after his second term as elected sheriff ended in 1909. Again, the property was not in his name in 1907. Why 90 acres of land was acquired at that particular location is still unclear. The obituary below, from January 25, 1941, outlines the life of Albert A. Carroll.

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c1930 - A. A. Carroll is on the left

January 25, 1941

Leon Smith, Godwin class of 1953, supplied the item below sent by A. A. Carroll to his father some time after his return from service in WWI.

January 23, 1920

Leon Smith instead went on to own and operate a number of auto repair shops in Grand Rapids. One was at 234 Market Avenue.

The material below is Appendix C from a thesis by W. L. Rykert, Michigan State, 1985, about "The History of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, 1935-1963," and includes information about the progressive views and policies of Albert Carroll.

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On a tour of the house in 1964, during a realtor's open house, the realtor, a Mrs. Williams, stated that she knew who built the house, that he had recently died, and that the house was built in about 1920. That now appears to be wrong, and is an example of the pitfalls of history.

If it was built in 1908, the house is now over 100 years old. It has apparently always been reasonably well kept up, and today might look better than it ever did before. Because houses in the area were taxed on the basis of the number of rooms, many older houses had no closets, including this one. Chifforobes were used instead.

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The satellite image above gives an aerial view of the house and grounds in year 2011. Most of the original 90 acres has been sold off now. The house and remaining grounds are well kept. Apparently the house has had a number of owners since Albert Carroll died in 1941. When I toured the house in 1964 it appeared that the drapes, while tattered, were old, and might have been part of the original furnishings. It's possible that the wife of Albert Carroll, or the family, was selling the house for the first time. Alas, checking property deeds is not free, so while the ownership of the house can be determined, it will be only if someone wants to stand the cost.

It's said that the owner of the house in the early 1980s was Dan Gantos, of store fame. The owner in 2011 is James K. Poortenga, owner of Poortanga Tree Transplanting, Inc. If one looks at the landscaping in the satellite image above, including the line of trees along the edge of the property, it's believable that someone that knows trees owns and maintains the house.

There were of course other kent county sheriffs over the years. Below is a list. Notice that one is Schluman Baily, owner of the octagon house on East Paris Road and 32nd Street.

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