Class areas and annuals up to 1971.
Class sizes up to 1978.
Churches in the Godwin area.
Cafeteria history
Coffee meets

Class areas and annuals up to 1971.

The table below of class years takes one to an area containing informaton about a class - reunions, photos from over the years, lists of those deceased - as well as access to the class annual for that year, where one exists.

A "*" by an entry indicates that no class annual, or part of a class annual, is available. Note that there were no class annuals for the Great Depression years of 1932 through 1936. In some, or perhaps all, cases one issue of a school newspaper would be devoted to the graduating seniors, and would substitute to some degree for a more formal annual. For graduating years where no newspaper has been located yet, a "*" will also be shown.

There was no annual for 1943, based on a desire to save materials for the war effort. However, each student did keep a scrapbook, containing a class photo, an large photo of the individual, and many loose photographs and other memorabilia. It's moderately clear there were no class annuals for the classes of 1927 and 1928. For the class years 1932 through 1936, very much in the midst of the Great Depression, it's likely that an issue of "Godwin News" took the place of a formal annual, similar to that for the classes of 1933 and 1936.

A separate window is created when you view a class year. When finished, delete that window.

1927 *

1928 *




1932 *

1933 *

1934 *

1935 *

1936 *







1943 *





























Those years marked with a "*" did not have annuals for various reasons. School papers and memorabilia of all kinds are wanted for almost every year.

Class sizes up to 1978.


Class size

1927 5
1928 12
1929 17
1930 13
1931 27
1932 25 (21) *
1933 46 (47)
1934 32 (49) **
1935 48 (47)
1936 43
1937 73
1938 52
1939 64
1940 74
1941 66
1942 71
1943 68
1944 74
1945 61
1946 85
1947 93
1948 82
1949 92
1950 92
1951 88
1952 90
1953 109
1954 122
1955 99
1956 117
1957 118
1958 147
1959 136
1960 155
1961 189
1962 140
1963 119
1964 174
1965 206
1966 176
1967 199
1968 178
1969 186
1970 184
1971 189
1973 199
1975 186
1978 90

* Counted when sophomores, in 1930 - probably low

** Counted as eighth graders - probably a large under count

The total through and including 1971 is about 4,427.

For years 1932 through 1935, where no annuals were produced, and apparently no class photos, different methods were used to come up with class sizes. But clearly there are large disagreements in the numbers. Those in parentheses were taken from class lists, of unknown origin, which have been included with each class year. At bottom, the sizes of the classes for 1932 through 1935 should be regarded as suspect for now.

The counts for years 1932 and 1934 might well be low. Godwin was growing rapidly in all these years. The counts are taken from photographs in earlier years, and it's quite possible that the class sizes increased in the interim.

The dip in class size in 1945 probably has to do with World War II. Many students put their education on hold in order to sign up for military service.

Up through about 1970 the number of seniors is a misleading indicator of Godwin's size. The area grew rapidly until about 1970, when most of the surrounding farm land had been filled in. While the class of 1927 consisted of just five students, the lower grades probably already contained 30 or more students each, and the classes would grow in size as more people moved in to the area. Just ten years or so later class sizes would be in the range of 40 to 70. By 1970 class sizes were around 200.

By year 2000 the neighborhood around Godwin began to age, and the class sizes declined, to about 75. At that point Godwin was declared a choice school, meaning that any student from the city of Grand Rapids could choose to go to Godwin. In year 2006, a large number of students are bused to Godwin school each school day. Like most schools in large cities in year 2006, Godwin is no longer in any real sense a local school. This is course complicates still further the problem of community involvement that served the school so well for perhaps 125 years.

Churches in the Godwin area.

Southlawn Baptist Church

Left click on the image for a larger version.

From the Photo Reporter, about 1957.

Located on the corner of Abbie Street SE and Jefferson Avenue Se.

Godwin Heights CRC

Left click on the image for a larger version.

Located on the northwest corner of Buchanan Avenue and 32nd Street. Built about 1953.

As of October 30, 2007, the church is literally on the auction block. Like Bethelehem Lutheran Church, the 80 year old church has not been able to attract younger members. Membership has fallen dramatically, and those left cannot afford to support such a large church building.

Left click on the image for a larger version.

Left click on the image for a larger version.

Godwin Heights CRC has been sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. The new ownership likely reflect the changing demographics of the area since the church was built in 1954.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Left click on the image for a larger version.

List of names.

Photograph provided for scanning by Dolores Esakson, class of 1962.
Shown are Dolores Esakson, Jerry Isler, and Bob Traetz, all class of 1962.

Shown above is the 1958 confirmation class, Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

While not in the Godwin area, many Godwin students attended Bethlehem Lutheran church over the decades. Founded in 1873, and located on the southwest corner of Prospect Avenue and Crescent Street for many years, in a large and expensive building constructed in about 1932, Bethlehem Lutheran was typical of many large, central churches located in the Grand Rapids area at one time. In the late 1950s there would be three services on Sunday, with barely an empty seat. Standing room only was not unknown, and almost guaranteed on Christmas and Easter.

Like Godwin Heights CRC, in year 2007 Bethlehem Luthern is out of business, and the building has been sold, nominally to make in to condos.

Left click on the images below for larger versions.

The photo above, left, was taking in 1938, and provided by Daniel Sharp, who found it amongst some items he inhereted from his grandparents, who did not attend Godwin. The library would have been construction within the previous year. Whether the bible camp was an annual event is not clear. Notice the large farm house on the left side of the photo. It likely belonged to Carlton Andre, who operated Andre's service station, shown on the right side above. The photo of the station dates from 1929 or before. Just when the farm house and the gas station were demolished is unknown at this time.

Cafeteria history.

Cafeteria history.

Left click on the image for a larger version.

Part of a Godwin book project from about 1966, the history above describes the cafeteria operation at Godwin up to about 1954, when the last new wing, including a cafeteria, was added to the old highschool building. Every day, may dozens of tables, and hundreds of chairs, had to be put up and taken down in the highschool gym. The kitchen, to the right of the stage, was complete, but perhaps not as convenient as the new kitchen which arrived in 1954.

Coffee meets.

Coffee meets.

Many lunch and coffee gatherings of Godwin alum transpire in the Grand Rapids area. These more and more seem to substitute for reunions, which fewer and fewer alum appear to have any interest in as of year 2009. One group of people, consisting of anyone from Godwin that cares to show up, is held at the Kava House, located near the southwest corner of Kalamazoo and Eastport Drive, about two blocks north of M-6.

On April 16,2010, a coffee meet for "Godwin guys only" was started. For all Godwin classes, teachers, and other current or one time employees of Godwin. See

Godwin men's only breakfast

for some photographs, as well as information about attending. It's a rotating crowd. Some are snowbirds, and only attend in the non-winter months. Others make it when they can. Retired after teaching at Godwin for 38 years, Don Schollaart attends on a fairly regular basis.