In a building that at one point housed an ice arena and a comedy club -- a life-size maze became a popular spot to spend some time in the early 90s.
It was called the "Maze Craze" and it was located at 2846 Thornhills Ave., just off of 28th Street SE in Cascade.
The Maze Craze was the brain-child of accountant Dirk Burgerhout, who opened the Maze Craze in the spring of 1991.
The Maze Craze featured over 1.2 miles of 8 foot tall wooded walls to form the maze that measured 190 x 130 feet. An article in "The Grand Rapids Press" about the opening (published on May 24, 1991), it said that the maze required "40,000 board feet of lumber, 800 pounds of nails, 20,000 screws and 600 gallons of paint to create the changeable passageways and bridges."
At the time, Burgerhout claimed the Maze Craze was the largest indoor maze in the world.
Once you arrived at the maze, your goal was to collect different letter stamps you find along the way to spell M-A-Z-E-C-R-A-Z-E.
Admission was $4.75 for adults, children under 12 paid $4.25. If you worked up an appetite going through the life-sized labyrinth, pizza was available for purchase.
In a Grand Rapids Press article, a then 16 year old employee named Bryan VanderArk (perhaps of Verve Pipe fame?) was quoted as saying "Look for where you haven't been and try it. You get frustrated, though, because you can't just walk to where you want to go."
Some people recently shared their memories of the Maze Craze on Facebook...
Michael Breimayer remembered: "My birthday is shortly before Halloween so I remember many a birthday party there as a kid, complete with pizza, games, and getting chased through the maze by Jason with a chainsaw in his hands. Good memories."
Ian Essich commented "I went there a few times when I was a kid. Had a blast."
The End of the Maze Craze
The Maze Craze remained in business until the fall of 2000, when the space was converted into an upscale dance club for 25-45 year olds called "Cadillac Jack's". The Maze Craze shut down after concerns about noise and unruly behavior associated the raves that were held in the building. The Maze Craze was issued a temporary restraining order to stop having the parties prior to its closing. In November of 2000, Kent County Judge H. David Soet limited the crowds to just 300 people and set an 11:30 pm closing time. There over 30 complaints about noise, disorderly behavior and alcohol-related violations at the Maze Craze in the year prior to it closing its doors.
That location now is the home to Goldfish Swim School.
Note: The photo above is NOT the Maze Craze, but actually a similar life-size maze that was constructed as a temporary exhibit in Washington, DC at the National Building Museum. That maze has also been dismantled. It was closed on September 1st, 2014.