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  • Furniture City
  • Furniture City"
  • Гранд-Рапидс

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Grand Rapids

City of Grand Rapids

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  Summary  

Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located on the Grand River about 40 miles east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 774,160 and a combined statistical area, Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, population of 1,321,557. It is the county seat of Kent County, Michigan, second largest city in Michigan , and the largest city in West Michigan. Grand Rapids is home to five of the world's leading office furniture companies and is nicknamed the "Furniture City". The city and surrounding communities are economically diverse, and contribute heavily to the health care, information technology, automotive, aviation, and consumer goods manufacturing industries, among others.

Grand Rapids was the hometown of Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States. He, along with his wife, former First Lady Betty Ford, are buried on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids.

  History  

Over 2,000 years ago, people associated with the Hopewell culture occupied the Grand River Valley. Around A.D. 1700, the Ottawa Indians moved into the area and founded several villages along the Grand River.

The Grand Rapids area was first settled by Europeans near the start of the 19th century by missionaries and fur traders. They generally lived in reasonable peace alongside the Ottawa tribespeople, with whom they traded their European metal and textile goods for fur pelts. Joseph and Madeline La Framboise established the first Indian/European trading post in West Michigan, and in present Grand Rapids, on the banks of the Grand River near what is now Ada. After the death of her husband in 1806, Madeline La Framboise carried on, expanding fur trading posts to the west and north. La Framboise, whose ancestry was a mix of French and Indian, later merged her successful operations with the American Fur Company. She retired, at age 41, to Mackinac Island. The first permanent white settler in the Grand Rapids area was a Baptist minister named Isaac McCoy who arrived in 1825.

In 1826 Detroit-born Louis Campau, the official founder of Grand Rapids, built his cabin, trading post, and blacksmith shop on the east bank of the Grand River near the rapids. Campau returned to Detroit, then came back a year later with his wife and $5,000 of trade goods to trade with the native tribes. In 1831 the federal survey of the Northwest Territory reached the Grand River and set the boundaries for Kent County, named after prominent New York jurist James Kent. Campau became perhaps the most important settler when, in 1831, he bought 72 acres (291,000 m²) of what is now the entire downtown business district of Grand Rapids. He purchased it from the federal government for $90 and named his tract Grand Rapids. Rival Lucius Lyon, who purchased the rest of the prime land, called his the Village of Kent. Yankee immigrants and others began immigrating from New York and New England in the 1830s.

In 1836 John Ball, representing a group of New York land speculators, bypassed Detroit for a better deal in Grand Rapids. Ball declared the Grand River valley "the promised land, or at least the most promising one for my operations."

By 1838, the settlement had incorporated itself as a village, and encompassed an area of approximately three-quarters of a mile . The first formal census occurred in 1845, which announced a population of 1,510 and recorded an area of four square miles. The city of Grand Rapids was incorporated April 2, 1850 and officially created on May 1, 1850, when the village of Grand Rapids voted to accept the proposed city charter. The population at the time was 2,686. By 1857, the city of Grand Rapids' boundary totaled .

In 1880, the country's first hydro-electric generator was put to use on the city's west side.

Grand Rapids was an early participant in the automobile industry, serving as home to the Austin Automobile Company from 1901 until 1921.

In 1945, Grand Rapids became the first city in the United States to add fluoride to its drinking water.

Downtown Grand Rapids used to host four department stores: Herpolsheimer's , Jacobson's, Steketee's , and Wurzburg's. Like most downtown regional department stores, they suffered the same fate of falling sales, caused largely by the flight to the suburbs, and consolidation in the 1980s and 1990s.

 Gypsum mining
An outcropping of gypsum, where Plaster Creek enters the Grand River, was known to the native American inhabitants of the area, and was commented on by the pioneer geologist Douglass Houghton in 1838. This outcrop was first mined in 1841, at first in open cast mines, but later underground mines as well. Gypsum was ground locally for use as a soil amendment known as "land plaster".
The Alabastine Mine in nearby Wyoming, Michigan was originally dug in 1907 to provide gypsum for the manufacture of stucco and wall coverings, notably the alabastine, favored by Arts and Crafts Movement architects. This mine has been converted to use as a storage facility.

 Furniture city
During the second half of the 19th century, the city became a major lumbering center and the premier furniture manufacturing city of the United States. For this reason it was nicknamed "Furniture City". After an international exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, Grand Rapids became recognized worldwide as a leader in the production of fine furniture. National home furnishing markets were held in Grand Rapids for about 75 years, concluding in the 1960s. Today, Grand Rapids is considered a world leader in the production of office furniture.

  Transportation history
Roadways
The first improved road into the city was completed in 1855. This road was a private, toll plank road from Kalamazoo through Wayland, and was a primary route for freight and passengers until about 1868. This road connected to the outside world via the Michigan Central Railroad at Kalamazoo.

Railroad
The first railroad into the city was the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad, which commenced service in 1858. In 1869 the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway connected to the city. The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad began passenger and freight service to Cedar Springs, Michigan on December 25, 1867 and to Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1870. This railroad expanded service to Muskegon in 1886. The Grand Rapids, Newaygo and Lake Shore Railroad completed a line to White Cloud in 1875. In 1888 the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railroad connected with Grand Rapids.

Air transportation
Grand Rapids was a home to one of the first regularly scheduled passenger airlines in the United States when Stout Air Services began flights from Grand Rapids to Detroit on July 31, 1926.

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Grand Rapids", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.