Grand Rapids Michigan is over 180 years old and in that time, many notable

 events  and firsts have occurred in this  “Biggest Small Town” in the Midwest.

Gerald R. Ford described it as “The City that Works”.  It is also the kind of city

 that will have a lost pet turtle story on the local evening news, not just the local

accidents and disasters.  If you are From Grand Rapids, Live in Grand

Rapids, or are considering Moving to Grand Rapids, some of these facts

might interest you.

                         la grand vitesse grand rapids mi

Ottawa Indians were Grand Rapids’ first inhabitants and in 1826 the city was settled

by French fur traders.  Its name comes from the Grand River, Michigan’s largest

inland river.

Grand Rapids was originally known as the “Furniture Capital” of the nation.

It is known today  as the “Furniture Capital” of office furniture manufacturing.

It is headquarters to many national and multi-national headquarters including

 Steelcase, Herman Miller, Haworth, Amway, Wolverine World Wide

 and Meijer stores.

It is Michigan’s second largest city with a metropolitan population of 1,302,372. red apples


In 1945, Grand Rapids was the first city

in the U.S. to add fluoride to its

drinking water

Gerald R. Ford, a native son, became the 38th President of the

United States on August 9, 1974.

Kent County is Michigan’s largest apple-producing county.

It is also a major producer of peaches, celery, carrots, onions, corn, wheat

 and Christmas trees.

Grand Rapids has two homes in the city designed by Frank Lloyd

 Wright. One is the Amberg House and the other is the restored  Meyer

May House which is open to the public three days per week.    

                           meyer may house gr mi

Grand Rapids was named an All-American City three times.

“La Grande Vitesse,” by Alexander Calder, was placed on Vandenberg Plaza

 in 1969.  The name means “Great Swiftness.”

In November 1998, Grand Rapids was named by Fortune magazine

 as one of the  Top 10 Best Cities for Business in the U.S.

Grand Rapids has $500 million in new attractions, meeting facilities and

 recreational venues.  The 1913 Room at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

is the only 5-Diamond restaurant in the Midwest outside of Chicago.

Heritage Hill Historic District, adjacent to downtown, has 60 architectural

styles  and 1300 homes.

There are 28 public golf courses with many only fifteen minutes from

downtown making  it one of the top cities in the U.S. in number of public golf

courses-to-population ratio.                     golf course

There are over 60 restaurants and night

clubs in the downtown area, all are within

walking distance.

The Frederik Meijer Gardens &

Sculpture Park has the Midwest’s

most comprehensive sculpture


The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is the second largest airport

in Michigan  and the 86th largest airport nationally, serving more than

2 million passengers annually.

Each May, the 25K Fifth Third Riverbank Run attracts 10,000

participants from all over the globe.

In April 2004, Grand Rapids was named as one of America’s

Most Livable Communities  by the Partners for Livable Communities.

Grand Rapids ranks fifth-healthiest town for men by Men’s Health

Magazine from  among 101 cities surveyed (October 2002).


Van Andel Arena has been consistently rated in the top tier of

world-wide arenas in its class by Amusement Business Magazine.

Grand Rapids was named #6 Fishing City by Field & Stream Magazine,

 July 2006.

Zondervan Publishing House, located in Grand Rapids, was named one of the

 top 40 Christian places to work in America by Christianity Today Magazine,


Grand Rapids is located three hours from Chicago and 35 minutes from the

sandy beaches of our closest inland sea, Lake Michigan.



Copyright by Terry Westbrook 2008

 Grand Rapids Michigan Real Estate


 Festival Grand Rapids MI Golf course by Terry Westbrook; Meyer May house courtesy of Steelcase, Inc.; red apples by jo allen courtesy of flickr ~ facts from gr visitors bureau