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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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The Piggeries

The Piggeries

GRHC - January 27th, 2010 at 10:00am

Grand Rapids Historical Commission and the Community Media Center present the local history radio project, "Glance at the Past". Piggeries v. Landfills



In the early days of the village of Grand Rapids almost everyone owned a cow, some chickens and pigs. Garbage was fed to the pigs and what they wouldn’t or couldn’t eat was buried.

The first man to collect garbage lived at the north end of Front St. Driving a small cart, pulled by a huge Belgian dog, he would come into town on the West Side, collect garbage, and return home to feed his pigs.

In the early 1900s Alvah Brown established a piggery in Paris Township at the corner of Plymouth and Alger and had a contract with the city to collect garbage. He was more enthralled with the concept of feeding garbage to his more than 500 vociferous pigs than his neighbors were, especially during the summer.

Boyd Pantlind, owner of the Pantlind Hotel and Morton House, and sometime gentleman farmer, counted pigs among his stock and he fattened them on the garbage from his hotels. The city had its own hogs and supply of garbage, but Mayor Ellis also had his eye on the hotel garbage.

He claimed that the garbage was city property and should be fed to the city hogs and not Pantlind’s pigs. The city went to court over the ownership of the garbage and Boyd Pantlind and his pigs lost the case.

Over the years other contractors in and around Grand Rapids operated piggeries and fed their hogs on the city’s garbage. The last piggery, located near the present day sewage plant on Market St., closed in 1952 when the city reverted to the pioneers’ method of garbage disposal—they buried it in landfills. 


Full Details

TitleThe Piggeries
KeywordsGlance at the Past, pigs, piggeries, landfill, trash, radio, WYCE, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission
Pubdate StringJanuary 27th, 2010 at 10:00am

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