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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Public Markets

Public Markets

GRHC - August 11th, 2010

The first public farmers' markets come to Grand Rapids, including our great Fulton Street location.    



The first public market was located on Monroe Ave. near Hastings St., just north of Michigan St. In 1875 farmers brought loads of hay, straw, cord wood, and dressed hogs to the city and occupied the street until purchasers were found and wagons were empty.

Several dealers in meats were located on Monroe and during the annual hog killing period the sidewalks were loaded with dressed carcasses brought in by farmers. The fat was rendered in the basements of the markets, and the odors that permeated the atmosphere were an assault to sensitive noses.

Fulton St. and Commerce ave. were designated as the market place for country produce. Hundreds of wagons loaded with fruit and vegetables, occupied the street lying between Division and Market Ave. from early morning until noon

Kent County won fame and fortune for many because of the immense crop of peaches the orchards produced during the decade following 1887. The uncommonly cold weather one winter killed many of the trees and damaged the peach industry for many years.

The wholesale market was established in 1896 on Island No. 3, which was between the Fulton and Wealthy St. bridges, after its trees were cut down and the ground made flood proof.

In 1917 the city opened retail produce markets on West Leonard St., and one in the south end. In 1922 the Fulton St. market opened and is the only one remaining today.

These markets were so successful that in 1932 retail grocers and meat dealers asked the city to close them. The City Commission said, “No!”


Full Details

TitlePublic Markets
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, market, Fulton Street, radio, WYCE, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, Podcast
Pubdate StringAugust 11th, 2010

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