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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Grand Rapids in 1865

Grand Rapids in 1865

GRHC - October 20th, 2010

Newspaperman Arthur S. White reflects on his first impressions of Grand Rapids.    



In 1925, Arthur S. White, newspaperman and printer, remembered his impressions of the city on his first visit in 1865.

“Leaving the Detroit & Milwaukee station at Plainfield Avenue, I rode downtown on one of the two streetcars that made half-hourly trips between the depot and the corner of Fulton St. and Jefferson Ave. My fare for the service was 10 cents.

The park on Fulton St. was surrounded by a high picket fence and contained a heavy crop of oats. The Grand River was spanned by toll bridges located at Leonard, Bridge and Pearl Streets. A few houses fringed the riverbank on the West Side north of Bridge Street. South of Bridge St. on Front, the only building was a brick structure near the west end of the Pearl St. Bridge. A few houses had been erected on Shawmut Ave. but south of that the native forests had not been disturbed.

Stages arrived from Kalamazoo and Newaygo daily, the condition of the roads permitting, and one train east and west each day served to carry all who desired to enter or leave the city. One wagon was all that was needed to transact the business of the American Express Company, and a one-horse rig handled all the baggage of the travelers.

A cordial welcome at the Rathbun House, an advantageous offer of employment, and the good impression created by the people caused me to mail my resignation to my employer in Chicago and my sixty years’ residence in Grand Rapids began.

Full Details

TitleGrand Rapids in 1865
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, radio, WYCE, 1865, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, Podcast
Pubdate StringOctober 20th, 2010

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