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Grand Rapids in 1856

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Rose's Beach

Rose's Beach

GRHC - September 16th, 2013

Jim Rose began offering swimming instruction at Reed's Lake in 1901. By the time Rose's Beach was closed during WWII, Jim and his family had watched thousands of people swimming there for forty-three years.


Jim Rose grew up in Milwaukee. He had been an expert swimmer and was an experienced swimming instructor. When he heard about Reeds Lake he came to the Grand Rapids area, purchased the west-shore site on Reeds Lake, and opened his business in 1901.

Rose followed a German method of swimming instruction. The pupil wore a belt around their waist, which attached to a chain and a pole held by Jim. He walked along the edge of the dock while the pupil paddled through the water following his instructions.

Rose’s Beach also became a popular spot for the better swimmers, the more daring divers, and the show-offs.

Rose’s was closed as a public bathing beach in 1942 during WWII. A year later the city of E. Grand Rapids wanted to lease the property and re-open a public beach. “I operated this place for 43 years.” Rose said, “During that time thousands of people did their swimming here, and I never lost a swimmer. I want my place to always have that reputation.” One reason no one ever drowned at Rose’s Beach was that Jim or members of his family were constantly on the docks as lifeguards. Jim Rose held his ground and the beach was permanently closed.

But Jim wasn’t finished. He began making his famous caramel corn, and that is still available today.


Full Details

TitleRose's Beach
KeywordsWYCE; radio; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; Reed's Lake; Roses's Beach
Pubdate StringSeptember 16th, 2013
Locationlocation on map

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