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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Crossing Lake Michigan

Crossing Lake Michigan

GRHC - November 25th, 2013

Grand Rapids seems to have had difficulty relinquishing its attachment to the great lakes steamboats, but at the same time it happily accepted the advantages of the railroads. 


The Grand River Transportation Co. of Chicago, in July of 1901, launched its boats to transport passengers and freight between Chicago, Grand Haven, and Grand Rapids. The company noted, “The service will be somewhat different from that furnished by Grand River boats in by-gone days.

“The boats will leave the dock, situated on Island #3 at the foot of Wealthy St., in the afternoon and arrive in Grand Haven in time to transfer freight and passengers to the outward-bound boats for ports across the lake. This more advantageous arrangement allows goods to be shipped from Grand Rapids in the afternoon and arrive at Milwaukee or Chicago early the following morning.

“Farmers and fruit growers in Ottawa and Kent Counties should flourish,” the company said. “Thousands of bushels of peaches, strawberries and other fruits rot every season because they cannot get to market. River trade in apples, onions, potatoes and other produce will also be substantial.

“The bulk of the through freight will, of course, be consigned to Grand Rapids, a great railroad and commercial center. Its manufacturers consist of furniture, plaster works, flour mills, saw and planing mills, carpet sweeper and wagon works whose products are shipped by the carload and boatload all over the United States.”

Like other Grand River and Lake Michigan dreamers, the boats could not compete with the railroads. Failure approached the Grand River Transportation Co. just six months later.



Full Details

TitleCrossing Lake Michigan
KeywordsWYCE; radio; Grand Rapids; history; Historical Commission; Lake Michigan; steamboats, railroads
Pubdate StringNovember 25th, 2013

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