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Grand Rapids in 1856

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The Irish

The Irish

GRHC - March 17th, 2014

The Irish seemed to have followed the direction of the westward movement on the Erie Canal and later the railroads.


The first foreign immigrants to come to the area were the Irish, brought here in 1835 to help dig the canals along the river. Their language was, of course, English, and their integration was easy. The Irish seemed to have followed the direction of the westward movement on the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825, and later on the railroads. Those who came here settled in the Creston area and on the west side. They made up a large part of St. Andrew’s and St. James’ parishes in the early years.

Later in the nineteenth century a branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians was organized. They built a hall on Ottawa Avenue, near Michigan Street; it included an auditorium, billiard parlor, and bowling alleys. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were held there, speakers were brought in, and entertainments were conducted in the auditorium.

The Hibernians had a band that played in parades, of which there were many in earlier days. But the organization waned when the newly founded Knights of Columbus established itself locally. However, there were Hibernian offshoots such as the Irish Fellowship Club and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.

In 1965, when a building was razed at the southwest corner of Crescent and Bond, a poster was uncovered; it advertised a Grand Ball and Picnic by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians on August 6th 1884.

Full Details

TitleThe Irish
KeywordsWYCE; radio; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; Grand Rapids; Irish; Hibernians; Knights of Columbus
Pubdate StringMarch 17th, 2014

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