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Overview

With a name like Grand Rapids, you figure there must be a river around somewhere. There is. A river runs through it. Sitting on the banks of the Grand River, the city was founded in 1826 by Louis Campau who built a cabin and opened a trading post and blacksmith shop on the east bank near the rapids. Early settlers soon found that the city had all the ingredients to make fine furniture. Settlers floated logs down the Grand River where the strong currents powered mills and factories. Craftsmen created such quality products that “Grand Rapids-Made Furniture" became the mark of excellence. A clean walkable city, Grand Rapids was smart to ...

With a name like Grand Rapids, you figure there must be a river around somewhere. There is. A river runs through it. Sitting on the banks of the Grand River, the city was founded in 1826 by Louis Campau who built a cabin and opened a trading post and blacksmith shop on the east bank near the rapids. Early settlers soon found that the city had all the ingredients to make fine furniture. Settlers floated logs down the Grand River where the strong currents powered mills and factories. Craftsmen created such quality products that “Grand Rapids-Made Furniture" became the mark of excellence. A clean walkable city, Grand Rapids was smart to preserve and capitalize on its natural assets. Salmon would spawn up the Grand River but had difficulty getting beyond the Sixth Street Dam. The solution was the Fish Ladder Sculpture, a ladder of seven small ledges on the west side of the river that help salmon gracefully leap around the dam. Designed by local artist Joseph Kinnebrew, the sculpture also has a platform above the aquatic ladder that gives a close-up view of the large leaping fish as they jump clear out of the water from one ledge to the next. When the salmon are running, the river is also filled with anglers trying to reel in a big one. Quite an interesting sight to see.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late September through late October when the salmon are running