Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, city (1990 pop. 189,126), seat of Kent co., SW central Mich., on the Grand River; inc. 1850. The second largest city in the state, it is a distribution, wholesale, and industrial center for an area that yields fruit, dairy products, farm produce, gypsum, and gravel. Furniture manufacturing (begun in 1859) remains important. Among the city's other manufactures are appliances, electronic equipment, automotive parts, aircraft and space navigation systems, and paper products. It has the Gerald R. Ford Museum, art and furniture museums, a botanical garden, a symphony orchestra, and an opera company. Also in Grand Rapids are Aquinas College, Calvin College, and several seminaries.

City (pop., 2000: 197,800), western Michigan, U.S. Located on the Grand River, it was founded in 1826 as a trading post. Ample lumber from nearby forests soon fueled a woodworking industry. After Grand Rapids furniture was shown at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, the city became known as the furniture capital of America. Its industry diversified with the advent of World War I, and metal-based manufacturing thereafter exceeded furniture. Its public library contains important collections of books on furniture design; its educational institutions include Kendall College of Art and Design (1928). It was the boyhood home of Pres. Gerald Ford.

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