Saturday, June 7, 2014

My Town in three Photos - Grand Rapids

by Stephanie Michels

Grand Rapids, Michigan is a beautiful old town, settled in the 1850's. I'm not a Grand Rapids native, but I moved here when my children were small and fell in love with the town and the people.
Here are my three photos:

The first is a picture of the bridges spanning the Grand River. Shortly after it was settled, the river was rerouted around the rapids that gave the town its name to make navigation easier for trade and shipping.
Now, we have dozens of bridges that are illuminated each night over the river to show our pride in our town, which has been named Best American City and also the Beer Making Capital of America..


The next picture is of my favorite sculpture called "The American Horse." It is one of two casting's of the
sculpture Leonardo DaVinci designed for the Duke of Milan in the 15th century but was never able to complete. My old boss, the late Frederick Meijer, was a patron of the arts and championed the effort to bring DaVinci's dream to life, and he personally underwrote much of the project's multi-million dollar cost. The horse was finally cast by famed animal sculptor Nina Akamu in 1999. Two copies of the sculpture were made. One was donated to the city of Milan, and the other is here in the highly acclaimed Frederick Meijer Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Park.

The last picture was hard to choose as Grand Rapids has so much to offer. We have the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum, beaches, the International Art-Prize competition, countless ethnic festivals, colleges, a billion dollar Medical Mile, wonderful modern architecture as well as grand, heritage homes from the Lumber Baron days, etc. But I love Grand Rapids because of the enthusiastic people. Whether they are supporting the River Bank Run; walking to Stamp out Stigmas, Breast Cancer; or MS; standing outside in sub zero weather to listen to bands and rock in the New Year; volunteering to work Laugh Fest; turning out for a Flash Mob; or joining in an attempt to break the Guiness record for Swing Dancing (which is the picture I chose), Grand Rapids people are simply amazing, dedicated, and fun!


  1. Thanks for posting this. I love Michigan and Grand Rapids, in particular. :D

  2. So proud of our hometown! Stephanie, you chose great pictures to showcase Grand Rapids.

  3. Your town looks beautiful, Stephanie.

  4. It's a fantastic place! The Grand Rapids Metropolitan area is nearly a million people, but the area has managed to keep it's small town flavor. It's been a great place to raise a family!

  5. Great piece! My family is from Grand Rapids and I love visiting the area!