One thing I've always found interesting is how cities and towns got their name.

Many cities and towns in America are named after people who settled in the area.

But when it comes to Grand Rapids getting its name it happened another way.

The city of Grand Rapids was founded in the 1820s by European settlers, including fur traders who established trading posts along the Grand River.

A few years later Grand Rapids was incorporated as a village in 1838 and became a city in 1850.

But how did Michigan's second-biggest city get its name?

How The City of Grand Rapids Got Its Name


Grand Rapids, Michigan got its name from the Grand River that flows through the city and the rapids that once existed along the river.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

It might be hard to imagine but back in the day the Grand River flowing through the city was much Grander.

The rushing waters went from near Sixth Street down to Wealthy Street.

The fall in the river bed at Grand Rapids from Sixth Street to Wealthy Street was 17.4 feet.

That big drop created the "grand rapids" which gave the city its name.

Read More: 2013 Grand River Flood In Grand Rapids Michigan

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

The non-profit Grand Rapids Whitewater was working on trying to bring the rapids back to Grand Rapids.

Unfortunately, the state rejected the idea in the fall of 2023.

I'm so bummed that the plan got rejected.

I would love to see what the Grand River looked like in its full glory.

What Grand Rapids Looked Like 1905-1910

A picture says a thousand words and in this case, these pictures take us back in time to see what Grand Rapids looked like between 1905-1910.

Gallery Credit: Big Joe Pesh

12 Famous People Who Were Born Or Lived In Grand Rapids.

They might have been born in Grand Rapids or lived here for a short time but definitely left their mark. Let's check out 12 famous people who were born or lived in Grand Rapids.

Gallery Credit: Big Joe Pesh