What of the Future?

A Citizens' History of Grand Rapids, Michigan with program of the Campau Centennial,
Compiled and Edited by William J. Etten,
Published by A. P. Johnson Company
for the Campau Centennial Committee, 1926.

Here ends this staccato sketch of a hundred years' development. Now, what about the future? The best answer to that question is: Judge the future by the past. There were no miracles in the founding or growth of Grand Rapids. Everything was natural. There will be no miracles to interfere with the future course of events.

This was a  good place to live when the Mound Builders and the Indians settled at the rapids. It is a good place to live today. But the times have changed vastly since the Red Man vanished. We have improved upon the efforts of the first permanent white settlers. But we are no more sincere and no more idealistic. They built firm foundations, and upon these we have erected the superstructure.

Grand Rapids has grown slowly. No booms, no mushroom growth--save in that short period after 1833, which brought its inevitable decade of reaction. The city will continue to grow slowly--the rate now is about 5,000 a year. How numerous the population eventually may be no one can foretell. But population does not matter. It is the quality of citizenship that counts. What kind of people are we, what are we doing to promote progress; are we content, are we happy, are we cultured, are we concerned with the spiritual as well as with the material? These are the questions worth asking.

So far as Grand Rapids is concerned, we can say the citizenship is contented. In no large community save one is the percentage of home ownership larger. If we have any outstanding industry, it is that devoted to making the American home more beautiful and comfortable, and hence more livable. Surely, no city could ask for higher fame than to be recognized as the one that fixes the standard for the American home.

Grand Rapids is cultured, happy, hospitable, reverent. It reckons with the spirit as with the body. No city maintains a larger proportion of houses of Christian worship, and ---the pews are not empty. No city strives more keenly to apply art to the products of its craftsmanship. No city has more unity of purpose, a more definite goal towards which to strive.

Here, then, is Grand Rapids. The past we know; of the present we are well aware; the future, we hope, will realize the dreams of the people of today, as the present has more than realized the dreams of the settlers who carved a city out of a wilderness.



Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
 Created: 21 November 1999
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/etten1926/future.html