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Grand Rapids in 1926

Grand Rapids in 1926 has grown to be a city with an estimated population of 169,000. It is the forty-seventh largest city in the United States. During the past half dozen years its population has grown at the rate of about 5,000 annually. It is a city of diversified institutions, about 10 per cent of which are engaged in producing medium and high-priced furniture. It has a number of factories turning out wood products, in addition to the furniture establishments. It is a big center for copper, tin, sheet iron, brass, foundry, tobacco, motor vehicle bodies, electric machinery and apparatus, printing and publishing, flour, furnishing goods, bakery, lumber, men's furnishing, and other industries.

Grand Rapids has one of the largest manufactories of plumbing brass goods in the country, employing upwards of 750 men, with an annual wage expenditure of $1,205,000 and an annual production valued at $2,750,000.

The largest factory manufacturing school seats and articles for church adornment is located here.

The city has the largest of all carpet sweeper manufactories.

Grand Rapids has the largest factory making window sash pulleys, the largest excelsior mill, the largest sticky fly paper plant, the two largest show case factories, the largest refrigerator establishment, and knitting mills of big capacity.

Grand Rapids has developed into a great wholesale and retail center, the volume of its wholesale business being estimated at about $75,000,000 a year.

Business and industrial activities are served by five steam and two electric railway systems, as well as by numerous motor bus and truck lines which carry passengers and freight.

Its banks and trust companies have a combined capital and surplus of $9,000,000. The total bank resources in April, 1926, were $96,063,357.

Bank deposits in April, 1926, were $82,069,173.
Bank clearings for 1925 were $415,171,313.
Bank loans and discounts in April, 1926, were $44,950,221.
The paid in capital stock and surplus of its building and loan associations in 1925 amounted to $14,818,007.
The assessed valuation for 1926 is $255,274,746.
Building permits issued for 1925 amounted to $12,483,770.
Post office receipts for 1925 were $1,521,730.
Grand Rapids is one of the best-governed cities in the Union. It has had the commission-manager form of government since 1916 and its affairs are in the hands of competent officials. Its tax rate is among the lowest of the cities of Michigan, being about $31.25 in 1926 for each $1,000 of assessed valuation, divided as follows: City, $10.937; schools, $13.9076; state and county---estimated---$6.45. Observe the proportion devoted to schools.

The city has not forgotten to provide in every manner for the comfort and enjoyment of its people. A well-planned system of parks and playgrounds supplies a place of recreation within half a mile of every home. The street improvement program is on a big scale, and gradually hard-surfaced pavements are being extended to every section within the municipal limits.

Grand Rapids ranks second among the larger cities in the United States as to the percentage of home ownership, 50.2 per cent of its homes being owned by the families occupying them.

According to United States government statistics, Grand Rapids is one of the very healthiest large cities in the country.

Grand Rapids leads all cities in the United States in infant welfare work.

The city has a zoning plan, effective March 2, 1923, which sets aside the sections to be used for residence, for business and for factories.

No city anywhere has more trees in proportion to the number of its inhabitants. History should accord a place to George W. Thompson, who about 45 years ago organized the Hill Tree Planting association, of which he was president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and all other officers. He encouraged the planting of trees. The city forester now preserves, protects and encourages citizens to plant them.

There are few multiple apartments in the city. The large majority of residences have ample space surrounding them, and the city is famous for its flower-bordered premises.

New subdivisions, laid out during the past two or three years, provide for ample growth.

Experts from the University of Chicago have declared the educational system of Grand Rapids to be one of the best in the country.

The art gallery on Fulton street has a splendid collection of paintings by old and new masters.

Nearly all the prominent secret societies are represented. The Masonic bodies in 1916 erected a handsome temple on Fulton street near Lafayette avenue, at a cost of over $500,000. The Elks have a fine home on Ottawa avenue, immediately north of the city hall. The Knights of Columbus are in their temple on Ransom avenue, opposite Library street. The Odd Fellows have their own building on Ottawa avenue, north of Crescent street.

A volume could be written on the activities of the numerous women's clubs and societies.

The citizenship is contented, as is eloquently proved by the percentage of residents who own their homes. There is a minimum of poor and indigent persons requiring public aid, but a generous public, exceptionally well organized, provides for the support of those in need. Rarely is anyone on the streets solicited for alms. Three of the most modernly equipped hospitals, and a number of smaller institutions care for the sick, the injured and expectant mothers. Welfare organizations make it possible for those not able to bear the expense to enjoy the benefits of the hospitals.

Ample provision is made for orphans, and probably no city has a higher percentage of children adopted into good homes.

Relations between employers and employees are the most cordial in practically every factory and business establishment. Large manufacturers provide gymnasiums, rest rooms, shower baths, and other conveniences adding to the contentment and enjoyment of workers.

Four golf clubs--Cascade, Highlands, Kent, and Masonic--as well as the municipal course on the Charles R. Sligh field and a miniature in John Ball park, afford recreation for thousands at the now favorite American pastime.

The modern Keith's and Regent, Powers and Majestic, down town, and a score of motion picture theatres throughout the city provide ample amusement. And during the summer Ramona park's theatre and numerous attractions are open.

As all municipal primaries and elections are strictly non-partisan, there is little of the old-time political party strife. Instead, there is a healthy and commendable rivalry to stand for public office, and to serve well when elected.

The public is liberal in its support of churches and the attendance at divine services is larger on a percentage basis than in most communities, large or small.

In these days of motor cars, Grand Rapids is happily situated in the midst of the resort region of western Michigan. Nearby streams and lakes are visited by thousands over the week-ends.

Numerous fraternal and church organizations, luncheon clubs and other organizations promote friendly meetings of groups of citizens.

As hotel accommodations are ample and excellent, Grand Rapids in recent years has become the meeting place for many state and national bodies. Often the visitors at one time will number as high as 8,000 to 10,000. All are made to feel they are welcome. The veterans of the Civil War, who met here in their 1925 grand encampment, declared they never would forget the warm-hearted manner in which they were received and cared for.

Material growth of the city is evidenced in the number of splendid new businesses, bank, hotel and office structures erected in the downtown district in the past half dozen years.

Grand Rapids was put on the air map this year when regular flights were established between this city and Detroit. Next year the service will be extended to other centers.

The city has no semblance to the so-called "slum" districts of some larger cities. It has no poor sections, no neglected districts.


Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
 Created: 10 December 1999
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/etten1926/grin26.html