City Resumes Its Growth

When the village began to grow again after the long depression, its growth was on firm foundations. It absorbed some of the European immigration; it had some banking facilities and the national currency was sound; transportation facilities increased constantly; prices for everything were higher and wages increased; the country was prosperous and thousands of communities shared in that prosperity.

It is impossible to follow here, step by step, the advances made by Grand Rapids, which became an incorporated village in 1838 and an incorporated city in 1850. In the latter years, when the population was only 2,686, a business and professional summary was published which showed taht there were then here twenty dry goods, two hardware, two clothing, four drug, two hat and cap, and two book stores, twelve grocery and provision, ten boot and shoe stores, eight public houses and victualling establishments and two printing offices. At that time there were also here two tanneries, three flour mills, five saw mills, between forty and fifty factories and mechanical shops of various kinds, three bakeries, two regular meat markets and about 100 carpenters and joiners. There were then seven churches, with eight resident ministers, twelve lawyers and six physicians.

In 1855 there were upward of sixty stores of various kinds, besides thirty groceries, twelve physicians, and twenty-three lawyers. By that time the stores began to be more strictly classified as grocery, drygoods, hardware, jewelry, etc.

The city's growth in every way until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1860, and thereafter, will be described in the reviews of political, civic and industrial life printed elsewhere in this summary of the history of Grand Rapids.


Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
 Created: 14 December 1999