Edward H. Christ

Page 540-541-542 - Edward H. Christ takes definite pride in claiming Grand Rapids as the place of his nativity and has had the satisfaction of seeing it develop from a mere village into a splendid metropolitan community and a great industrial center. Here he has precedence as one of the leading surveyors and civil engineers of Kent county, and with his long and successful professional career he has been concerned with many important engineering enterprises. Mr. Christ, a scion of one of the sterling and honored pioneer families of Grand Rapids, was born here December 4, 1863. He is a son of the late Gottlieb and Fredericka (Greiner) Christ, both natives of Germany, and both venerable and honorable citizens of Grand Rapids at the time of their death. Mrs. Christ was born in 1823, and was a young woman when her parents established their home in Grand Rapids about the year 1849, when the city was little more than a frontier village in the midst of the surrounding forests. Mrs. Christ was thus a resident of Grand Rapids more than sixty years, and here her death occurred January 3, 1911, her husband having passed away in 1865, and upon her was devolved the burden of rearing and providing for her four children, of whom Edward H. of this review, was the youngest in order of birth. Of the other three children it is to be recorded that Albert C. is retired from active business; that Fred died in Grand Rapids, in 1885; and that the death of Gustave occurred here in 1900. Gottlieb became one of the well known and popular pioneer hotel men of Grand Rapids. One of the first hotels erected here was the Kent Hotel, which was built in 1837, at the corner of Bridge and Kent streets, and which later became known as the Bridge Street House, in 1849. Of this pioneer hotel Mr. Christ became the proprietor, and he thus continued until the old wooden building was destroyed by fire, February 1, 1855. He thereafter purchased the land and erected on the original site a substantial brick building, this new hotel having been opened by him with an elaborate ball, June 12, 1857, and most of the leading citizens of the town having been present. After his death his widow continued to conduct the hotel with success during the years in which she was rearing her four sons, and she was one of the venerable and loved pioneer women of Grand Rapids at the time of her death. Edward H. Christ was but two years old at the time of his fatherís death. His early education was obtained in the public schools of his native city. His broader education has been that gained in the school of practical experience and self-discipline, and he was but a boy when he became an assistant to his older brother, Gustave A., who was then assistant chief engineer in construction work of the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad. He thus learned engineering work at first hand, and his study and practical experience have made him skilled in technical and working phases of all lines of civil engineering, virtually his entire active career having been marked with close association with this important line of construction enterprise. Since 1891 Mr. Christ has been independently engaged in surveying and other lines of engineering work, and he has made many important surveys, besides which he has given efficient service in surveys of various steam and electric railway lines. In Michigan he has made surveys and location on many railroads, and in this work has been able to eliminate many bridges and thus reduce operative and maintenance expense. He has maintained his office in the Norris building since the year 1891. Mr. Christ was for five years a member of the Grand Rapids board of public works, and his professional ability and experience enabled him to give specially valuable service in this connection. He is a member of the American Society for Municipal Improvements, and had the distinction of serving as its president in 1914. He is a democrat in politics, he and his wife attend and contribute to Trinity Community church, and his basic Masonic affiliation is with Grand River Lodge, No. 34, A. F. & A. M. He is a member also of Grand Rapids Chapter, No. 7, R. A. M., and of DeMolai Commandery, No. 5, Knights Templar, and also of the B. P. O. Elks, No. 48, Grand Rapids. In 1889 Mr. Christ wedded Miss Bertha A. Anderson, of Lake Odessa, Michigan, and they have one daughter, Marian Frieda, who was graduated in Simmons College as a member of the class of 1923, and who is now the wife of Bruce K. Muir, their home being in the industrial city of Columbus, Ohio.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 25 November 2003