Thursday, May 28, 2015

DeVos Place & Grand Rapids: 10 Years Strong-Part 2

Monroe St. was once the home to banks, 
retail stores and factory buildings. 

#TBT: Factories along the Grand River

DeVos Place® wasn't always the grand convention center in the heart of Grand Rapids that it is now. The ground upon which it was built was once treaded on by Native Americans, ironmongers, factory workers, retailers and shoppers. With such an important part in Grand Rapids history, the land and area that DeVos Place is built upon has a vibrant history all its own.

Furniture City, U.S.A.

At the turn of the century, a variety of industries existed in the river city. If you were to stand in DeVos Place today, you could be standing in what used to be the Bissell Inc. factory. The land was full of diverse factories and businesses. From the ever-growing lumber industry to powerhouse carpet cleaning company Bissell, another market emerged in Grand Rapids, one that would continue to make strides even today… furniture. After a rough period post World Wars I and II, the furniture industry blossomed and Grand Rapids was the center of it all. Factories once surrounded the land that would eventually become the home for DeVos Place. Through Grand Rapids’ rich history in a variety of industries, the river city became the pinnacle for economic and social growth.

Along the Grand

The Grand River would prove to be a useful natural feature of Grand Rapids for a variety of reasons. Louis Campau settled his village alongside the Grand River due to the versatile waterway and promising transportation of the river. With a beautiful view from the DeVos Place convention center, it’s no wonder that the area was home to so many previous businesses and factories. When visiting DeVos Place, you can step outside and overlook the river and admire the beauty of Grand Rapids!

A Change in the Currents

What was once the grounds for factories and production eventually yielded to a more cultural focus. Through a variety of theaters, retail shops, and office buildings, the location next to the Grand River over the years has become a prime location that has been influential to the city of Grand Rapids. 

Celebrating 10 Years

Celebrate Grand Rapids’ history and DeVos Place at the DeVos Place 10th Anniversary Open House on Saturday, June 13th from 10AM-5PM! It’s free and open to the public. Join us for fun, family-friendly activities, entertainment, prizes, food, and more!

This is the second of a four part series celebrating the 10th Anniversary of DeVos Place. The series will focus on the history of Grand Rapids and DeVos Place, as well as its impact on the community. Check back next Thursday for Part 3.