East Grand Rapids, Michigan

East Grand Rapids, Michigan

Infobox Settlement
official_name = East Grand Rapids, Michigan
settlement_type = City

imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption =

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = Michigan
subdivision_name2 = Kent
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Cindy Bartman
established_date =
area_magnitude = 1 E8
area_total_sq_mi = 3.4
area_land_sq_mi = 2.9
area_water_sq_mi = 0.5
area_water_percent =
area_total_km2 = 8.8
area_land_km2 = 7.6
area_water_km2 = 1.2
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 10,764
population_density_sq_mi = 3768
population_density_km2 = 1418.4
timezone = EST
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_ft = 748
latd = 42 |latm = 57 |lats = 03 |latNS = N
longd = 85 |longm = 36 |longs = 56 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 227
website = http://www.eastgr.org/
postal_code_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 49506, 49546
area_code = 616
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 26-23980GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0625189GR|3
footnotes =

East Grand Rapids is a city in Kent County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 10,764 at the 2000 census. It is a suburb of Grand Rapids known for its award-winning school system with extensive athletic championships, affluence and homogeneous population. Its pedestrian-friendly downtown, known as Gaslight Village, sits on the shore of Reeds Lake.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.4 square miles (8.8 km²), of which, 2.9 square miles (7.6 km²) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.2 km²) of it (13.82%) is water. Reeds Lake and Fisk Lake comprise most of the water area.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 10,764 people, 3,835 households, and 3,021 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,678.0 per square mile (1,418.4/km²). There were 3,940 housing units at an average density of 1,346.3/sq mi (519.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.99% White, 0.98% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.99% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.85% of the population.

There were 3,835 households out of which 46.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.7% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.2% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city the population was spread out with 32.5% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $84,772, and the median income for a family was $98,967. Males had a median income of $66,528 versus $42,383 for females. The per capita income for the city was $41,388. About 1.5% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.2% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.


East Grand Rapids was first settled in the early 1830s by the Reed Family from New York, New York. It is one of the oldest suburbs in Kent County. Originally part of Paris Township, residents voted to establish the Village of East Grand Rapids in 1891. The Village was incorporated into a Home Rule City in 1926 when the population was approximately 1,300.

By the 1870s, the Reeds Lake area was a popular summertime day trip destination for the people of Grand Rapids and surrounding areas. Picnicking, boating, swimming and spending a leisurely day at the lake and park were enjoyable pastimes. The first lakeside pavilion was seen as early as 1879 on the west shore of Reeds Lake. Here viewers could take in a play or listen to a popular orchestra of the day. Originally, those who wished to reach Reeds Lake would do so by foot, stagecoach or by horse and buggy. In the middle 1870s, horse drawn cars became available. Passengers would board in downtown Grand Rapids, transfer onto the Grand Rapids & Reeds Lake Railway on Sherman Street SE and proceed to the lake down Wealthy Street. By 1877 a steam locomotive replaced the horse cars. Electric streetcars came into use in the early 1890s. Buses replaced them as a mode of transportation in 1935. Interurban also brought residents from nearby cities to Reeds Lake.

Ramona Park is the most-remembered feature of the bygone days of East Grand Rapids. The amusement park, owned and operated by the Grand Rapids Street Railway Company, was a destination spot for thousands of families between 1897 and 1955. It was quite common in those days for a public transportation company to own such parks. They were known as trolley parks, and were placed at the end of the line to attract or encourage use of the public transportation system.

The Ramona Theatre Pavilion sat majestically on the West Side of the Park on Lakeside Drive, up from the boat landing and overlooking Reeds Lake. The current Lakewood Hills apartments now occupy that space. It was an extremely popular summertime venue that could seat 1,700 people. Built in 1897, it was torn down in 1949. Popular plays, musicals, Vaudevillian and burlesque acts, silent films, talkies and favorite local and national entertainers, such as Will Rogers, appeared at the theatre during its heyday.

Reeds Lake itself was home to two bathing beaches. Manhattan Beach was located on the north shore of the lake at the end of Pioneer Club Road and was in service from the mid 1880s to 1927. In 1884 Charles Seidel, boat builder and harbormaster on Reeds Lake, thought the property would be a fine spot for a bathing beach. He leased the land for just this purpose. The property was then purchased and developed into a more substantial beach resort by Thomas Reed in 1905. His family continued to operate the facility after he died. His daughter and her husband, Katherine and Charles Morgan, ran the facility until it closed and the property was sold in 1927.

Rose's Bathing Beach and Swimming School located on the west shore of Reeds Lake on the north side of the boat launch, was established in 1901 by James Rose. German born Rose had his own unique style of teaching people to swim. Hundreds learned under his tutelage. In addition to the bathing school, a fine bathhouse, bathing beach and toboggan slide were enjoyed by those lucky enough to visit this spot. After the bathing beach closed in the late 1960s, most of the facility was demolished. One small building was left standing. James’ son John "Bub" Rose kept it open as a marina and a restaurant noted for its hamburgers and popcorn. "Bub" eventually retired to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to pursue his passion for ice boating, selling the restaurant to the Gilmore Collection, owner of several area restaurants.

Recently the downtown area known as Gaslight Village has been the focus of major reconstruction. A local developer (Jade Pig) has completed a new retail center as part of their $50 million project, which also is to include offices and multi-floor condominium buildings spread over a four-acre tract.

In 2006 the City of East Grand Rapids performed a $3 million refurbishing of Wealthy Street with new paving, lighting and decorative features. A new community center and library were also completed, with a price tag of $9.4 million.

The high school has over 100 state championships in almost all sports and activities

Famous current and former residents

*Toni Jo Abbenante Farmer (Miss Michigan) 1967
*Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States
*Steven Ford, actor and son of Gerald Ford
*Kevin Max of dc Talk
*Adam Herz writer of American Pie (the movie was based on his high school days there)
*Leo Peters former owner of Butterball Turkey patent
*Chris Van Allsburg author of "The Polar Express"
*Bill George Former CEO of Medtronic
*Peter Secchia Former U.S. Ambassador to Italy
*Kevin Matthews WLAV radio host
*Tom Lehman Professional Golfer
*John Hockenberry Emmy and Peabody Award Winning Journalist
*David W. Fry Former President of Old Kent Bank and Fifth Third Bank President and CEO
*The Good Luck Joes Musical Band
* [http://www.eastgr.org/?t=7&c=6 "History of East Grand Rapids, Michigan."] City of East Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids History Room.

ee also

East Grand Rapids High School

East Grand Rapids Public Schools

Grand Rapids Yacht Club

Ramona Park

Reeds Lake


External links

* [http://www.eastgr.org/ The City of East Grand Rapids official website]
* [http://www.egrps.org/ East Grand Rapids Public Schools official website]
* [http://www.egrcf.org/ East Grand Rapids Community Foundation official website]
* [http://www.pointpaulo.com/ Point Paulo on the shores of Reeds Lake]
* [http://maps.grnow.com/grnow.php?loc=7 Interactive Map from GRNow]
* [http://www.gaslight-village.com/ Gaslight Village Development Website - Jade Pig]

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