Grand Rapids is a city that is located in the southern portion of the state of Michigan. It is the second largest city in Michigan behind Detroit. It is located on the Grand River and is well known for its blue collar working class.
The area around present day Grand Rapids was first settled by Europeans in the year 1801 by frontiersmen searching for furs. In 1826 Louis Campau built a cabin, trading post, and blacksmith shop on the bank of the Grand River and the town of Grand Rapids was formed. From there it continued to grow as immigrants came to Grand Rapids to find work. The city was incorporated in 1850.
Because of the readily available trees in the surrounding area, Grand Rapids became one of the largest exporters of wood products in the country. It was even called the "Furniture City" for a time. In the early 20th century several automobile factories were established in the city, which brought much revenue and work for the local citizenry.
Grand Rapids is located in the extreme north of the United States, which means that is has a humid continental climate. Summers are mild, with temperatures generally staying in the high 70's Fahrenheit. Winters can be brutally cold though, with temperatures staying well below freezing for weeks on end. Snow and frost are very common in the winter months as well. Most of the city's precipitation comes in the months of May through July.
One of the most famous people to ever come out of Grand Rapids is former president of the United States Gerald Ford. He is buried in Grand Rapids, and his tomb at the Presidential Museum is one of the most visited sites in the city. The city also built the Gerald R. Ford Museum in his honor on the banks of the Grand River. It houses pictures and memorabilia from his life and presidency. Another popular spot for tourists is Heritage Hill, which is one of the largest historic urban districts in the country.
Grand Rapids is serviced by Gerald R. Ford International Airport. It operates several major carriers and offers nonstop flights throughout the US and Canada.
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