Grand Rapids in History

Michigan: Ann Arbor - Detroit - Flint, MI

Historical Events

  • 1876-09-19 1st carpet sweeper patented (Melville Bissell of Grand Rapids, Mich)
  • 1880-07-24 1st commercial hydroelectric power plant in the world begins generating electricity in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1900-07-08 1st night baseball, league game (Zanesville at Grand Rapids)
  • 1945-01-25 Grand Rapids, Michigan, becomes 1st US city to fluoridate its water
  • 1949-08-15 WOTV TV channel 8 in Grand Rapids, MI (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • 1962-11-01 WZZM TV channel 13 in Grand Rapids, MI (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • 1972-12-17 WGVC (now WUCX) TV channel 35 in Grand Rapids, MI (PBS) 1st broadcast
  • 1992-04-13 Crystal Pepsi begins test marketing in Sacramento, Providence, Denver, Dallas, and Grand Rapids
  • 1996-04-30 Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Grand Rapids MI on WKLQ 94.5 FM

Famous Birthdays

  • 1887-03-04 Violet MacMillan, American Broadway theatre actress (The Magic Cloak), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 1953)
  • 1887-09-14 Stanley Ketchel [The Michigan Assassin], Polish-American heavyweight boxing champion (1908-10), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 1910)
  • 1895-05-01 Leo Sowerby, American organist and composer (Pulitzer Prize for Music, 1946), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 1968)
  • 1896-10-30 Rex Cherryman, American actor (Camille, The Sunshine Trail, In for Thirty Days), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 1928)
  • 1899-02-14 John Herman Randall Jr., American philosopher (Western Man), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 1980)
  • 1902-01-12 Ray Teal, American actor (Judgment at Nuremberg, Bonanza), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 1976)
  • 1925-04-04 Elizabeth Wilson, American screen and stage actress (Doc, East Side/West Side), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 2015)
  • 1925-06-30 Will Gay Bottje, American omposer, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 2018)

Person of interestRichard DeVos

1926-03-04 Richard DeVos, American businessman who co-founded Amway, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 2018)

Co-founder of Amway Richard DeVos
Co-founder of Amway
Richard DeVos
  • 1934-12-30 Del Shannon, American rock musician and songwriter (Runaway), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 1990)
  • 1935-02-15 Roger B Chaffee, Lt Cmdr USN/astronaut, born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1936-02-29 Jack R Lousma, Col USMC/astronaut (Skylab 3, STS-3), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1940-04-20 George Andrie, American NFL defensive end (5-time Pro Bowl), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 2018)
  • 1945-09-25 Reynold Henry Weidenaar, American video artist and composer, born in East Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1946-07-22 Paul Schrader, director (Blue Collar) and writer (Taxi Driver), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1948-04-19 Rick Miller, American baseball player, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1950-02-11 Clarence Ellis, American football safety, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1951-02-02 Kim Zimmer, actress (Guiding Light, Doctors, One Life to Live), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1954-08-15 Mary Jo Salter, American poet and co-editor of The Norton Anthology of Poetry, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1955-03-10 Bunny DeBarge, rocker (Debarge), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1958-08-06 Randy DeBarge, rock vocalist/bassist (Debarge), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1959-06-19 Mark DeBarge, rock vocalist (DeBarge-Who's Johnny), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1961-06-04 El Debarge, American rocker (Debarge-All this Love), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1961-10-10 Brian Lee Diemer, American steeplechase athlete (Olympic bronze 1984), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1962-08-22 James Debarge, American rock vocalist and keyboardist (Debarge), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1963-06-27 Johnny Benson Jr., American NASCAR driver, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1964-03-03 Lisa Ann Poggi, actress (Jolie-Loving), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1966-02-04 Barry Klein, rower (Olympics 1996), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1966-04-29 John VanderWal, outfielder (Colorado Rockies), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1968-02-27 Loy Vaught, American NBA forward (LA Clippers), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1968-04-24 Stacy Haiduk, American actress (Lana Lang-Superboy), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1969-06-30 Ken Gernander, American NHL center (NY Rangers), born in Coleraine, Minnesota
  • 1972-10-15 Matt Keeslar, American actor 9The Last Days of Disco), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1973-05-28 Todd Sweeris, table tennis player (Olympics 1996), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1974-08-02 Paul Grasmanis, American defensive tackle (Chicago Bears), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Person of interestFloyd Mayweather, Jr.

1977-02-24 Floyd Mayweather Jr., American boxer (5 x weight division world champion; record 26 consecutive wins in world title fights (10 by KO; undefeated record 50-0), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • 1979-01-29 Christina Koch, American NASA astronaut (Soyuz MS-12), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1981-09-02 Katie Teft, gymnast (Olympics 1996), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1983-02-12 Carlton Brewster, NFL player, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1992-02-11 Taylor Lautner, American actor, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Famous Weddings


LoveWedding of Interest

1948-10-15 38th US President Gerald Ford (35) weds department store fashion consultant Elizabeth (Betty) Bloomer Warren (30) at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids

38th US President Gerald Ford
38th US President
Gerald Ford
US First Lady Betty Ford
US First Lady
Betty Ford