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)
  • 1880-07-23 1st commercial hydroelectric power planet begins, 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)

Person of interestRichard DeVos

1926-03-04 Richard DeVos, American billionaire, co-founder of Amway, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan

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
  • 1936-01-14 John Paul Cain, Sweetwater TX, PGA golfer (1989 Greater Grand Rapids)
  • 1936-02-29 Jack R Lousma, Col USMC/astronaut (Skylab 3, STS-3), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1946-07-22 Paul Schrader, director (Blue Collar) and writer (Taxi Driver), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1950-02-11 Clarence Ellis, NFLer, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1951-02-02 Kim Zimmer, actress (Guiding Light, Doctors, One Life to Live), 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, rocker (Debarge-All this Love), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1961-10-10 Brian Lee Diemer, steeplechase (Olymp-bronze-1984), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1962-08-22 James Debarge, rock vocalist/keyboardist (Debarge), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1964-03-03 Lisa Ann Poggi, actress (Jolie-Loving), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1965-01-03 Mark Dewey, pitcher (SF Giants), 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
  • 1968-04-24 Stacy Haiduk, American actress (Lana Lang-Superboy), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1969-06-30 Ken Gernander, Grand Rapids, NHL center (NY Rangers)
  • 1973-05-28 Todd Sweeris, table tennis player (Olympics 1996), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1975-08-12 Robyn Hancock, Grand Rapids Ohio, Miss America-Ohio (1997)

Person of interestFloyd Mayweather, Jr.

1977-02-24 Floyd Mayweather, featherweight boxer (Olympic bronze 1996), 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, US actor, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Famous Weddings


HeartWedding 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, Ford

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