Historical Markers in
Kent County, Michigan

Ada Covered Bridge Alpine Township Hall Alton Pioneer Village Army National Guard Veterans Memorial Baw-wa-ting Benjamins-Spring House Betty Ford Bishop Frederic Baraga Boy Scout Troop 15 / Eagle Scout Gerald "Junior" Ford Byron Township Hall Cannon Township Hall Cascade Christian Church Cascade Township Hall Central High School Central Reformed Church Creston World War II Memorial Fallasburg Covered Bridge Fallasburg Pioneer Village Final Resting Place of Gerald R. Ford First (Park) Congregational Church Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church Furniture Industry Gerald R. Ford Gerald R. Ford Boyhood Home / President Gerald R. Ford Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad Culvert Grand Rapids Veterans Memorial and Honor Roll Grand River Bridges Great Flood of 1904 John Isaac Cutler House John Wesley Fallas House / John W. Fallas Kent County Civil War Monument & Fountain Ladies Literary Club Log Jam of 1883 Mathias Alten Home & Studio / Mathias Alten May House McCabe-Marlowe House Monroe Avenue Water Filtration Plant / The Beginning of Water Fluoridation Noahquageshik Paul Steketee & Sons Pine Island Drive Bridge Plainfield Charter Township Veterans Memorial Purple Heart Memorial Robert W. Graham Home Roger B. Chaffee Shrine of Our Lady War Dead Memorial Sixth Street Bridge St. Andrew's Cemetery St. Cecilia Music Society The Castle The Grand River Thrifty Acres Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon Railway Depot Valley City Milling Company Vandenberg Center / Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg Vergennes United Methodist Church Veterans' Cemetery Veterans' Facility Voigt House William Hyser / Austerlitz Post Office
Michigan is known for its many lighthouses, with over 120 lighthouses located along its Great Lakes shoreline. Many of these lighthouses are still in operation today and are popular tourist destinations.
Kent County, Michigan has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Before European settlers arrived, the region was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwa. These tribes relied on the land for hunting, fishing, and farming.

European settlers began to arrive in the early 19th century, drawn by the fertile land and abundant natural resources. The county's name, Kent, was chosen in honor of Kent County, England. The new settlers established agricultural communities and began building mills and industries along the Grand River, which runs through the county.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Kent County experienced significant growth and development. The city of Grand Rapids became a major industrial center, attracting businesses such as furniture manufacturing, paper mills, and automotive production. This industrial boom led to population growth and prosperity, solidifying the county's reputation as an economic hub in Michigan.

Kent County has also been known for its commitment to education and culture. It is home to several acclaimed colleges and universities, including Calvin University and Grand Valley State University. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, located in downtown Grand Rapids, pays tribute to the county's most famous resident, the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford.

Today, Kent County continues to thrive as a vibrant and diverse community. It boasts a diverse economy, with a mix of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, and technology. The county is known for its natural beauty, offering residents and visitors a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities. With its rich history and promising future, Kent County remains an integral part of Michigan's landscape.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Kent County, Michigan.

  • 1831: Kent County is organized and established.
  • 1846: The village of Grand Rapids is incorporated.
  • 1848: The first courthouse is constructed in Grand Rapids.
  • 1850: The construction of the Grand River Valley Railroad begins.
  • 1855: The village of Kent is incorporated.
  • 1868: The village of Grand Rapids becomes a city.
  • 1871: The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad is completed.
  • 1900: Kent County's population reaches over 100,000.
  • 1956: The construction of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport begins.
  • 1991: John Ball Zoological Garden is renamed John Ball Zoological Park.
  • 2010: Kent County's population exceeds 600,000.