Success Stories

Student uncovers local history

Brian Zwart

Brian Zwart is an avid historian and wanted to see the rich heritage of his hometown, Fruitport, presented to his community. Zwart, a senior history major, researched and wrote a series of informative panels celebrating historical landmarks in Fruitport.

“People should take pride in knowing how their community was established and how it has grown over the years,” said Zwart. “I’m hoping that my work on this project will raise awareness not only of Fruitport history, but local history in general.”

Zwart worked with Fruitport Village Councilman Jerry Alger, who applied for the grant to fund the project, to research and write the historical panels. Zwart wrote about the Pomona House, the Interurban, the Spring Lake Iron Company and the Pavilion. Alger wrote a fifth panel about the old Town Hall. The Spring Lake Iron Company panel is located at the 8th Avenue park in Fruitport. The others are being mounted within Pomona Park.

“Grand Valley helped me cut my teeth as a historian,” Zwart said. “I’ve been working with history professor Matthew Daley on my Fruitport research. He taught me how to really look at primary sources and guided me to look at several different venues to obtain the information needed to go forward with this project. I’m continuing my work on Fruitport history this semester by writing a senior thesis with professor Daley’s support.”

Zwart has an active interest in opening a Fruitport historical museum after he graduates from Grand Valley. He also plans to continue his education at Johns Hopkins University, working toward a master’s degree in museum studies.


by DeLain Bomer III

This story was filed with the tags: Helping the Community, Undergraduate Student