Connections Along the Grand River

Connections Along the Grand River

Connections Along the Grand River will capture the histories of the communities and towns along the Grand River—how they came into being—and the role of the river in their survival and revitalization. The overarching goal of this project is to locate the Grand River and its tributaries as a significant driver of West Michigan’s growth and shaping communities’ diversity in the region. A secondary goal is to consider the environmental realities shaping the health of the Grand River and how this impacts communities’ relationship with local waterways. We hope to create a dynamic portrait of how a single body water impacted hundreds of Michiganders in similar and contrasting ways.

Our first event on March 14, 2019 is a symposium that coincides with our tenth anniversary Local History Roundtable. The day long conversation will examine the histories of communities and towns along the Grand River—how they came into being—and the role of the river in their survival and revitalization. As part of this conversation, we will consider how the river resulted in vibrant communities in the early 20th century and shaped the West Michigan landscape in tracing the river from the interior to Lake Michigan. Part of this conversation also includes a discussion concerning environmental challenges and changes to the region and its effect on the Grand River and the communities it touches.

Our second event in October 2019 will focus on how the communities are surviving and thriving as we look ahead to 2020. An outcome from this conversation will include the development of a guide documenting the different communities along the Grand River in West Michigan and local history highlights. This convening will be an opportunity for local history organizations and individuals to consider how their understanding of the Grand River has shifted since our first convening. This second conversation will also be focused on peer-to-peer learning, featuring a lively discussion about the various communities along the Grand River

Does your organization serve a community along the Grand River? And, are you interested in sharing the histories of your community as it relates to the Grand River's impact on industry, agriculture, fishing, and recreation as well as the community's growth from its founding to present day? Please contact Courtney Sherwood (kutsche@gvsu.edu; 616-331-8099).

This project is funded by a Third Coast Conversations grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.

 

 

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Page last modified August 17, 2018