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Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Grand River, the City of Grand Haven, Michigan is the county seat of Ottawa County.

While most of the city is on the south side of the river, a portion of the city in the northwest is on the north side of the river, abutting Ferrysburg. Harbor Island is also within the city limits of Grand Haven.

The chief route through the city is US-31 (Beacon Boulevard), which runs north-south through the center of the city, crossing the Grand River in the north, connecting Grand Haven with Ferrysburg and Spring Lake, which is across the river on the northeast. Other cities and villages within twenty miles of Grand Haven include Fruitport, Norton Shores, Roosevelt Park, Muskegon, Coopersville, and North Muskegon. Grand Rapids is about thirty miles to the east.

Before the area was settled by European-Americans, the area was inhabited by the Potawatomi and Ottawa people, who were there for centuries, using the river as a trade route into the interior.

The first European-Americans in the region were French fur traders. Madeline La Framboise and her husband, Joseph, established a fur trading post known as Gabagouache in the area that would later become Grand Haven, sometime around the turn of the 19th century. However, in late 1833, Rix Robinson, representing their competition, Jacob Astor's American Fur Company, obtained the rights to Grand Haven area lands.

Less than a year later, the Reverend William Montague Ferry, a Presbyterian minister, became the first permanent resident. Rix Robinson, along with the Rev. Ferry, Robert Stuart, and Nathan M. White, formed the New Haven Company to develop the area. The Rev. Ferry founded the first Christian church in the area and is credited with founding the neighboring city of Ferrysburg.

The New Haven Company engaged C. Burns to plat and record the village of Grand Haven in April of 1835, naming it for its location at the mouth of the Grand River. On May 2, 1835, the Rev. Ferry became Grand Haven's first postmaster, although the post office was initially named Stuart, for Robert Stuart, a friend of Ferry's. On August 12, 1835, the post office was changed to Grand Haven.

In 1838, the Sheldon Tannery opened. Later becoming the Eagle-Ottawa Leather Company, it continued in operation until 2006. A second church was established in 1850. The Rev. Ferry established the town's first bank in 1851 and also opened Ferry Elementary School, which is still in operation. Grand Haven was incorporated as a city in 1867.

In 1870, the Detroit, Grand Haven, and Milwaukee Railroad built a depot in Grand Haven, which was the western terminus of the line. Later, the line was acquired by the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, and the depot served the city as a passenger depot until passenger service between Detroit and Grand Haven ended in 1955. The Grand Trunk Depot is now a historical museum operated by the Tri-Cities Historical Society.

Grand Haven was significant logging, lumber mill, and shipping center during the mid-to-late 1800s. Given the importance of the city as a shipping center, the Grand Haven Lighthouses were built in 1839 on the south pier. The current lighthouses, built in 1875 and 1905, are connected by a lighted catwalk that runs along the pier to the shore.

On April 21, 1930, George "Baby Face" Nelson robbed his first bank in Grand Haven, escaping with about $4,000.

Currently, a significant contributor to the city's economy is as a beach resort, with opportunities for boating, fishing, sailing, biking, and skating. Grand Haven has more than a hundred miles of bike trails, a state beach, a boardwalk, two lighthouses, a pier, a wharf, and a large fishing fleet, making it a popular vacation choice for people from the inland cities of West Michigan. The state park includes a campground on Lake Michigan.

Grand Haven remains a port city, importing limestone, slag, cement, and coal while exporting sand. Additionally, the US Coast Guard maintains a field office in Grand Haven and has had a long presence in the city. The city hosts an annual Coast Guard Festival that attracts vessels from the United States and Canada, drawing more than 300,000 people over a two-week period.

The focus of this category is on the city of Grand Haven, Michigan. Online resources representing the municipal government, as well as local individuals, companies, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational and sports opportunities.


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