How Did The Blue Bridge Become an Iconic Piece of Downtown Grand Rapids?
The much loved and celebrated Blue Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids actually comes in many colors. It can seriously change color to fit our community mood, emotion, event, anything really.
The Blue Bridge is a beautiful walk, day or night, across the Grand River with many events held on the iconic structure every year.
But, how did we get here? The bridge didn't just suddenly fall from the sky, plop into our community. The Blue Bridge has a long history.
The bridge was originally built in 1892 by the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad, replacing an earlier bridge washed out by a log jam in 1883. It became an unexpected gateway for tourism to Northern Michigan, way long before anyone ever thought of expressways.
But, by the early 1980s, it wasn't used anymore, and over the course of the next few years as lights were added to other bridges crossing the Grand, and the River Walk began to take shape, the City of Grand Rapids partnered with local developers to transform the sad looking former railway bridge. They sand blasted the structure, added a concrete deck and decided to paint it blue. By 1987 the bridge was ready to open and what a gem it has become for downtown Grand Rapids.
Now with Art Prize...
among other happenings using the bridge, such marriage proposals...
graduation photos, wedding, and celebrations of all kinds...
as well as just a simple walk from one side of the river to the other and to and from Grand Valley State University's downtown campus, the Grand Rapids Blue Bridge has become a true iconic piece of downtown.