The City of Grand Rapids was already well established in Michigan, and soon to grow to become the second largest city in the state of Michigan. But, here is another piece of history you probably didn't know. There was another City of Grand Rapids, on the Great Lakes, and she was equally as Grand!

She was a Steamship, CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS, and she sailed the Great Lakes. Back in her day, she was called the First Lady of the Great Lakes because she was the most luxurious of the passenger vessels on the Great Lakes.

The City of Grand Rapids Great Lakes Steamship

Kyran Clune/Facebook
Kyran Clune/Facebook
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Built in 1912, her 4-decks carried passengers around the Great Lakes for decades. The City of Grand Rapids sailed the Great Lakes until 1951 when lack of interest of Great Lakes sailing, age and newer ships took her place, and she was sold for scrap. Sad.

Actually, sailing the Great Lakes probably began way back in 1844 when ships carried passengers and cargo around to ports. It was in the 1900s the more luxurious ships were built for the growing passenger and cruising business took off.

Northern Michigan wasn't really accessible except by the passenger ships. In the late 19th century, many early tourists arrived at Northern Michigan resort areas via a Lake Michigan steamship. Chicago to Harbor Springs was a popular trip for many passengers.

Grand Salon on the City of Detroit Great Lakes Steamer 

Wikipedia/City of Detroit
Wikipedia/City of Detroit
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It was pretty luxurious on these ships, too. Can't you just picture the period between 1910 and 1931, when crowds would gather at the Glen Haven docks on Saturdays and Sundays. Wikipedia says, motorcoaches awaited newly arriving resort guests while many summer home residents rode to the docks to meet husbands or fathers arriving from Chicago.

We all know that Ernest Hemingway spent the majority of his first 22 summers in Northern Michigan, around Petoskey. He often traveled by steamer from Chicago to Harbor Springs. Hey, maybe he sailed on The City of Grand Rapids.

 

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