Grand Rapids is located in Kent County (is the county seat), and in the West-Southwest Region. This city lies north of Kalamazoo between Muskegon and Lansing, along Interstate 96 on the banks of the Grand River.
Louis Campau, a French trader, set up a trading post here in 1826. He purchased land from the federal government - for $90 - that would become Grand Rapids' downtown district. By 1850, the city had one furniture factory and several private furniture piece shops. The river was used to generate power for the factory and bring logs from the forests upstream. By 1876, Grand Rapids became known worldwide for fine furniture production. The city became the first in the United States to add fluoride to its drinking water in 1945.
Today, Grand Rapids is considered the world leader in office furniture production. Reflecting a diversified ethnic mix, Grand Rapids holds festivals throughout the year. The city boasts more than 2,000 acres of parklands.