23 Signs You are a Grand Rapids Native:

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Fantastic GR photo by Rachel Kramer via flickr

I’ve seen several “You know you are from Grand Rapids” lists lately, but not all of them seem like they were composed by a true native. Here’s my list as someone who was born and bred right here in GR. I know you have more, so join in. Add on in the comments, I’d love to read them!

  • You have almost as many photos of yourself as a kid on John Ball’s lap as you do Santa’s. (Extra points if you know where John Ball is buried)
  • You understand this joke: Where do babies come from? Butterworth or Blodgett.
  • You understand why instead of saying “Flowerland” we say “Fruitbasket,” (Extra points if you actually bought fruit there.)
  • You’ve ever seen a movie at “the largest movie theater in the country”, went east to Showcase Cinemas, paid $.99 for the Alpine Twin, saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the midnight movies at North Kent or went to the drive-in in Standale.
  • You occasionally crave a Mr. Fab.
  • When someone says they are going to “Thrifty Acres” you know what they are talking about.
  • You know how many Frank Lloyd Wright homes are in Grand Rapids. (Hint: One.)*
  • You know that the weather ball used to be a lot higher up.
  • You know we almost lost the Sixth Street Bridge.
  • You’ve ever shopped at Roger’s, Jacobsen’s, Ganto’s, Steketee’s, City Centre or Herpolsheimer’s.
  • You know how Division got it’s name. (And why Fulton is as important.)
  • You drive by the Lowe’s on Plainfield and want an Orange Julius and a hot pretzel. (And wonder whatever happened to Icarus.)
  • You know where the center of the universe is, and why you should eat there.
  • You know why the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s rehearsal rooms are “Majestic.”
  • You remember when Circle was “in the Park.”
  • You’ve seen a show at the Welsh Auditorium.
  • You have seen a production of “Nutcracker” performed by Michigan’s only professional ballet company.
  • You know why we have a monument to fluoride.
  • You know the exact location of your favorite food booths at Festival.
  • Occasionally slip and still call it the “Junior” college.
  • You still call Rivertown “the new mall” and when people mention the mall in Grandville, you think of Grand Village Mall.
  • You know why there are no “rapids” in Grand Rapids, but know there might be again someday.
  • You understand what is happening in this photo:

herpleshimer train

*Note from me: I received a private message asking if there wasn’t two Frank Lloyd Wright homes, not one. That’s a common mistake. The other home was designed by an architect in FLW’s office, most likely a woman. I learned about it on the Heritage Hill Tour of Homes some years ago, but there is a great article by Peter Beers about it here: peterbeers.net


  1. How about Olan Mills, where everyone had their pictures taken at some point in their life. Usually with a fake split rail fence and a cheesy background.

  2. The Dutch oven restaurant on south Division, and the BiG water tower in Wyoming, across from theBeltline Drive In. dose anyone else remember when there was a mini-golf course in front of the screen?

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