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GR Historical Women walking tour gets higher turnout than expected

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On a beautiful Saturday morning—perfect weather for walking—more than 130 people crammed into two rooms at the Grand Rapids Public Library (111 Library NE) to learn about an overshadowed perspective of history in Grand Rapids: The woman's perspective.

The March 5 event was sponsored by GRPL, Grand Rapids Historical Commission, Grand Rapids Historical Society and Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council. After several historians from each organization rotated from room to room highlighting key women mentioned in the GR walking tour brochure, tour participants organized into several smaller groups to start the East side of the walking tour, which took an hour to complete.

"As I worked on this project, I woke up everyday wanting to be a better person, wanting to be more committed," Marcella Beck, librarian at the local history department of GRPL, described of her experience researching for the brochure and event.

Click on the pins below for a description of each site

View GR Historical Women: Walking tour in a larger map
or print your own copy of the walking tour brochure.

  1. Grand Rapids Public Library (111 Library NE)
  2. St. Cecilia Music Society (24 Ransom NE)
  3. Former location of the Grand Rapids Art Museum (230 E. Fulton)
  4. Women's City Club (254 E. Fulton)
  5. Elizabeth Eaglesfield's former home (22 Prospect SE)
  6. Saint Mary's Health Care (Cherry and Lafayette SE)
  7. Ladies' Literary Club (61 Sheldon SE)
  8. YWCA (25 Sheldon SE)
  9. Grand Rapids Children's Museum (11 Sheldon NE)
  10. Monroe Center
  11. Ah-Nab-Awen Park
  12. Gerald R. Ford Museum (303 Pearl NW)
  13. Bissell House (Formerly 210-218 Erie NW)
  14. The Grand River
  15. Calder Plaza (Ottawa)
  16. St. Mark's Church (N. Division at Pearl NW)

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I went alone, thinking I wouldn't see many people I knew, but was very surprised to be on the tour with six friends! 

Our tour guide mentioned off-handedly about an early 20th century scholar named Constance O'Rourke who worked out of Grand Rapids - some google searches revealed the full text of her book American Humor: A Study of the National Character. Can't wait to read it! 

This was a great event!

Thanks for the follow-up article! Glad to learn so many people had a chance to see these great landmarks and hear the poignant stories behind them involving so many pioneering GR women. I've been to virtually all of the landmarks so I'm familiar with the history, but I'm sure it was a treat for all to hear them and to have Marcella as a tour guide.  She is SSOOO knowledgeable!