Grand Haven is a city located in Ottawa County, Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 11,168. It is the county seat of Ottawa County. The city is located just north of Grand Haven Charter Township.
It is located at the mouth of the Grand River and the river provides a haven from Lake Michigan which explains the name of the city. Several marinas along the river serve as man-made harbors. The city dates its founding to a fur-trading outpost of the American Fur Company called Gabagouache and dating back to at least 1809, although the Ottawa lived in the area much earlier as it was a major Native American trade route on the largest river into the interior of Michigan. The city was first called Grand Haven in 1835 and it was incorporated as a city in 1867. The first permanent resident was Presbyterian minister, William Ferry who founded the first area church; Ferry is also the founder of the neighboring town of Ferrysburg. The second church opened 16 years later in 1850. Ferry also began the first bank in 1851. Grand Haven developed into an logging, lumber mill and shipping area. The area is now a resort and boating community, with a large charter fishing fleet.
Grand Haven State Park includes a beach and campground in the downtown area.
The Grand Haven Lighthouses were first built in 1839 on the south pier marking the channel into the river. The current lighthouses, painted red, were built in 1875 (outer light) and 1905 (inner). They are connected by a lighted catwalk which runs along the pier to the shore.
Grand Haven is home to the U.S. Coast Guard's Group Grand Haven which coordinates all Lake Michigan Coast Guard activities. The first Coast Guard presence in the city was in 1932. The city hosts the annual Coast Guard Festival which draws U.S. and Canadian vessels along with parades of bands and other activities. The yearly attendance for this event exceeds 100,000 people over the 2 week period of the festival. Grand Havne is also official designated as Coast Guard City USA by and act of Congress signed by President Clinton. The act was Public Law 105-383 enacted by the United States Congress and signed by the President on November 13, 1998
The former Grand Trunk Railway on the waterfront near the river is now a historical museum. The Story and Clark Piano Company built pianos in the city from 1900-1984. The oldest business in the city is the Eagle-Ottawa Leather Co. which traces its origin back to the Sheldon Tannery founded in 1838.
The lighted musical fountain was built on the opposite bank of the Grand River from the city in 1962. It plays nightly in tourist season and was once the world's largest such fountain. It covers nearly the area of a football field.
Web Sites and Links
Community Link - Grand Haven ViewbookInteractive map and reference guide.
Definitive Grand HavenLocal merchants, organizations and events.
Grand Haven Chamber of CommerceVisitor's bureau, economic development, and training connections.
Grand Haven Memorial AirparkComplete aeronautical information including location, runways, taxiways, navaids, radio frequencies, FBO information, sunrise and sunset times, aerial photo, airport diagram.
Grand Haven Tri-It GuideCommunity and tourism guide.
Grand Haven: WikipediaCensus, geography, and demographic information for the city.
WestShore DeColores MinistriesAn interfaith Christian movement to renew faith. Features applications, newsletters, calendar, history, and secretariat.