Grand Rapids is known as “Furniture City.” So is High Point, North Carolina.
Grand Rapids is known as “Beer City.” So is Asheville, North Carolina.
Grand Rapids is very different from either place. It sort of fascinates me, because it’s never really seen the depopulation that most other cities in the Upper Midwest have. There have been decades where the population declined a bit, but current estimates show that the city is currently at its highest population ever. And it reads like a much bigger city than it is, in some ways. The downtown area is aided by the presence of a major medical facility and several universities and colleges.
There are a ton of craft breweries and some interesting neighborhoods. The main public library rocks.
This is the first time in quite a while that I’ve spent a significant amount of time in a city I’d never visited before. And best of all, I got to hang out with a friend I hadn’t seen in almost 13 years. Bonus all the way around.
Never said I wasn’t fickle. I now have a tremendous crush on Milwaukee.
But April can be harsh:
Other random things to talk about at some point:
Big road trip a-comin’
Since I’m doing a conference presentation in Cleveland the second week in April, I decided it would be a good jumping off point for a midwestern road trip where I’ll visit some old friends, do a big chunk of research, spend time in a city I’ve been wanting to explore more extensively for twenty years, and cover some new territory.
- Cleveland: Conference presentation and sadly not much else, but Cleveland is (relatively) close by and I get there somewhat regularly anyway.
- Milwaukee: First visit since 1998. I’ve been threatening to spend some time there ever since and this is my chance. I’ll also be visiting a friend who recently relocated about forty miles away. I’ll also put in some time at the library for Groceteria.
- Grand Rapids: I’ve never been there despite the fact that there was one point where we almost moved there when I was a youngster. I’ll be visiting an old friend from san Francisco I haven’t seen since 2006 or so.
- Fort Wayne: This will be the hardcore research portion of the trip. There is a wonderful place there called the Genealogy Center. I don’t do genealogy, but I use many of the same tools for Groceteria. This place has a massive collection of print city directories (my primary tool) that fills in many of the (very numerous) holes in Ancestry’s collection. I’ve planned two days. I am a big geek. Plus I haven’t been there since 1997 either.
I’d also planned to spend a few days in Detroit/Windsor, but I’m backing off on that for now because I have too much going on here to be gone for that long and because I’d like to spend more time there. Thus I may merge this with the annual Thanksgiving road trip to Canada this year.
Anyhow follow Otherstream and Groceteria on Twitter for real-time updates. Or don’t.
Otherstream.com will be offline until all threats from the current national state of emergency have passed.
A good number of “Christian” schools (including mine) were established during desegregation. Their purpose was basically to keep kids from being challenged by anyone who looked or thought differently from them.
Yesterday in DC we saw the result.
So is America great again now?
I think this one is worth repeating today.
Making me happy this week:
- St. Elsewhere reruns on Hulu.
- OpenRefine and Oxygen.
- This article that references some weirdo who’s obsessed with supermarket history.
- Apple fritters from Aldi.
- The potential for three consecutive days of sleep (or at least a reasonable proportion of those three days).
- Cleveland and Detroit in April, with maybe a side detour through Southern Ontario.
The site currently known as Otherstream made its debut 23 years ago today.
And it’s still online.