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MAILBAG: Grand Haven's name

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:41 AM


Herb, that's an excellent question and I am sure one many people may not know the answer to. To provide a little bit of insight into what the name of the town means, here is what the Pure Michigan travel website has to say:

"Grand Haven was first named Gabagouache by the Pottawattamie Indians. Once French settlers inhabited the area and made it a fur-outpost, they continued to call the location Gabagouache.  In 1835, Gabagouache was renamed Grand Haven due to its close proximity to the mouth of the Grand River and to honor the beautiful setting the river provided. In 1837, the Grand Haven community grew to become a city."

Also of historical note is that the first permanent resident was Presbyterian minister William Montague Ferry. He founded the first area church and neighboring town of Ferrysburg. Ferry created the city's first bank in the old Ferry & Son building in 1851 on Harbor Drive, and he also also started Ferry Elementary, which is still in operation.

For more information about Grand Haven and other Michigan communities, you can visit the Pure Michigan website by clicking here.

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