We have all see the famous arches in cities around the world...

Famous City Arches

Like the Arc de triomphe in Paris...

Arc de Triomphe. Paris
Photo by Guillaume Coupy on Unsplash
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Or the St. Louis Arch in Missouri...

St. Louis Arch
Photo by Tiffany Cade on Unsplash
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There are a few natural arches, like the one in Salt Lake City...

Salt Lake City Arch
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
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Or Arch Rock on Mackinac Island...

Arch Rock, Mackinac Island
Photo by Emily Studer on Unsplash
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But did you know that the City of Grand Rapids once had an arch of its own?

The Grand Rapids Centennial Arch

Grand Rapids Centennial Arch
Credit: Public Domain
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The photo above shows Campau Square decorated for the United States' centennial in 1876. The arch was built at the intersection of Pearl, Canal, and Monroe. (Canal Street was later changed to Monroe Avenue.) The building you see just behind and to the left of the arch was Sweet's Hotel. Years later that building was replaced by the Pantlind Hotel, which today is known as the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

The Centennial Arch was 64 feet wide and 70 feet tall (that's about seven stories in height!). It was designed by Col. Joseph Penney and erected by Mr. C. H. Gifford for the celebration of the nation's 100th birthday on July 4th-6th in 1876. The arch was constructed of logs and pine bows. (It probably became quite a fire hazard after drying out in the summer sun.)

The arch had the words "All Hail Columbia", "Washington", "Lincoln", and "In God We Trust" displayed upon it. There were also several paintings by Solomon E. White attached to the arch. The artwork hanging in the center of the arch was of George Washington and his horse.

Not only was the national celebrating their 100th birthday, but that same  year the City of Grand Rapids was also celebrating their 50th anniversary of the founding of the city.

All that remains are a few pictures of the Centennial Arch...

Grand Rapids Centennial Arch
Credit: Public Domain
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Grand Rapids Centennial Arch
Credit: Public Domain
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It is so weird to see downtown Grand Rapids with dirt roads!

Here is what that same intersection looks like today...

Downtown Grand Rapids
Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media
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Here's a look back at Grand Rapids about 100 years ago...

See What Grand Rapids Looked Like Almost 100 Years Ago

A look back at what the city of Grand Rapids looked like sometime in the 1920s. The pictures come from a film called "Grand Rapids Gateway to the Playground of a Nation and the Furniture Capital of America". The film was used to get businesses and organizations to have their conventions in the city of Grand Rapids, MI.