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United States History

Grand Valley State University

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A “Self-Made Town”: Semi-Annual Furniture Expositions And The Development Of Civic Identity In Grand Rapids, 1878–1965, Scott St. Louis Oct 2018

A “Self-Made Town”: Semi-Annual Furniture Expositions And The Development Of Civic Identity In Grand Rapids, 1878–1965, Scott St. Louis

Peer Reviewed Articles

In the later decades of the nineteenth century, prominent business figures in the city of Grand Rapids had reason to be both ambitious and optimistic. Striving to pull every last cent of profit out of available resources, they rationalized production workflows and integrated the latest technologies into their factories. They also perceptively discerned that a maturing railroad network connecting Grand Rapids to an emerging Victorian consumer economy would empower the city to achieve new levels of prosperity and fame through an industry on the verge of unprecedented growth: domestic furniture production.

These entrepreneurs acted upon their hopes for the community ...