Grand Rapids, then and now


On the historic maps, click on an area to see the appraiser's description, which will appear on the right. To enlarge those descriptions, click on it and it will appear on the left. Scroll around to see how they identified the neighborhood and its inhabitants and how appraisers felt about the area's long-term prospects.


Blacks were a small proportion of the city's population in the 1930s, centered in an area near Joe Taylor Park southeast of downtown (shaded red). That area and those adjoining it remain the center of the black population today (colored red), with over half of their residents African American (overall, Grand Rapids is 21 percent black). Those areas deemed the best in 1937, including East Grand Rapids, where no blacks lived, remain largely white today, with less than 2 percent of the population there being black (shaded green; more than 90 percent white).

See the other historic maps in this series:

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Tue, 08/08/2017 - 2:55pm

Having grown up in Grand Rapids, I find this fascinating--but very sobering. Thanks, Mike, for providing these maps and documents along with your eye-opening article.