Grand Haven

Grand Haven Description

Grand Haven dates its founding to French settlers and a fur-trading outpost called Gabagouache, which was first established by Madeline La Framboise and her husband. The outpost took the name from the Pottawattamie Indians name for the area, Gabagouache. The trading post was later taken over by business tycoon and first millionaire in the United States, John Jacob Astor and the American Fur Company and became a hub of economic activity in the area.

The Pottawattamie and Ottawa Indians lived in the area much earlier as the river was a major Native American trade route into the interior of Michigan. The impact of the Ottawa tribe on the area continues to be seen with the discovery of new artifacts.

The city was first called "Grand Haven" in 1835 and the community was incorporated as a city in 1867. The first permanent resident was a Presbyterian minister, William Montague Ferry, who founded the first area church and neighboring town of Ferrysburg. The second church opened 16 years later in 1850. In 1851, Ferry created the city's first bank in the old Ferry & Son building on Harbor Drive. Ferry also started a school, Ferry Elementary, which is still operating to this day.

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