"Furniture City" is one of the less-cool nicknames that Grand Rapids has - I prefer "River City", but the best of all is "Beer City U.S.A." Still, there is no historical marker that I know of regarding beer in Grand Rapids. Yet.
Still, Grand Rapids really came about because of the furniture industry. As the loggers floated the fallen trees down the Grand River, much of the lumber was milled in the city and shipped over the Great Lakes. Some of that processed lumber stayed in Grand Rapids to be shaped into pieces renowned for its craftsmanship. Though the industry has declined since its high points in the early to mid-20th century, several important furniture design firms remain in West Michigan.
If you're a fan of furniture, the Furniture City History site is sure to interest you. The historical marker included in this post is located at the Grand Rapids Public Museum on the west side of the river. I've been there several times, usually when they have interesting ancient history exhibits such as Egyptian artifacts or the Dead Sea Scrolls. But they do have several nice permanent exhibits, my favorite being "Streets of Old Grand Rapids", though the carousel is a big hit with the kids. And me, too.
The first cabinet maker in Grand Rapids was William Haldane, who in 1837 set up a shop in his home at the corner of Pearl and Ottawa Sts. During the ensuing decades Grand Rapids attracted increasing numbers of furniture craftsmen. Under able business management Grand Rapids had developed into the furniture capital of America by the 1880's. Buyers the world over came for the furniture markets, first held in 1878. Grand Rapids today ranks among the leaders of the industry in quality, style, and design.
Though Escanaba may be lovely at night, we were there on a beautiful August afternoon. Man does not live on tourist attractions alone, and our first stop was Swedish Pantry, a highly rated local restaurant that served Swedish dishes in a dining room heavily populated with clocks. Definitely unusual. Though the dishes I had were not quite to my liking - a bit plain, I thought - it was still an enjoyable lunch with food I had never tried. Which is probably why I didn't like it more, I'm too used to Mexican food.