West Michigan is renowned for several different things. We are home to the second largest city in Michigan, our beaches are renowned for their dunes, and more recently we are a blossoming art community. But with all that aside, West Michigan can be known for much more as well. Below are 5 little known facts about West Michigan.

  • 5

    Golf Mecca

    Grand Rapids is considered the golf mecca of the Midwest. Grand Rapids has 26 public golf courses in the region, making it one of the highest public golf courses-to-population ratios in the country. Grand Rapids also lies on the far West side of the Eastern Time Zone, and that means that it stays lighter much later into the night. Those two facts, make the golfing here in Grand Rapids some of the best in the nation.

    flickr / Fevi Yu
  • 4

    Hydro Electric Power

    Grand Rapids was home to our nations first hydro electric generator. In 1880, The Grand Rapids Electric Light and Power Company designed a hydro electric generator to power the Wolverine Chair Factory. West Michigan is also home to The Croton Dam, it is located on the Muskegon River in Newayago County and is one of the oldest hydro electric dams in the country. When the dam was built it had the highest voltage transmission line in the world. The dam is still in use today and is owned by Consumers Energy.

    flickr / Brian.H
  • 3

    Frederik Meijer Gardens

    The Frederik Meijer Gardens is known all across the country for several reasons. Firstly, The Frederik Meijer Gardens has the Midwest's most comprehensive sculpture collection. And secondly, the sculpture park is among the top 100 most visited museums in the world. According to the Grand Rapids Press "Meijer Gardens reported 504,488 visitors in 2009 to rank 97th on the international list of institutions that includes the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Tokyo National Museum in Japan."

    flickr / Jeff Moser / BikeCarson.com
  • 2

    Grand Rapids - Furniture City

    Ok, so this isn't a little known fact about West Michigan, but some of the nicknames origins might be little known. Late in the 19th century, West Michigan and Grand Rapids grew to become a prominent lumbering center for the Midwest. The furniture industry quickly cropped up around the are to take advantage of the raw materials. After an international furniture exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, Grand Rapids was put on the map and became world renowned as one of the leaders of fine furniture production.

    flickr / rkramer62
  • 1

    Fluoride Treatment

    Grand Rapids pioneered fluoride treatment in water. Grand Rapids was the first city in the world to add the chemical to it's public water supply. On January 25, 1945 the city began to treat it's water with fluoride. 5 years later, a study was released that found that a small dose of fluoride in the water supply drastically reduced the amount of cavities in the population. In 1951 fluoride in public water supply was mandated by the federal government.

    flickr / Pam_Broviak