Grand River, Then and Now

Two years ago Grand Rapids, Michigan, experienced its worst flooding in over 100 years. The Grand River, which runs alongside the downtown business district, swelled to dangerous levels, flooding nearby offices, submerging some homes up to their roof lines, and rendering a number of roads impassable. Figuring I probably wouldn’t see that kind of flooding again, I grabbed a camera and headed down to the river to snap a few pictures.

This spring we’ve had plenty of rain, but the river is much lower. I took some more pictures yesterday so I could see how different things look. The contrast, I think, is pretty dramatic.

In 2013 the river crested a few feet below the road surface at the Pearl Street bridge; yesterday it flowed freely far below.

bridge, 2013
bridge, 2015

Almost the entire lawn in front of the Ford Museum was covered with water during the flood. Yesterday, people lounged on the grass, basking in the afternoon sunshine.

ford museum, 2013
ford museum, 2015

Two years ago the carousel at the Public Museum looked like it could be swept away at any moment; yesterday it was safely perched atop its stilts.

carousel, 2013
carousel, 2015

You can see more photos of the 2013 flood in a photo essay at

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