March 5, 2021

#14 Fish Ladder Park

624 Front Street

3.38 Acres

Today was a great day to visit Fish Ladder Park on the west side of Grand River, downtown just north of I-96 and south of the 6th Street Bridge. We made a nice loop walking along the west side of the river, crossing the 6th Street Bridge, down the east side of the river and crossing the river again on Michigan Ave. We visited Sixth Street Park and Canal Park along the way on the east side of the river (more to come later).

Although the fishing wasn’t very good and we didn’t see any fish ascending the ladder, still there were a lot of fishermen out in boats just below the dam. The water was flowing pretty dramatically with the snowmelt. We did see one good catch- a fish probably 24 inches hooked by a man casting off the edge of the river. Everyone around him seemed envious.

Fish use the ladder to bypass the fast flow of the dam and make their way upstream to spawn. Although there is some activity in the spring, the majority of fish spawn in the fall. Visiting the fish ladder in the autumn is amazing when the salmon are running! I’d recommend it to anyone.

The fish ladder was constructed in 1974. It is a functional piece of art, the design of which was created by artist Joseph Kinnebrew. There is a parking lot off Front Ave. just west of the fish ladder. Restrooms (in season) and free WIFI also available.

View of Fish Ladder Park and the 6th Street Dam, from east side of Grand River

Catch of the Day!

Sculpture by Joseph Kinnebrew , overlying the “ladder”

Lincoln Park

March 2, 2021

Park #13 Lincoln Park 1120 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids 49504 12.45 acres

Lincoln Park is a large neighborhood park on the NW side, bounded by Bridge Street on the north and Jackson on the south. A parking lot is accessed on the east side, off Marion Ave.

On this cold March day, snow was still deep in places, but the bright newer playground structures and the beautifully “muraled” park shelter house/community building drew us is. The shelter house is home to John Ball Area Neighbors, a NW neighborhood association which has a presence on Facebook. (I checked it out-pre-Covid looks very active.)

We had a nice stroll through the park, checked out the playground, the splash pad, the basketball courts and tennis courts. Large open area with lots of mature trees, benches and picnic tables must beckon neighbors in the warmer months.

This park was established in in the 1880s, making it one of the oldest parks in Grand Rapids. Many changes occurred through the years first with carriage paths, gardens, a fountain and later a dance/concert pavilion. A swimming pool was added in 1943, replaced in 2000. It was later removed in 2010 due to the expense of maintaining.

Postcard from 1910, sent to a relative. Interesting message on the reverse side!