About Us

This is the digital portal of the Grand Rapids, Mich. City Archives and Records Center.

Our History

The City Archives and Records Center began in 1981 with grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Steelcase Corporation, and the Grand Rapids Foundation. In 1996 the Archives became a division of the Grand Rapids City Clerks Office and was moved into space in the old Grand Rapids Public Museum building at 54 Jefferson SE. 

In 2000 a new building was constructed adjacent to the Jefferson building and the facility became the Community Archives and Research Center. The CARC, as it is known, houses the City Archives and Records Center, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and Kent County. 

This Site

One of our goals at the City Archives and Records Center is to put some of our collections online. This site is the start of seeing that goal through.

The site includes photographs from the various city departments along with the Assessor's Appraisal Card Collection, which includes information and photographs on properties within the city limits. The site also contains some historical annual reports.

Images are organized by the department of origin. There are also exhibits on various subjects that pull together resources from the various departments.

Each Assessor's Appraisal File contains the photographs that were included in the file and a PDF of the historical contents of the file.

The items here do not represent the whole of what the City Archives preserves. If you do not find what you are looking for please use the contact us page. 

How To Navigate

For compiled subjects click on the Subject Exhibits tab. This will bring you to a page where various subjects bring together various photographs and files in to one location. 

The Map tab will bring you to a map of Grand Rapids with each photograph or file represented as a marker. Click the marker to view the image. 

The Departments tab will show the contents of each department while the Items tab will list each individual item. 

When you click on an individual item you may view the item by itself by clicking the photograph again. Each item will have metadata describing the item in detail. 

Use Guidelines

Feel free to share the link to the item, however if you download the item and intend to use it other than for personal use, permission and a citation is needed. Other uses besides personal include but are not limited to, publication, distribution, and posting to social media.