A toast to Beer City USA … and tourism in West Michigan

Grand Rapids Brewing Co

Beer City USA, photo by Rudy Malmquist

“Being Beer City USA has definitely helped out our business. We got a lot more tourist people than we did the first year. It’s unbelievable how many people you start talking to and they’re from out of town.
~Eric Karns, Elk Brewing

WZZM TV 13 reports that 2015 was “best year ever” for tourism in West Michigan, and folks are crediting local beer, the booming art scene, and the Pure Michigan campaign for the growth in tourism:

The year 2015 was a record-breaking year for tourism across West Michigan, which means more money into the local economy.

In 2014, 113 million visitors to Michigan generated $37.8 billion dollars — and tourism supported 326,000 jobs in the state. Now, newly released numbers show that 2015 was an even better year for attracting visitors to places like Grand Rapids and the Lakeshore.

Click for more about Grand Rapids’ Beer City nod along with information about GR Beer Week (February 17- 28) which includes the sure to sell out Grand Rapids Winter Beer Fest.

View Rudy’s photo background bigilicious and click for more of his beer photos.

#TBT: Remembering the Crew of Apollo 1

Remembering the Crew of Apollo 1

Remembering the Crew of Apollo 1, photo by NASA

“You’ll be flying along some nights with a full moon. You’re up at 45,000 feet. Up there you can see it like you can’t see it down here. It’s just the big, bright, clear moon. You look up there and just say to yourself: I’ve got to get up there. I’ve just got to get one of those flights.”
-Roger Chaffee (The New York Times, January 29, 1967, p. 48.)

Thanks to longtime Michigan in Pictures contributor Rudy Malmquist for the find on this. By total coincidence, Rudy will be back tomorrow with a photo!!

The National Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian shared this photo yesterday, saying:

Remembering the crew of Apollo 1. On January 27, 1967, astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee perished in a fire during a pre-launch test for what was to be the first crewed Apollo mission.

Rudy pointed out that Chaffee was from Grand Rapids, and you can read a very detailed biography on Roger B. Chaffee from NASA’s History Office.  Here’s a few choice bits about his early life … and here’s hoping that Michigan in Pictures readers can do their best to instill a love of service, science and following ones dreams in the young folk in their lives:

“On my honor, I will do my best…” are the first eight words of the Scout Oath for the Boy Scouts of America. Individually, the words are short and simple. Collectively, however, they speak volumes and serve to inspire millions of boys to strive for excellence. Lieutenant Commander Roger Bruce Chaffee was a Scout for whom the Oath was more than just mere words. He took the pledge to heart and accepted the challenge to fully live the words of the Oath. Whether he was meticulously hand crafting items from wood or training to be the youngest man ever to fly in space, Chaffee always did his best by putting one hundred percent of himself into the effort.

…Earlier in his career, Don Chaffee had been a barnstorming pilot who flew a Waco 10 biplane. He was a regular sight at fairgrounds and made a bit of extra money on the side by transporting passengers. He also piloted planes for parachute jumpers. Later, Don worked for Army Ordnance in Greenville and in 1942, he was transferred to the Doehler-Jarvis plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he served as Chief Inspector of Army Ordnance.

Don shared his love of flying with his son and at the age of seven, Roger enjoyed his first ride in an airplane when the family went on a short excursion over Lake Michigan. Although it was a relatively brief flight, Roger was absolutely thrilled. To satisfy his continued interested in planes, Don set up a card table in the living room where he and Roger would create model airplanes piece by piece. By the time he was nine, Roger would point to a plane flying overhead and predict, “I’ll be up there flying in one of those someday”.

…By the time Roger was fourteen, he had developed an interest in electronics engineering and tinkered with various radio projects in his spare time. In high school, he received excellent grades and maintained a 92 average. Vocational tests showed that Roger’s strongest abilities were in the area of science. He also scored high mechanically and artistically. Mathematics and science were his favorite subjects, with chemistry being particularly appealing. Once the family switched to a gas heating system, Roger transformed the outdated coal bin area into his own private workshop where he spent countless hours experimenting with his chemistry set. By the time he was a junior in high school, he was leaning toward a career as a nuclear physicist. As a senior, he established a lofty goal for himself: he wanted to someday have his name written in history books. Before the world’s super powers took their first halting steps into space, Roger Chaffee had shared his dream of being the first man on the moon with his closest friends.

Here’s an article about the fire, and if you’re in Grand Rapids, check out the Roger B Chaffee Planetarium at the Grand Rapids Museum.

New Pharaohs of GR: Steelcase Pyramid May Host SUPERNAP Data Center

Steelcase Pyramid Grand Rapids Data Center

Squished Pyramid, photo by Gary Syrba

Fox 17 reports that a Nevada-based company has chosen the former Steelcase pyramid as the site for a large data center.

Switch will build a $5 billion, 2 million square-foot SUPERNAP data center at the former Steelcase office building.

The deal is contingent on the passage of three bills currently in the Michigan state legislature.

The $5 billion reflects the costs for both the data centers and the computer servers that will be placed inside the buildings over a multi-year period, according to the company.  SUPERNAP Michigan will be the largest data center campus in the eastern U.S. and will serve Switch’s current and new clients.

Switch says that have 1,000 clients, including eBay, Intel, Shutterfly, Amgen, HP, JP Morgan Chase, Google, Amazon, Fox Broadcasting and many more.

Read on for more and get the details on the legislative changes the deal hinges on at the Freep. Here’s some cool drone footage of the Steelcase Pyramid as well. Site Selection Magazine has a writeup on the building with the tale of the tape to one of Michigan’s most iconic structures designed by Grand Rapids architectural firm The WBDC Group:

In addition to its pyramid-shaped design, the Steelcase Corporate Development Center offers several other unique amenities. The central atrium features a five-story rotating pendulum suspended over a reflective water pool. Vaulted ceilings and expansive windows throughout the building, combined with exterior balconies, provide an open and spacious workplace that makes liberal use of natural light.

The building has 333,000 sq. ft. of office space and 242,000 sq. ft. of research and development space.

Other on-site amenities include a 14,995-sq.-ft. full-service cafeteria, 12,500-sq.-ft. data center, 8,351-sq.-ft. two-story photo studio, exercise and locker rooms, card-access security, on-site video surveillance and 1,014 parking spaces.

View Gary’s photo bigger and see more in his In the City (Grand Rapids) slideshow.

More buildings & architecture on Michigan in Pictures.

Haunted Michigan: The Ada Witch

The Ada Witch

The Ada Witch, photo by farlane

You were such good readers yesterday that I’ll give you a shorter tale today. It comes from Amberrose Hammond and Michigan’s OthersideThe Ada Witch of Findley Cemetery:

The Ada Witch has been a popular legend in West Michigan for decades. For years, people have claimed to have witnessed a paranormal classic: “the lady in white.” She’s been seen wandering around the area of Findley Cemeteryand surrounding roads. But who is this mysterious “lady in white”? Over the years, this entity was given the title of the “Ada Witch,” but it’s nothing more than a nickname. Within the legend, there is nothing to support that she was a practicing witch or anything of that nature. It’s just a dramatic name that makes a good tale….

The legend says a woman during the 1800’s had been cheating on her husband. She would sneak off into the night to meet her lover. Her husband began to suspect she was up to something and pretended to fall asleep one night. After his wife got up and snuck away, he followed her and found her in the arms of another man. Rage welled up inside him and in an instant, the husband attacked the adulterous couple, killing his wife first. The two men fought until they both died from the wounds they inflicted upon each other.

For many years now, people say they have heard the sounds of a fight taking place around the Findley area, only to find no one around. The area at one point must have been open for hunting before it was developed into a residential area. There have been reports from hunters feeling a presence in the area, hearing the ghostly fight, getting tapped on the shoulder only to find no one there and even seeing a ghostly woman in white.

Read on for Amberrose’s account of her visit to the Findley Cemetery and her research into the story.

I photoshopped this picture – it’s not real. View it bigger on Flickr.

More ghost & spooky stories on Michigan in Pictures!

Happy Back to the Future Day!

Marty McFly Is Back

Marty McFly Is Back, photo by photofrenzy2000

Well, we’ve finally reached the future … or at least the future according to Back to the Future II because October 21, 2015 is Back to the Future Day! You can watch this video for a look at some of the predictions for 2015 that Back to the Future got right and also watch “Back to the Future New Years” – a music video that my friend Ben of The Rock Stop music school in Traverse City created in honor of this momentous year.

I should also add that while the iconic DeLorean was manufactured in Ireland, John DeLorean – an engineer who was youngest person to become a General Motors exec – founded the DeLorean Motor Company in Detroit on October 24, 1975.

View Gary’s photo bigger and see more from the 28th Street Metro Cruise in Grand Rapids in his slideshow.

More cars on Michigan in Pictures.

Michigan in Petoskey stones in the Final 20 for ArtPrize 7

michigan petoskey stone

michigan petoskey stone, photo by Jacob Vanderheyden

The ArtPrize Seven Final 20 has been announced with 3 of the top entries from 2013 once again in the running. Click the link to see them all, incuding this one: michigan petoskey stone by Randall Libby from Manistee. It’s on display at the DeVos Center – here’s the scoop:

WORLDS LARGEST PETOSKEY STONE DISPLAY Using petoskey stone and fossil, a framed two-dimensional display with a square shape that measures approximately nine feet (9ft.) tall by nine feet (9ft.) wide / a depth of approximately 4 inches and a weight near 700lbs. Subject matter- State of Michigan map with all 83 counties. One of a kind Hundreds of hours of labor with hundreds of individual slices of semi-precious stone- this item is sure to compete for top placement in art prize. To see examples of earlier work go to petoskeystoneart.com

View Jacob’s photo background bigtacular and see lots more in his ArtPrize 2015 slideshow.

More of ArtPrize through the years on Michigan in Pictures.

Artprize 2015 and the Sands of Time

Sands of Time

The Sands of Time, photo by Tony Reidsma

Tony Reidsma is one of the photographers I’ve featured on Michigan in Pictures who has an ArtPrize exhibit this year. His entry at ArtPrize says:

This exhibit focuses on the ever-changing shape of the shores of Lake Michigan. The lakeshore is currently experiencing erosion similar to that of the mid-1980’s and late-1990’s. At that time those dwelling on the lakeshore hastened to build the seawalls and jetties which would fortify their properties and homes from the obliterating effect of the waves pushing out of the rising water. Eventually, as the water receded, the sand returned to build up the shoreline and bury the wooden structures that were erected there.

Now, as Lake Michigan moves through its rhythms once again, the water is advancing and the sands retreating, exposing the old, decaying seawalls. I have created a photo-journal of this changing shoreline scenery, featuring the old seawalls and jetties as aged reminders of the cycles which are characteristic to our natural world.

You can watch an interview with Tony at WOOD-TV, learn more at the ArtPrize page on his website and check the exhibit out in person at Crossroads Bible Church (800 Scribner NW).