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Dwight Lydell – A Monument in Grand Rapids, MI

Dwight Lydell of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a monument in his own right. Known as 'The Father of Grand Rapids,' Dwight made a lasting impact on the city, opening up its doors to the rest of the world and helping to create the vibrant and intricate hub of industry, creativity, and culture we know and love today. Dwight was born in Grand Rapids in 1896, the oldest of three children. His mother was a stay-at-home mom, and his father worked in the shipping department at a local furniture factory. Growing up, Dwight was an avid reader and quickly developed an interest in politics, which he studied in the evenings after school. Information can be found here.

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In 1919, Dwight was elected to the Grand Rapids City Commission and was soon re-elected to serve for an additional two terms. During this time, he pushed for great social and economic reform, such as tax cuts for the middle class and regulations that protected the river and its wildlife from industrial waste. In 1926, Dwight ran for mayor, a post he held for four consecutive terms. During his 20 years in office, he is credited with transforming Grand Rapids with his bold vision, and it's still remembered today. Under his leadership, the city saw exponential growth in industry, population, and culture. He strongly advocated for public works projects, such as the establishment of the waterworks, installation of the sewer and water systems, and establishment of parks and recreation facilities. See here for information about Provin Trails, Grand Rapids, MI: An Unforgettable Outdoor Adventure.

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