As I looked for the words to describe the feeling of driving by the old Bissell building on Monroe along the river in the Creston neighborhood, the William Faulkner line, ”The past isn't dead; it isn't even past” comes to mind.
For starters, this former factory situated on the Grand River, a place where much will be happening over the next decade, is on the market so we can see the signs that this building rooted in our past is still very much a part of our present (and future).
But getting to this moment of transition takes time and is often the subject of those who share stories of our history. And while this group is small-ish in comparison to the crowds that often swarm our events, stories of our history told from our locals who have committed time to our stories is a great reason to come out this Thursday to the downtown Grand Rapids Public Library for a presentation on the history of Bissell as told through its design and advertising from our Grand Rapids Historical Society.
This presentation of the visual history of Bissell begins with Melville Bissell, who patented his first carpet sweeper in 1876. This invention would kick off a series of innovations that helped propel an industry devoted to assisting us in cleaning up our messes … and quickly.
Grand Rapids Historical Society’s “143 Years of Bissell History Through Design & Advertising
” will be presented by Lori Huisman & Tiffany Dekker and will cover our local firm’s rich history through advertising, design, and brand collections. This visual-rich event will showcase the many influences from notables such as Claude C. Hopkins and Harley Earl, had on our locally-grown brand. This event will lift up the many people who contributed to the evolution of Bissell’s products as they center many of the key milestones that influenced this area firm’s success.
While we have many buildings that have come and gone in our city, why not commit this new year to learn more about the city many are calling their home for the first time in history as we welcome more and more with each passing year. If at the very least, having a working knowledge makes you a better dinner guest invite than someone who can recite the latest restaurant that opened here.
History has a way of helping us understand our community and with informative and research-based programming like presented via groups like our Grand Rapids Historical Society, we all can begin to better understand our present surroundings better as we prepare to navigate into the future.
As a reminder, all Grand Rapids Historical Society programs are free and open to the public. No ticket required.