Downtown Grand Rapids, Kent County
Kent County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is part of the Grand Rapids–Wyoming Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the county had a population of 602,622. It is named for New York jurist and legal scholar James Kent, who represented the Michigan Territory in its dispute with Ohio over the Toledo Strip.
The Grand River, the largest river in Michigan, runs through the county. On its west bank are burial mounds, remnants of the Hopewell Indians who once lived there. The valley of the river served as an important center for the fur trade in the early 19th century. In 1831, it was set off from Mackinac County. In 1838, Grand Rapids incorporated as the county's first village. By the end of the century, stimulated by the construction of several sawmills, the area was a significant center for agriculture,logging, and manufacturing furniture.
Kent County is the economic and manufacturing center of West Michigan, with the Steelcase corporation based in the county. It is also the home of the Frederik Meijer Gardens, a significant cultural landmark of the Midwest. The county is a traditional stronghold for the Republican Party, with a substantial conservative population, although the 2008 Presidential Election marked the first time since 1964 a Democratic Presidential candidate received more votes than his Republican opponent. The area has strong religious ties, containing a substantial number of evangelical Christians. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is located within the county.