1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Big Rapids
BIG RAPIDS, a city and the county-seat of Mecosta county, Michigan, U.S.A., on both sides of the Muskegon river, 56 m. N. by E. of Grand Rapids, in the west central portion of the lower peninsula. Pop. (1890) 5303; (1900) 4686, of whom 881 were foreign-born; (1910, U.S. census) 4519. It is served by the Père Marquette and the Grand Rapids & Indiana railways. Big Rapids is the seat of the Ferris Institute (opened 1884, incorporated 1894), a large private co-educational school, founded by W.N. Ferris. The river, which falls 16 ft. within the city limits, is dammed a short distance south of the city, and 16,000 horse-power is generated, part of which is transmitted to the city. The principal manufactures are lumber and furniture, and saw-filing and filing-room machinery. Big Rapids, named from the falls of the Muskegon here, was settled in 1854, was platted in 1859 and was chartered as a city in 1869.