The indigenous people of Alaska have a rich and colorful history. Come to the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (WEIO) to learn more about it. The games all rooted in Native history, are made up of such diverse events as blanket tossing, high kicking, knuckle hopping, fish cutting, seal skinning, and beautiful babies in Native regalia. WEIO is one way those histories are kept alive. Through his work at the Alaska Native Heritage Center and in the Native Studies Program at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, Casey Ferguson is making a career of making sure the old ways are celebrated.

A lively account of the heroic men who did what many thought impossible and built a railroad to connect America’s East and West coasts. They faced extremes of weather, hostile Natives, dynamiting through mountains— and in the Sierra Nevada range where that was impossible, they laid track on the mountains’ edge. Before the railroad, travel from New York to California took six months or more, and some didn’t survive the journey. After the railroad, one could make the trip from sea to shining sea in just six days. (3rd and 4th grade reading level.)

 

Every city has its luminaries who make names for themselves beyond the boundaries of their hometown. The Grand Rapids area claims President Gerald Ford, astronauts Roger Chaffee and Jack Lousma, author Chris Van Allsburg, and sports legends including Wally Pipp, Stan Ketchel, and Terry Barr. But it’s mostly about the unsung heroes whose deeds should not be forgotten. Read how South High School raised enough money to buy a B-17 bomber in World War II. The Spirit of South High was christened in Grand Rapids on April2, 1943. And let’s not forget a German shepherd named Spooky who was taught to serve patrons beer in his owner’s Westside tavern.

 

An often funny, sometimes poignant, and always entertaining account of the gone-but-not-forgotten eateries that once graced the Grand Rapids area. One of the author’s favorite stories involves the Pantlind Hotel restaurants, along with others in the downtown area, that combined to create a mountain of garbage. Garbage was fed to denizens of city piggeries, but the hotel owner, also a farmer, thought his own hogs should pig out on the best garbage in town. The mayor sued him and won custody of hotel garbage. President Gerald Ford was a high school student working part time at Bill’s Place when his biological father showed up at the restaurant and spilled the beans.  

A pictorial history of the 265-mile Grand, Michigan’s longest waterway and was once of the Midwest’s most important. It starts as a trickle just south of Jackson and gains momentum as it winds its way through Jackson, Lansing, and Grand Rapids before flowing into Lake Michigan at Grand Haven. First used by fur trappers and traders, then the lumber industry, followed by the factories that depended on the river for power and transportation, including the once-renowned Grand Rapids furniture industry.