8th street

Factories, Tourists, and Tulips

Holland, Michigan: 1900-1945


"It was an age of smoke. Men smoked cigars. Factory smokestacks belched soot into the sky proclaiming to all the world that business was brisk. Steamships and railroad locomotives puffed long trails of wood or coal smoke as they hurried to and from the bustling city. But change was also in the air."

- The Holland Area

The turn of the century saw rapid changes in Holland. Industry continued to grow at a fast pace with the opening of DePree Chemical Company, the Holland Stove Company, Donnelly-Kelley Glass Company, and the Holland Shoe Company. These companies joined an already thriving industrial scene. The growth of industry caused a growth of population.

As industry began to take hold of the local economy and further connect the community to the rest of the world, the town's close proximity to Lake Michigan's beautiful beaches provoked a growth of tourism to the area. The building of hotels and resorts on Lake Macatawa brought many people to the area during the summer. These summer vacationers from less conservative regions offered a healthy cosmopolitan leavening to Holland's conservative culture.

The Warm Friend Hotel, which is now a retirement home, was completed in April 1925 at the cost of $500,000. Supported by the Holland Furnace Company, the builders used local labor, materials and furniture. The hotel was a favorite place to take business executives and provided a touch of Holland's heritage to visitors with bellhops and waitresses dressed in Dutch costumes.

Holland State Park opened in 1927 after the Ottawa Beach Hotel burned to the ground on November 6, 1923. The park became a favorite destination of tourists and residents in the summer months.

Holland's Tulip Time Festival was first advertised in 1930 after Holland High School teacher Lida Rogers originally suggested the idea of a tulip festival as a community beautification project. 50,000 visitors showed up to the original Tulip Time, and the festival eventually grew to one of the largest of its kind.

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  Contact: Madalyn Muncy

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities, Hope College

Madalyn Muncy, 2012