Get ready to be wowed - Grand Rapids never fails to surprise visitors with the huge variety of things to see and do here: World-renowned art, museums and historic sites for cultural vacationers. World-class golf, recreation and beaches for nature lovers. Incredible farm-to-table restaurants for foodies and wholesome "playcation" fun for families.
The Spirit of Solidarity commemorates the great furniture strike of 1911, and celebrates the efforts of working people in the building of Grand Rapids. On April 19, 1911, more than 6,000 local workers walked out of 50 furniture factories to protest pay and working conditions. The workers overcame their deep cultural divisions and united for their common good, setting the stage for many labor gains to come.
Dedicated in 2007, this memorial represents a 10-year labor of love by the Labor Heritage Society of West Michigan. The statues were carved and cast by Roberto Chenlo, a former member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and the landscape architecture was designed by Gregory Scott. The woman in the sculpture represents the wives of the workers who supported the strike despite personal hardship. She is depicted hiding rocks under her skirt, just as women did during the one violent outburst of the strike. The older male figure symbolizes the Dutch Protestant who stood firm with his fellow workers despite attempts by factory owners to use religion to divide workers. The third figure represents immigrant Catholics who brought the values and actions of solidarity with them from Europe.