2015 Baxter Award Recipient
To those who move in local history circles in Grand Rapids, Garret Ellison is no stranger. Since 2008, when he began writing for the Grand Rapids Press, and particularly during the last three or four years, Garret has dedicated significant effort to the production of many feature articles published in the Grand Rapids Press, and the MLive on-line version thereof, covering historical events and presenting to the reading public the stories of those in our past who have made and shaped this community.
Born in Grand Rapids in 1982, Garret spent much of his childhood living in Traverse City, before completing his education at Central Michigan University and Northwestern Michigan University, and returning to his hometown in 2008 to write for the Press. His work for the Press has uniformly exhibited a level of wit, humor and erudition that is sadly all too often lacking in contemporary reportage, resulting in his attracting a considerable readership that comfortably relies on his thorough research and thoughtful work product.
Feature articles on many subjects, including the history and changes of Monroe Avenue, and most recently, the story of the ‘urban renewal’ that swept through Grand Rapids in the 1960s have reacquainted and fascinated thousands of readers about aspects of our history that have come perilously close to slipping from common knowledge. Grand Rapids, and its downtown areas have not always looked and felt the way that they do today, and it has been Garret’s prosaic and finely researched pieces that have greatly increased the general familiarity and appreciation of our historical environment, and awakened both a new and renewed interest in local history in thousands of Grand Rapidians.
Most notable among Garret’s published articles have been the half-dozen pieces written about, and in support of the Society’s cemetery walks. Far more than mere announcements of an event, these articles have presented the history of each site, the highlights of each walk, and most importantly, have advocated successfully for the cultural and historical importance of cemetery studies. Each of these meticulously researched articles, reflecting Garret’s clear and passionate interest in our history, has been directly responsible for the huge success of each of the walks, attracting unprecedented crowds, and in the process, fostering a growing awareness by local citizens of the actions and mission of the Society.
— Thomas R. Dilley
An Article in The Rapidian by Sharon Hanks for Grand Rapids Historical Society, Friday, May 15, 2015
Grand Rapids Press Reporter Garret Ellison honored with 2015 Baxter Award by the Grand Rapids Historical Society