Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg / Vandenberg Center
Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg
Arthur H. Vandenberg was born in Grand Rapids on March 22, 1884. Poverty forced him to work a variety of jobs as a youth, but in 1906 he was editor of the Grand Rapids Herald. In 1928, Governor Fred Green appointed him to the United States Senate, a position he held until his death in 1951. In the 1930s Vandenberg fathered the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and supported isolationism. However, during World War II he decided that international involvement was unavoidable, and in 1945 he helped draft the United Nations Charter. A lifelong Republican, he was a post-war advocate of bi-partisan foreign policy. He lead Senate support of aid to Greece and Turkey and the Marshall Plan. His "Vandenberg Resolution" paved the way for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and The Military Assistance Program.
Vandenberg Center encompasses 12.5 acres lying to the northeast of this site. It was part of the land originally registered on September 19, 1831, by Louis Campau, Grand Rapids' first permanent settler. Campau platted the village of Grand Rapids, running his streets at right angles to what was known as upper Monroe Avenue, now Monroe Mall. Just to the north, on land purchased from Campau, land surveyor Lucuis Lyon platted the Village of Kent, laying the street squarely on the compass. There was no direct connection between the two street plans until 1873. Vandenberg Center was once the site of industry, commerce, hotels and government offices. The federal urban renewal program of the 1960s cleared the area, providing space for the new City-County complex, the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building and other office structures.