Kent City

The drive to Kent City, taking Fruit Ridge Avenue north from I-96, is pretty. Orchards. Farms. Rolling hills. And Kent City is like many cities in the region, serving farmers and having a bit of manufacturing, with a railroad line running through it. (You can see Kent City Plastics in the background of the first photo below.) The population is about 1,100 these days.

Most of the houses in town are small, and many look to have been built just after World War II. I imagine that it’s hard for the town to keep stores and restaurants going, with Sparta just down the road (to the south) and the greater Grand Rapids area a few miles beyond that.

The business district in the village includes a post office, a barbershop, a hair salon, a couple small cafes/restaurants, a pharmacy, a gas station, and more. This little store seemed a bit beat up, but the old building is lovely and and the bright red-orange color caught my eye. The photo feels a bit like a portrait of a building. The classic small town architecture has a pleasing style.

I am not sure if this garage is open, but I’d guess not. It might have been just a few years ago. In the Google Maps picture of this part of the street, from a few years ago, I presume, the windows and door are not boarded up.

I like this image of the Laundry Mat, reflected in a window across the street. It looks abstract, with the face of the laundry mat seeming to float askew in the air.

The pharmacy caught my eye for the large number of vaccination posters in the windows. The ones I photographed don’t promote COVID-19 shots, but rather general ones for children and adults and the annual flu shot. Some emphasize community, some emphasize patriotism. I’m curious whether people these days instinctively see all posters like this as about COVID-19.

Finally, an image one of the restaurants in town, a pizza place. It’s sign indicates that it’s been there since 1994, though I’m not sure if that date refers to the particular store in Kent City or to the small chain (stores in Sparta and Ravenna too).

The summer is nearing its end. I know if lasts until September 22, technically, but the start of the school year feels like the turn to fall for me. With a new schedule at Calvin University, we now start on the Monday before Labor Day (August 30 this year). I am looking forward to seeing my students, but the steady rise in Delta variant COVID-19 cases in Michigan in the past couple of weeks makes the thought of classrooms feel a bit ominous.

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