Belknap Lookout is a neighborhood on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids.


The neighborhood is bound by Leonard Street on the north, College Avenue on the east, Crescent Street on the south, and the Grand River on the west.

(Items on this map are dynamically generated with semantic data. Viget articles coded as located in Belknap Lookout and having geographic coordinates will be automatically shown.)


Food & Fun

In our neighborhood, instead of calling it a "Pub Crawl" we call it a "Stair Stumble"

External links

Unique facts and features

  • I-196 was constructed in 1963, limiting access to the neighborhood from downtown. Fill for the construction came from Belknap Park. The eroded hillside was rebuilt into the Earthwork project, also known as the “X”, by Robert Morris (artist) in 1974. It is the first major art earthwork to be supported by government funds, including from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • The neighborhood has 2 cobblestone streets built in the mid to late- 1800’s: Trowbridge Street and North Avenue. Local leaders designated both streets as local historic landmarks in 1975.
  • Due to Belknap's unique topography, there are over 400 steps on 4 staircases throughout the neighborhood.
  • Belknap Lookout area officially became a neighborhood in 1926.
  • Named after Charles E. Belknap - First Commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America, Mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1884, and U.S. Congressmen in 1888.
  • Belknap Lookout contained the city’s first cemetery.
  • A 6 million gallon reservoir fed from a natural spring serves the city as emergency and evening water supply. The reservoir failed in both 1880 and 1900 causing over $1 million in damages to area homes.
  • Early residents of Belknap were served by a complete business district on Michigan Avenue which contained many retail stores. In 1970’s this corridor began to develop into a life sciences corridor with Butterworth Hospital. [1]


The name "Belknap Lookout" has two separate derivations. The word Belknap comes from the surname of Charles E. Belknap. Belknap was a Grand Rapids resident who came home from the Civil War in 1871 to serve Grand Rapids as the first commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America, as mayor in 1884 and as a U.S. congressman in 1888. The word Lookout comes from what is perhaps the neighborhood's most prominent feature, Belknap Hill: a 160ft high bluff overlooking the downtown of the City of Grand Rapids.

The area which forms the Belknap Lookout Neighborhood was purchased from the government in 1831 by Charles Dexter. In 1850 the area was included in the original organization of the city of Grand Rapids.

In its early days the area was significant for several reasons. First, the neighborhood contained the city's first cemetery. More importantly, the neighborhood contained a spring known as an excellent supply of drinking water. Shortly after the spring's discovery, water pipelines where built connecting the water supply to downtown Grand Rapids through Michigan, Lyon and Monroe. After a disastrous fire in 1873, the citizens of Grand Rapids realized they needed a larger supply of water. A water reservoir, which today holds 6 million gallons of water, was constructed within the neighborhood. This reservoir was intended to be a backup water supply for the City of Grand Rapids. In 1880, the reservoir leaked and flooded Ottawa Avenue. In 1900, the reservoir failed again and flooded Coldbrook, Newberg, Coit, Clancy, and Bradford Streets. The latter flood caused more than a million dollars in damages.

Construction of homes, in significant numbers, did not occur within the neighborhood until 1874. Heavy construction lasted until approximately 1888. Early residents of the Belknap Lookout neighborhood included the mayor, city attorney, school principal, superintendent, bankers, newspaper editors, physicians, musicians, furniture carvers, and factory foreman. The homes on the West side of the neighborhood tend to be larger and more expensive than those on the East side. [2]


  • Total Population : 4,234 (2000) 4,259 (2010)
  • Race (2000/2010):
    • White 52.9%/56.4%
    • Black 23.2%/22%
    • American Indian and Alaska Native 1.3%/0.6
    • Asian or Pacific Islander 1.7%/1.2%
    • Some other race 0.3%/0.1%
    • Two or more races 5.0%/5.2%
    • Hispanic/Latino 15.6%/14.4%
  • Age (2000/2010): 32%/26.5% of population is under 18 -and- 7%/3% of population is over 65



1. ^ Heart & Soul: The Story of Grand Rapids Neighborhoods by Linda Samuelson (Author), Andrew Schrier (Editor) 2. ^ Historical Profile, Community Research Institute, Grand Valley State University 3. ^ US Census 2000