Bricks play a major role in the history of Grand Rapids.
Many of the most famous commercial buildings and homes in Grand Rapids are built of brick. Included among these are:
- The Meyer May house
- Calvin College -The exterior of nearly all the buildings on Calvin's Knollcrest Campus are made of one kind of brick, commonly referred to as "Calvin Brick."
Historically, many of Grand Rapids's streets were paved with brick. Several streets still bear their historic brick, while others have been repaved with new brick in an effort to pay tribute to the city's heritage.
Grand Rapids industrial history relied upon shipping goods down the Grand River to Lake Michigan and beyond. Ships would use bricks as ballast when coming into port in Grand Rapids, dump the bricks, load up with furniture or other commodities, and set off. Many Grand Rapids buildings are built with the ballast cast off of ships, including: