City directories are great pathways into the historical imaginary. They have been used locally in researching projects for Civic Studio. City Directories are indexes of places and people that can be searched in either direction. Start with a location and find out who lived/worked there. Or start with a name and find out where they lived/worked.
A full set is available at the Grand Rapids Public LIbrary.
Google books has published City Directories for the following years: