Thomas D. Gilbert was born December 13, 1815 in Greenfield, Massachusetts and became an influential man in Grand Rapids later in life. He was married to Mary A. Bingham in 1871. He died in 1894, while Mrs. Gilbert lived until November 8, 1910.
- 1835 - Gilbert moved to Grand Haven in June to run a sawmill.
- 1855 - He got into the lumber trade and moved to Grand Rapids .
- 1860 - He was made Secretary, Treasurer, and Managing Director of the Grand Rapids Gas Light Company.
- 1865 - Gilbert was elected President of City National Bank.
- Gilbert was a civic-minded man who planted trees in, built paths in, kept livestock out of and tended Veteran's Memorial Park.
- Gilbert was appointed a member of the Board of Public Works in 1883.
- He was instrumental in planting trees in the Third Ward.
- Gilbert sat on the Grand Rapids Board of Education for several years.
- Gilbert donated land and time to the creation the Fulton Street Cemetary and was President of the Fulton Street Cemetery Association of the City of Grand Rapids.
- 1841-1842 - Gilbert was Sheriff of Ottawa County.
- 1861-1862 - Gilbert was a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives.
- 1864 - Gilbert was a Presidential Elector for the Fifth Congressional District of Michigan.
- 1864-1875 - Gilbert was a member of University of Michigan Board of Regents.
- Gilbert also served two and a half years as Alderman of the Second Ward.
- Gilbert was the President of the Kent County Soldiers' Monument Association, and was heavily responsible for the Soldiers' Monument in the park at the corner of Fulton Street, Division Avenue, and Monroe Center.
- There is a Bust of Thomas D. Gilbert in Veteran's Memorial Park to honor his contributions to the park and the city.