Skip to main content

Charles Merrill photo collection

Identifier: Collection 070

Scope and Contents

The Merrill photo collection contains 37 original photographs of Grand Rapids, Michigan circa 1887, including some duplicate images. The source of the “M-x” numbers and descriptive information on the back of the photos is unknown, but is now used as part of the description of the item. A stamp on the back of some the photos reads “C.L. Merrill & Co., Photographs and Views, Gallery, 93 Ottawa & 55 Monroe Sts., Grand Rapids, Michigan”. The original of the negatives is not known, but these are to be moved to the copy negative file, for the better protection of the image information.

The views are predominantly downtown scenes and buildings, particularly along Monroe Ave., including North Monroe (then called Canal St.) and Campau Square. A few Merrill photos can also be found in other archival collections in the Grand Rapids History & Special Collections Center, received through separate accessions.


  • circa 1887


Biographical / Historical

Charles L. Merrill worked as a photographer in Grand Rapids, Michigan from circa 1875 until 1893, per documentation in the city directories. His father, Leonard Merrill, is also listed as a photographer from the 1860s through the 1880s. Charles and Leonard worked together in the 1880s, using the name C.L. Merrill and Co.

Charles married Anna Lewis Davis in 1881 and they had a son, LeRoy A. (born 1885). Charles, Anna and LeRoy are listed on the 1900 and 1910 census records in San Diego, California.


0.67 Linear Feet (Two boxes)

Language of Materials



Charles Merrill was a Grand Rapids (Mich.) photographer. He worked in partnership with his father, Leonard Merrill, under the name C.L. Merrill and Co. This collection contains 37 original photographs with views of Grand Rapids circa 1887. The views are predominantly downtown scenes and buildings, particularly along Campau Square and Monroe Avenue, including North Monroe (then called Canal Street).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

H.E. Spicer, 6/12/1984. Accession number 1984.008


Aldrich Block (new) - folder 16

Aldrich Block (old - folder 18

Bell Tower - folder 15

Bridge - folder 8

Canal St … See Monroe St. views – folder 11

Churches- folders 8, 13

City Hall- folder 7

City Fire Bell Tower- folder 15

Covered Bridge- folder 8

Eagle Steam Dye House - folder 6

Fire Bell Tower - folder 15

Fountains - folder 3

Fulton Park- folder 8

Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad Building - folder 18

Hotels - folder 12

Jail - folder 8

Kent County Jail - folder 8 Kent State Bank Building - folder 16

Nelson, Matter Furniture Company- folder 6

Newman Building - folder 18

Parks- folders 3, 8

Pearl Street Bridge - folder 8

Pearl Street Covered Bridge - folder 8

Schools - folders 2, 4

Siegel Building - folder 18

Steketee Building- folder 16

Tower Clock Building- folder 1

United States Federal Building - folder 5

Veterans Park - folder 8

Wonderly Building- folder 1

Finding aid for the Charles Merrill photo collection
May 1988
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Grand Rapids History Center Repository

Grand Rapids Public Library
111 Library Street NE
Grand Rapids Michigan 49503 USA