I've shown some photos of the childhood homes of other Michiganders like Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Eminem, and others...this time around, it's the boyhood home of a politician: former U.S. President Gerald Ford.

Ford's boyhood home is located at 649 Union Avenue SE in Grand Rapids and is now a certified member of the National Register of Historic Places. He lived here from the ages of eight to seventeen during the years 1921 to 1930. In his autobiography, this is the home he seems to remember the most fondly.

Little Jerry was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska in 1913. When he was three years old, his mother packed and moved them to Grand Rapids, leaving an abusive, alcoholic, wife-beating husband behind. You can read more about Gerald's abusive biological father here.

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Once they were in Michigan, Jerry's mom Dorothy met a man by the name of Gerald Rudolph Ford who owned his own paint store. They married in 1916.

The Fords moved into the house on Union Avenue during a time when Gerald's stepfather was having trouble financially. They started out renting the house until they were financially able to buy it...which they did, in 1925.

Young Jerry attended the Madison elementary school, followed by South High School, where he began his sports years. He excelled in high school football and became team captain as well as All-State center. His talent got him into the University of Michigan where he continued playing football and became the team's Most Valuable Player in his senior year. He was even offered contracts by the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers but turned them down. In 1938 he ended up going to Yale where his political ambitions began to take hold.

The gallery below shows a few photos of Ford's old childhood Grand Rapids home and some photos of a young Jerry as well.

Young Gerald Ford and His Grand Rapids Boyhood Home


Bill Bonds

Edgar Bergen and the Town of Decatur

Willis Ward

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