DescriptionCharles Eugene Belknap is an important historic figure for both the city of Grand Rapids and the state of Michigan. He was born in 1846 in Massena, New York, and he and his family moved to Grand Rapids in 1855. At the age of sixteen, he began fighting in the Civil War in the 21st Michigan Infantry, and by 1864, he had risen to the rank of Captain. After the war, he returned to Grand Rapids and started the Belknap Wagon and Sleigh Company, which manufactured farm and freight wagons, lumber carts, and logging trucks. In 1872 he became Assistant Fire Chief of the No. 3 Fire Company, and in 1878 he became a member of the Board of Education. He was elected Mayor of Grand Rapids by popular vote in 1884, for a one-year term. In 1888, he was elected as the Representative in Congress for the Fifth District of Michigan.