Grand Rapids Fish Ladder Park

This place is a little strange. Not really a dam’s normal fish ladder. It’s an architect’s vision of a fish ladder. A stark and brutalist vision though.

Joseph E. Kinnebrew (the IV, to distinguish him from his three ancestors of the same name) is the architect who designed this “sculpture and fish ladder” for the Grand River as it flows through the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was dedicated not quite 50 years ago, on June 6, 1975.

Seems to me like Joe struggled some to capture “the aesthetic significance of our environment.” But maybe not. I am no proper art critic. And I definitely totally enjoyed seeing the ladder sculpture and the river that runs through it.

Salmon, steelhead, and brown trout use the ladder regularly in the fall and into the winter. The height of the dam means they can’t get to their spawning spots upriver when the time is right. So they need a boost from the humans who set up the obstructive dam in the first place.

There’s been a push locally to return the river to itself–minus the dam–but that’s a tough sell.

Fall fishing can be really good at the dam and near the ladder. Maybe a fisherman needs to keep a lookout that one of those big logs doesn’t dislodge though.

We didn’t see much being caught. But we did see a few fish get hooked and manage to outsmart the humans.

This guy reeled in a pretty big one while we watched.

The cormorants were watching too.

The mallards though? They were disinterested in the hullabaloo and just dabbled around in the shallows.

The giant soap bubbles at the river’s edge didn’t pop.

You probably would like a closer look at those.

The giant bubbles are “Evanescent” by Atelier Sisu. The installation was part of GR’s Art Prize 2023. This city is a more cool place than uncool me deserves to be hanging out in. Cormorants, big fish, and giant soap bubbles. What an unlikely combination.

Check out these You Tube videos if you want to see fish actually running the fish ladder and drone shots of the dam area.

Stora Dimun

This is Cheryl Oberle’s wonderfully soothing knit, the Stora Dimun Shawl. The pattern is included in her excellent book Folk Shawls: 25 Knitting Patterns and Tales from Around the World, published by Interweave. The publication is out of print. You may be able to find it at your local library or on a used book site like It’s a great knitting book and pattern resource and definitely worth the search.

Stora Dimun is one of my favorite shawl patterns. In fact, this is the 4th time I’ve knit it!

It’s a large shawl meant to be knit in sport or DK weight. I used Cormo Sport by Elemental Effects. It proved an excellent choice for this knit. With a light blocking the shawl is 72 inches from tip-to-tip and 29 inches deep. But the sportweight yarn keeps it light. Lightweight but very warm.

Here’s the shawl spread out on my full-sized sofa. If you’re a petite person (I’m not), you could wrap this around yourself twice. Doesn’t that sound cozy?

Early mornings are already chilly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s where I moved to two months ago. Yep, at the end of June we moved from our beloved Long Lake–it was time. The new adventure is unfolding in Grand Rapids. (I’m keeping the blog name the same, though, since so much of the years since 2009 focused on the lake and its critters.) I’ve already been enjoying my Stora Dimun sitting on our front porch with my morning cup of coffee as I watch the local Sandhill Crane family and a giant oak tree in front of our house.

New spot to live.The knit goes on.

I’ve knit Stora Dimun three times before. My first one was when my lace skills were super rusty. It was warm but the lace was all scrambled. It’s keeping someone else warm now. The next two were gifted at the outset. But this one’s for me!