GRAND RAPIDS(WKZO) -- It was 100 years ago this week that the Titanic sailed for New York. While the Titanic never completed the trip, there is a local connection. U.S. Senator William Alden Smith was born in Dowagiac, and became the driving force to make sure the lessons learned from the sinking of the passenger ship were not lost.
He headed the U.S. Senate Inquiry into the sinking. Smith Personally went down to the docks, and handed J. Bruce Ismay, the Chairman of the White Star Line, an order that he appear at senate hearings that Smith would chair.
Many of the maritime safety rules that resulted from the Senate’s Titanic inquiry are still in place today.
Smith returned to Grand Rapids after his last term and is buried there.