Grand Rapids, Michigan is the home town of Hero Boy and Billy the Lonely Boy.
The Polar Express
The Polar Express makes two stops in Grand Rapids, which are at Hero Boy's house and 11344 Edbrooke Avenue, Billy's house, respectively, the latter of which is also the last stop before the North Pole. The train passes by Herpolsheimer's sometime between the two stops. It makes the same two stops again for the return journey, but in reverse order.
The train stops at Hero Boy's house in the book, but it is never stated that the house is in Grand Rapids.
Chris Van Allsburg, the author of the book, grew up in the real-life town of Grand Rapids, Michigan, which he based Hero Boy's home in the book on. The city in the film is inspired by both its real-life counterpart and Chicago, Illinois, the hometown of director Robert Zemeckis. Production designer Rick Carter did research visiting both neighborhoods, even going inside Van Allsburg's childhood home, which Hero Boy's house is based on.
There were also two real-life Herpolsheimer's department stores in Grand Rapids, though they went out of business in 1987. The city never had a street called Edbrooke Avenue; Billy's address came from that of Robert Zemeckis' childhood home.
|Grand Rapids, MI||Grand Rapids, Michigan • Hero Boy's house • Herpolsheimer's • 11344 Edbrooke Avenue|
|The Journey||Forest • Flat Top Tunnel • Glacier Gulch • Ice Lake • Corkscrew Mountain • North Pole Bridge|
|North Pole||North Pole • North Pole Square • Surveillance room • Wrapping hall • Sorting room|