The Polar Express Wiki

Wikipedia has an article related to:

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 only time the town's name is mentioned is at the surveillance oom when one of the elves says the last present is going there. Hero Boy expresses a little excitement at the mention of the name.

The train stops at Hero Boy's house in the book, but it is never stated that the house is in Grand Rapids.

Real life

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.[1][2] The city in the film is inspired by both its real-life counterpart and Chicago, Illinois, the hometown of director Robert Zemeckis.[1] 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.[1]

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.

The film's premiere took place in Grand Rapids. The Polar Express in Concert also performed at the city's Devos Performance Hall.[3]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cotta Vaz, Mark. Starkey, Steve. (November 4, 2004) The Art of the Polar Express, Chronicle Books. p. 13, 19, 43. ISBN 978-0811846592.
  2. The Polar Express Party Kit (PDF). p. 24
  3. The Polar Express in Concert official website

External links

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