All About Kalamazoo History

Browse KPL's award-winning collection of local history articles.

Kalamazoo Public Library

Learn more about the history of your library

Business

Discover local businesses such as the Kalamazoo Corset Company

Music

Learn more about Kalamazoo’s rich musical history 

Biographies

Meet the people who helped make Kalamazoo what it is today

Cemeteries

Locate the cemeteries and burial grounds of Kalamazoo County 

Education

Kalamazoo hits the books, from rural schools to colleges and universities

Houses & Buildings

Visit historic districts, commercial buildings, and stately homes  

Recreation

Explore Kalamazoo’s many great sports teams and activities


Award of Merit New!

Local History Award

Kalamazoo Public Library has received a prestigious Award of Merit from the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission for the "All About Kalamazoo History" section of its website. KPL received a State History Award for this portion of the site in 2011.


From MLive: "The Kalamazoo Public Library's 'All About Kalamazoo History' website is leader in web-based historical information and includes an online index of the Kalamazoo Gazette, hundreds of local photographs from three local institutions and nearly 600 interconnected web pages covering more than 20 categories.


Pages about people and places from Kalamazoo's past provide easy access online to biographies, cemeteries, rural schools, houses/buildings, businesses and institutions. All information is researched and written by members of the Kalamazoo Public Library staff."


Thank you committee members, and congratulations KPL!

Media

sheet music

Hear how local music sounded in Kalamazoo a century ago.

“Oodles of Pep” One-Step, by Burton E. Fischer, 1917
(Midi sequence by James Pitt-Payne, London, UK, ca. 2004)

Written, published and performed in Kalamazoo during the “Jazz Age.”

 

Kalamazoo History Topics

Oakwood Park boat
  • General Topics: From the 1980 tornado to how Kalamazoo got its name.
  • Arts & Entertainment: Music, theater, arts and more.
  • Biographies: Stories about Kalamazoo pioneers, leaders and heroes.
  • Black History: Prominent African Americans and related history.
  • Business: The products and businesses that made Kalamazoo famous.
  • Cemeteries: The cemeteries and burial grounds of Kalamazoo County.
  • Civil War: Kalamazoo's connection to the Civil War.New!
  • Education: Rural schools, colleges, and related topics.
  • Fires & Firemen: Stories of the fire department and famous fires.
  • Government: Local leaders and governmental buildings.
  • Health: Hospitals and health institutions.
  • Houses & Buildings: Historic districts, commercial buildings and homes.
  • Kalamazoo Public Library: The histories of your library since 1860.
  • Music: The musicians and instiutions that kept Kalamazoo entertained.
  • Neighborhoods: Kalamazoo's richly varied neighborhoods.
  • Parks: The origins and histories of many local parks.
  • Photographers: Those who captured images of the community.
  • Recreation: Kalamazoo's great pastimes and sports teams.
  • Religion: Local religious institutions and churches.
  • Towns: The stories of surrounding communities.
  • Transportation: From plank roads to railroads, how we got around.
  • Women's History: Innovative women in our community.