West Main Street Elementary School

West Main School, early elementary

West Main School, early elementary building, Kalamazoo, 1940, probably photographed by Mamie L. Austin. This building was later known as the Annex. The 1926 building is partially visible at the right.

Building Chronology


The Kalamazoo Board of Education signed a lease for a building on the south side of West Main Street between Arlington and Prairie for the West Main Street School. The lease ran from 1 September 1917 until 1 July 1918. [Board of Education Minutes, 1917-1918]


Voters approved funding to construct a new building on the West Main Street School site. The cost of the building was not to exceed $85,000. It was noted that the building then in use would only last one more year. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 3 July 1920]


Architects Milton C. J. Billingham and Leslie Cobb presented plans for the West Main Street School to the Board of Education at their 31 August 1925 meeting. Final plans were submitted on 5 October 1925. [Board of Education Minutes, 1925-1926]


Builder Henry VanderHorst received the contract for general construction for West Main Street School on 20 November 1925. Work was completed on this building in 1926. [Board of Education Minutes, 1925-1926]

Sanborn Fire Insurance map

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1958, updated to 1966


Board accepted plans at their 5 May 1955 meeting for an addition to the 1926 building. The architect was M. C. J. Billingham; the builder was the Ray Stevens Company. Work was completed on 12 June 1956. [Board of Education Minutes, 1955-56]


The architectural firm of Stone, Smith & Parent was hired to do an addition to the West Main Street School. A decision was made to build an addition rather than to renovate the annex. Seth Giem & Associates was awarded the contract for the construction of the addition. [Board of Education Minutes, 1960-61 and 1961-62)


The frame annex building used since 1918 was to be torn down. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 5 January 1962]


West Main Street School closed. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 27 September 2002]


Former West Main Street School undergoing extensive renovation. Tower, Pinkster, Titus Associates were the architects, and Miller-Davis Company was the general contractor. The building was gutted and the two additions built in 1956 and 1962 were torn down. The building was to be used as a professional development center for the Kalamazoo Public Schools. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 20 October 2002]

West Main Street School

West Main School, later elementary building, 1940, Kalamazoo, probably photographed by Mamie L. Austin. The original frame building is partially visible to the left of the newer brick building.