Notice of Public Meeting: Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees | February 26th| 5 pm | Central Library/Board Room. The packet of information for the meeting can be found on the library’s website

Updates on the Alma Powell Branch Library can be found on kpl.gov/pow

Business

A.M. Todd Company

On a breezy day, the sweet smell of Albert M. Todd’s legacy still wafts through downtown Kalamazoo. Building on a boyhood interest, Todd established the mint industry in this area in 1869 and was so successful at it that he became known as...

America's Pansy Capital

A headline from the Kalamazoo Gazette in 1954 amplified what many Kalamazooans had known for the previous two decades: “Kalamazoo Fields Produce 6,000,000 Pansy Plants, 4th of Nation’s Supply.” While…

Beecher, Kymer & Patterson

One might adopt the notion that once affixed with the moniker Paper City, that Kalamazoo might have had a disproportionate number of booksellers situated along its bustling downtown streets. But,…

Bennett, Chauncey Z.

Chauncey Z. Bennett Today, the United Kennel Club, the second oldest and largest register of pure bred dogs, operates out of its 100 East Kilgore Road building, but its humble…

Bos, Arend & Sons

When Arend Bos retired in 1928 after 45 years in the trade, he was said to be Kalamazoo’s longest serving blacksmith. Unbowed by the changing times, two of Arend’s four sons followed in their father’s footsteps and carried on the family business.

Breweries of Early Kalamazoo

Today’s Kalamazoo brewmasters follow a long line of local brewers and malt makers that reaches back to the early nineteenth century. In fact, the art of crafting fine beers and ales can be traced to Kalamazoo’s earliest days as a frontier village.

Burdick Hotel

The origins of hospitality on the present site of the Radisson Plaza Hotel date to August 1850 when construction of an imposing four-story brick structure began. Built by Frank Dennison and initially known simply as Dennison’s brick block, the new...

Bush & Paterson

Arguably one of the most impactful businesses in Kalamazoo from the 1860s until the 1890s was the contractor duo of Frederick Bush and Thomas Paterson. Their sway upon the city’s…

Checker Motors

27 July 1999 was a bittersweet day in the history of New York City. It was the last day of operation for the only remaining legal Checker cab in that city. The cab’s driver, Earl Johnson, found himself at the center of a media circus as he took...

Cigars in Kalamazoo

Cigars and Labor Unions Cigar manufacturing in Kalamazoo wasn’t as significant as major industries like celery production or paper-making, but its colorful contribution did make an impact on the local…

Columbia Hotel

In 1870 the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad began service through Kalamazoo with a passenger station on the southeast corner of Pitcher Street and East Main, today’s East Michigan Avenue. The presence of this station, and the countless...

Distilleries of Early Kalamazoo

One of the first products made in the village, and the first to bring national attention to Kalamazoo, was of all things, whiskey. From “Enniskillen” to “Luke’s Best,” these are the stories behind Kalamazoo's pioneer distilleries.

Duplex Phonograph Company

As nineteenth century Victorian charm gave way to twentieth century modern, the phonograph emerged as a compelling new form of home entertainment. The skeptics, of course, refused to take the “talking machine” seriously at first, viewing it more...

Flinch Card Company

“The Acme of Parlor Games,” “More Simple Than Authors,” “More Scientific Than Whist.” Sound like fun? For the millions of Americans who have purchased it since 1902, Flinch has provided limitless hours of strategy and entertainment. The history of...

Germans in Kalamazoo

Germans and Enterprise From its inception, Kalamazoo has always been a place comprised of people from diverse cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds, seeking out ways to put down roots and…

Gibson Inc.

Until the 1920s, Gibson had specialized almost exclusively in mandolins. But as America’s musical tastes evolved during the 1920s and 1930s, so did Gibson’s. Banjos, ukuleles, and guitars became increasingly popular. In the early ’20s, the company...

Gilmore Brothers Department Store

It seems like just about every resident of Kalamazoo has a fond memory or good story about the Gilmore Brothers Department Store. Perhaps this isn’t surprising considering that Gilmore’s was a central feature of Kalamazoo’s urban landscape for...

Globe Casket Company

“Among the most important enterprises of Kalamazoo is the Globe Casket Manufacturing Co., and it is probably no exaggeration to say that they are at least as well and widely…

Hanselman Building

“Kalamazoo has put on real city garments during the last two or three years. This is evidenced by the tall office buildings – sky-scrapers that have been erected where low ancient buildings once stood.”
The above statement was published in...

Henderson-Ames Company

One of the country’s leading producers of uniforms and regalia, the Henderson-Ames Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan, served lodges, secret societies, and other social organizations for forty years. Frank Henderson first moved to Kalamazoo from...

Share: Facebook Twitter