NOTICE: The Eastwood Branch will be closed on April 29th & 30th for maintenance needs. 

Notice of Public Meeting: Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees | April 22nd| 5 pm | Central Library/Van Deusen Room. The packet of information for the meeting can be found on the library’s website

See the latest updates about Alma Powell Branch.

General Topics

Abraham Lincoln’s Speech in Bronson Park

Four years before he became the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, then a representative from Illinois, came to Kalamazoo on August 27, 1856 on the invitation of…

Alphadelphia Association

It was sustained for a mere four years, from 1844 to 1848, but history has not forgotten the effort put forward by a small collection of quixotic people situated in…

Blizzard of 1967

Eleven years to the day before “The Great Blizzard of 1978,” a massive winter storm of historic proportion engulfed the upper Midwest and brought much of southern lower Michigan to a standstill. Folks called it “The ’67 Storm.”

Bright Kalamazoo

Over the years, dozens of songs have been written in and/or inspired by the town of Kalamazoo. Among the earliest of these “Kalamazoo” songs was a piece composed in 1854 about the Kalamazoo River entitled “Bright Kalamazoo.”

Children’s Home

Children’s Home, Kalamazoo Gazette Archives, c. 1900 Officially incorporated in 1888, after several years of varying states of operation, the Children’s Home was founded by one of Kalamazoo’s most eminent…

Curb Cuts Come to Kalamazoo

“Quick, what is the gradual slope on sidewalks that allows individuals in wheelchairs or on bicycles and skateboards to smoothly transition from the street to the walkway called? If you…

Early Recollections of Kalamazoo County

“Early Recollections of Kalamazoo County” was originally drafted in the early-to-mid 1930s by Lucien Harding Stoddard, an early resident of Kalamazoo. In 1993, it was discovered and retyped by William…

Famous Visitors

Ralph Waldo Emerson came to Kalamazoo in February of 1860 Over the course of almost two hundred years, a wide variety of ‘famous’ individuals have strolled through Kalamazoo. Most were…

From Wheels to Heels: The Mall City

Eisenhower was President. Elvis was King. It was 19 August 1959, and a new era in Kalamazoo’s history was about to begin. The nation’s first pedestrian shopping mall opened on the two blocks of South Burdick Street between Water and South Streets...

Garden Clubs

Gwen Frostic-designed catalog for Kalamazoo Garden Club, 1981 Whether the focus was playing a vital role in beautifying parts of the city, sharing knowledge of horticultural practices, teaching the basics…

How Kalamazoo Got Its Name

Kalamazoo. The word is smooth, rhythmic, almost musical. So what exactly does it mean? What is the story behind the name? Welcome to one of the most popular yet least understood subjects in this southwest Michigan city.

Kalamazoo and the Ku Klux Klan

If we are to be even marginally truthful with ourselves, inquiries about who we are and where we came from must also include a rendering of the warts and the…

Kalamazoo Celebrates Nations’ 100 Years of Peace

Dr. Herbert Stetson, president of Kalamazoo College, announced on 14 December 1914, that he wanted to organize an event that honored the 100 years of peace that had existed between the U.S. and Great Britain since the end of the War of 1812...

Kalamazoo Day at the Panama-Pacific Exposition

Mayor A. B. Connable received exciting news in December 1914 for the city of Kalamazoo and for its manufacturers. The special events committee of the Panama-Pacific Exposition, opening 15 February 1915 in San Francisco, announced that 1 June would...

Kalamazoo Hustlers and the Gold Rush

In 1897, the announcement of gold in Alaska sparked a group of Kalamazoo entrepreneurs to unite and make plans to seek their fortunes in the Yukon. While the group was…

Kalamazoo River

The village of Kalamazoo was named after the river that flows through it, and the destinies of the two entities have always been intertwined. The origin of the name of the Kalamazoo River is an interesting story all its own. The river runs about...

Kalamazoo Street Names

The following is a partial list of the origins behind the names of city streets, many of which were named after prominent members of business and politics. As with many…

Michigan Historical Markers

The Michigan Historical Marker Program was established by the legislature and governor in 1955. Since then, more than 1,700 Michigan Historical Markers have been placed all across the state—and in…

Names on the Land

Colorful names alone often indicate the history and early settlement of a place. "Jug Corners," "Wakeshma," "Bonnie Castle Lake," "Schoolcraft," "Climax," or for that matter, "Kalamazoo" itself. We're adding new names to the list as we find them.

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