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


1924 Michigan Central Railroad Derailment

Early in the morning on September 24, 1924 a westbound Michigan Central passenger train derailed near Kalamazoo after striking a vehicle that had become immobilized on a private crossing at the entrance to the Hawthorne Paper mill. The resulting...

Downtown Parking

One might ask why a mundane issue such as parking warrants examination. Yet parking in cities across the United States was a highly contentious issue following World War II. The rapid rise of the automobile jammed downtown streets with traffic...

Kalamazoo City Lines Co.

A comprehensive history of Kalamazoo’s various modes of transportation would be incomplete without a brief summary of the Kalamazoo City Lines Company, the city’s primary mass transit option from the…

Kalamazoo, Lake Shore & Chicago Railway

Originally planned as an electric interurban, the KLS&C was designed to connect Kalamazoo with the lakeside ports in South Haven. The line became a rather roundabout yet useful steam train that rambled through Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

Kalamazoo's Railroads

It was the advent of the railroad that truly made Kalamazoo a crossroads of Southwest Michigan. Steam railroads connected the city to the large urban centers of Chicago and Detroit while Inter-urban rail lines connected Kalamazoo to the rural goods..

Lindbergh Field

Today, the local airport hub is called The Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (coined in 1989), but as with most institutions that have endured almost a century, the airport has undergone…

Michigan Automobile Company

Blood Brothers and the Rise of the Horseless Carriage While the topic of early Kalamazoo-area automobile manufacturing (1900-1920) could include several notable businesses (Barley Motor Company, Handley-Knight, Dort, Burtt Manufacturing…

Michigan Buggy Company

Few things better illustrate Kalamazoo’s rapid growth during the late nineteenth century than the rise of the city’s carriage industry. By 1887 eighteen firms produced approximately forty seven thousand horse-drawn vehicles sold nationwide. In...

Nazareth Academy Bus Line

With streetcar service lacking along Gull Road, investors formed the Nazareth Academy Bus Line in April 1905 and purchased a new motorized "Wagonette" from the Olds Motor Works of Detroit to serve the Nazareth community.

Plank Roads

As railroads expanded across the state of Michigan in the 1850s, those not adjacent to railroad lines still hoped to gain access to the new technology. The Michigan Central Railroad, connecting Kalamazoo to Chicago and Detroit by 1852, was of...

Streetcar Service in Kalamazoo (Electric Cars)

In 1893, Kalamazoo’s antiquated horsecar system was converted to modern electric power and its service area expanded. Electric streetcars served Kalamazooans until the height of the Great Depression when bus service began.

Streetcar Service in Kalamazoo (Horse Cars)

Kalamazoo was incorporated as a city in April 1884 while construction of a new horse-drawn streetcar system was getting underway. Horses ruled the streets for nearly a decade until the system was converted to electric power in 1893.

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