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Transportation

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...

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...

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...

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