Salvation Army Building
244 N. Rose Street
Sometimes referred to as the Citadel because of its distinct parapet roofline, the more common moniker used by local historians for the building at 244 N. Rose Street, is the Salvation Army Building. Named for the inaugural occupants when the building’s construction was finished in 1926, the structure has borne witness to almost a century’s worth of downtown change. Most of the surrounding buildings constructed before 1926 have been demolished, but the English Tudor Revival-style building continues to stand as a handsome reminder of 1920s revivalist architecture, and an enduring symbol of committed preservation practices.
In addition to its fortress-like appearance, the rectangular brick building features an arched entranceway surrounded by Tudor-style molding. The square and rectangular sash windows are also bordered with decorative molding.
By 1873, there was a building on the same corner where the Salvation Army Building would be built a half century later. The “G.D. 1” likely refers to the lot number of the block and the owner’s initials, a George Dodge who, according to the 1872 city directory, was an “agricultural manufacturer of plow works” and “tractors” who had several nearby properties. This building likely housed a machine shop or foundry. Dodge was born and raised in Genesee County, New York, but later relocated to Kalamazoo in the mid 1850s. Dodge died at the Kalamazoo State Hospital in 1904, and is buried in Mountain Home Cemetery.
In the first two decades of the 20th century, several businesses occupied the east side of N. Rose St. between Eleanor and Water, including Hoebeke M & Co., A & D Sheet Metal Works, the Peninsular Club, Kalamazoo Cycle Co., the Keystone Club, Globe Garage, Rose Tire Co., and Niewooders Exide Battery & Electrical Service.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reported that on 11 November 1924, the Salvation Army raised $20,000 for a new citadel. For seventeen years before building their new headquarters, the charitable organization was situated in a “meager” office space on 121 N. Church Street. The new building was designed by local architect Ernest Batterson. Traverse City-based contractor George Lather and Sons oversaw the construction of the $37,000 project. The cornerstone was laid on 5 December 1925, with a celebratory ceremony organized by Dwight B. Waldo, chairman of the Salvation Army’s advisory board and first president of Western State Normal School (now Western Michigan University). Upon completion, the dedication took place on 6 June 1926. Members from the Salvation Army’s Chicago headquarters were also in attendance.
The Arcadia Commons Project
In 1989, the Salvation Army geared up for a capital campaign to raise $2.38 million for the building of a new 22,000 square foot facility at 1700 S. Burdick Street. The primary reasons for the new building cited included a lack of parking for staff and the need for more space that would allow the organization to expand upon its existing services. In August of that year, the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation granted the organization $350,000, followed by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s gift of $300,000 in February of 1990. Days later, the Upjohn Company contributed to the campaign with $230,000.
“The $50 million project centers on a spruced-up Arcadia Creek flowing through a park-like setting containing office, higher-education and public-service buildings. Its focus is to rejuvenate the northern part of Kalamazoo’s central business district, which obviously needs a boost. New construction will be mixed with renovation of existing buildings to transform the area into a more vibrant commercial, educational and retail community that could encourage more people downtown.
–Kalamazoo Gazette, 25 May 1990
The advancement of the downtown Arcadia Commons project saw both efforts to preserve and update historically significant buildings, as well as the demolition of several expendable structures along N. Rose, whose continuation was deemed unfeasible. Both the Salvation Army’s citadel and the Lawrence and Chapin Iron Works Building (201 N. Rose) were targeted for preservation, which included both a subtle facelift of the exterior and a complete gutting of the structure’s interior. One of the more challenging facets of the renovation project was the razing of the building next door, of which, the citadel shared a wall. A law and financial planning firm, Scott, Doerschler, Messner and Gauntlett had purchased the building, with the proceeds from the sale going toward the Salvation Army’s completion of their new headquarters on S. Burdick.
“Work began on the structure in June 1992. Kingscott Associates, Inc. of Kalamazoo oversaw the general design work with Superior Building Company as the contractor. In addition, Kingscott hired architect Michael J. Dunn to work on the exterior.”
–Kalamazoo: Lost & Found, p.247
The modernized building reopened in February 1993, the first of several commercial (First of America Bank) and educational organizations (KVCC and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum) to move into the area as part of the Arcadia Commons project. In 2023, the building’s occupants are the Rose Street Advisors firm.
Written by Ryan Gage, Kalamazoo Public Library staff, September 2023