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North West Street School

AKA North Westnedge School

KPL Postcard Collection

The original North West Street School was built in 1888, with several additions made to the structure over the years (1907, 1926). At the time of its closing in 1962, it was the oldest building still in use by the school system. The building was demolished in 1965. Located on North West Street (later changed to Westnedge) between Florence Street and Burrell Place (now Lawrence Street), it was closed due to fire safety regulations, and the costs necessary to bring the building up to code. Today the site where the school once stood is home to a series of apartment buildings.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, Kalamazoo, 1896. Library of Congress

A photograph dated some time before the third addition, shows the Victorian school with a hipped gable, sash windows, arched windows with stone detailing, an arched vestibule, a metal staircase, and cupola. Architect Martin Roberts designed the original school and John Campbell was the builder.

North West Street (aka Westnedge) School, c. 1920

The rectangular, brick 1926 addition, designed by architects Billingham and Cobb, obscured much of the older portions of the original school from view when looking at the front of the building from Westnedge. The main entranceway of the facade possessed a stylized, Art Deco pattern that ran vertically to the top of the building.

Probably photographed by Mamie Austin, North Westnedge School, Kalamazoo, c.1940. KPL catalog number P-1000

Article written by Ryan Gage, Kalamazoo Public staff, March 2022

Sources
Books

Kalamazoo Lost & Found, Lynn Smith Houghton and Pamela Hall O’Connor (H 720.9774 H838)

Local History Room Files

Subject File: Kalamazoo Public Schools–Buildings and Grounds

Subject File: Kalamazoo Public Schools–North Westnedge School

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