NOTICE: On Sunday, April 2nd, from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Lovell Street will be closed to traffic due to an upcoming crane project by our neighbors at the AT&T building across the street. Library guests can access the Central Library parking lot on the corner of Rose and Lovell via the Rose St. entrance which will also serve as the exit during this time. 

South Burdick Street School

District 17, Kalamazoo Township

The South Burdick Street School, not to be mistaken for McKinley Elementary (1716 S. Burdick), was located on the northwest corner of S. Burdick and Cork Avenue (3122 S. Burdick). The location was about a half mile outside of the city limits at the time when the township voted to purchase the land northwest of the Monarch paper mill. The District 17 school was built in 1915 and torn down in 1957, after having been abandoned as a functioning building around 1954. It was established as a K-8 grade school with about 70 pupils. Its creation was conceived as a solution to alleviate congestion at the S. Westnedge Elementary School. The faculty consisted of Mrs. Bessie Vanderbilt and Mrs. Helen Houts.

1946 Class Picture of 6th, 7th and 8th graders at South Burdick Street School

An article in the Kalamazoo Gazette from November 1930, reports that the parent-teacher association hosted an entertainment event in order to garner funds for the purchase of playground equipment.

“A substantial amount will be added to the fund for playground equipment which is being raised by the parent-teacher association of South Burdick Street School, district 17, Kalamazoo Township, as a result of the entertainment given Friday evening in the school building under auspices of the association. The building was filled to capacity by the audience which attended the entertainment. A play, “Ma Nosey and Pa Gossip,” presented by the South Westnedge Community Club, and selections by the South Westnedge Community orchestra made up the program, which was followed by refreshments.”

The small, four-classroom school retained a small number of faculty throughout it’s time. In 1937, the principal was Max V. Hill, who in addition to teaching the 6-8 grades, oversaw fellow educators Mrs. Lucille Loughead, Miss Linnie Smith and Miss Nellie Hutchinson. In the spring of 1946, several schools outside of the city’s district were being considered for annexation, including the South Burdick Street School. After a vote in favor of annexation in April of 1947, the school officially became part of the KPS district. In 1951, a 9-room addition to the South Westnedge school was part of a series of project proposals that the school district put on the ballot for voter approval. When it passed, the school district moved to dispose of the Burdick Street School, which by that point had been deemed “beyond improvement” by a citizen’s committee. A meeting in 1955 was held to discuss the appraisal of the property which had become outdated, and largely abandoned by 1954.

Article written by Ryan Gage, Kalamazoo Public Library staff, December 2022


“District Buys Site for School Building”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 14 September, 1914

“New County School System Is Success”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 19 September 1915

“Program Benefits Playground Fund”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 8 November 1930

“South Burdick School Will Open Tuesday”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 2 September 1937

“Requests Were Given Board Approval”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 5 November 1946

“Burdick Annexation Proposal Approved”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 22 April 1947

“Citizens Back Program for School Needs”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 6 December 1950

“School Vote Monday May Set Record”

Kalamazoo Gazette, 4 March 1951

Local History Files

Subject File: Kalamazoo Public Schools – Burdick Street School

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