Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kalamazoo is the southwest region of Michigan's largest city. The city is in Kalamazoo County and is its county seat. As per the 2010 census, the population of the city was 74,262. The city is the home of Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College. The two schools campuses abut one another.

The city was originally known as Bronson after its founder Titus Bronson. The British changed the name in 1836 to Kalamazoo with a name that comes from a Potawatomi word that first surfaced in a report in 1772. The city today is vibrant and because of the two universities, the area has become multi-cultural.

The city is broken down into 22 individual neighborhoods of which most have their own neighborhood association. The Neighborhood Development Division of the local government works with the associations by investing local, state and federal funds to help with economic and community growth.

Kalamazoo has been called one of the best places to live, raise a family and work in Michigan. There are ample opportunities in many different sectors to work in Kalamazoo. Since there are a number of higher educational institutes in the city, the city tends to be more vibrant and full of life than others that are similar in size. The young combined with the old is what helps make the are such a unique one to live in. There is history here that dates back centuries yet the people are living looking towards the future.

Kalamazoo is an attractive city for both local residents as well as tourists. It has something to appeal to everyone's senses. People of any age or any profession will surely find the city exciting and vivacious to their own liking.

Kalamazoo History

Kalamazoo has been known by many names. Once referred to as The Paper City because of the number of cardboard and paper mills. It was called the Celery City as the crop was once growing all over the northern part of the city and The Mall City in 1959 after the first outdoor pedestrian mall was built in the United States in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo once was the manufacturing home for Gibson Guitars, Checker Cabs, Shakespeare Rods and Reels, Kalamazoo stoves and the Roamer automobile. The earliest of all residents in the area were known as the Moundbuilders who were Native Americans that relied on farming. A number of the earthen mounds built by them remain today in the region. The largest is in Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo.

Many feel that other groups of Native Americans from the north migrated to the area and killed the moundbuilders. There have been writings about Sioux and others occupying the area as well as the Pottawatomi, which were from the Algonquin.

Titus Bronson arrived in 1829 and built the first cabin that was within today's city limits of Kalamazoo the following year he built a new cabin on what is now Bronson Park, downtown. The county of Kalamazoo was officially organized in 1830. It received a county seat in the government on 1831. In 1836, the name of the area was officially changed to Kalamazoo.

The main industry in the region has always been farming. Following the Civil War, the paper industry grew in the area. Also in 1885, a physician invented a machine to make pills as well as the first dissolvable pills. The doctor relocated to Kalamazoo and stared Upjohn that would later become Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Cultural and social activities began to grow and change as the population grew. The newspaper in the area, the Kalamazoo Gazette, is one of the oldest in the state. Education has always been a top priority in the region with the first high school built as long ago as 1859. Currently there are four institutes of higher learning in the city.

There is a historic district in Kalamazoo and displays example of Greek Revival, Gothic, Queen Anne, Italianate, Art Deco and others. Frank Lloyd Wright also built many of his Usonian style homes in Kalamazoo in the 1940s.

About Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kalamazoo is a thriving city home to two universities. The larger of the two, Western Michigan University, has four separate campuses in the city. The university hosts the International Congress on Medieval Studies each May. Over 3,000 students and professors from around the world come to discuss and present different topics regarding the Middle Ages. The other university in Kalamazoo is Kalamazoo College, which is a liberal arts college founded in 1833.

Public schools in the city are operated by the Kalamazoo Public Schools. All graduates of the public school are guaranteed up to 100% of fees and tuition for any four-year public community college or university in the state of Michigan. The program started in 2006 as the Kalazmazoo Promise.

Three breweries in the city and brewpubs produce a number of different beers. Bell's Brewery is the most well known of them and was originally established in 1985. Bells beer can be purchased in many supermarkets around the country. A leading producer of peppermint oil, A.M. Todd Company is also in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo has an arts council and the council organizes on the first Friday of each month the Art Hop. Patrons are encouraged to circulate in all of the businesses downtown. Often time's groups perform at the State Theatre downtown, at Wings Stadium and Miller Auditorium at Western Michigan University.

The city boasts an 18-hole golf course that was completed in 1936 and called Milham Park Golf Course. There are also a number of museums. The biggest museum is the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts that has over 3,600 works and focuses on 20th century American artists. Other notable museums are; the Kalamazoo Valley Museum known for its hand-on exhibits, Challenger Learning Center and planetarium; the Gilmore Car Museum; and the Kalamazoo Air Zoo that exhibits various aircraft.

The city also has plenty of theaters and groups of performing arts. They have the New Vic Theatre, Crawlspace Theatre Productions, Farmer's Alley Theatre, Barn Theatre and the Kalamazoo Civic Players.

There are three non-collegiate athletic teams in Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo Kings a minor league baseball team, Kalamazoo Wings a minor league pro hockey club, the Kalamazoo Outrage a soccer club that plays in the United Soccer League.

There are also a large number of sporting events that can be enjoyed at the different colleges and universities that called Kalamazoo home. The Western Michigan University football team is always a very competitive team and finishes each ranked high in their conference.

About Kalamazoo County, Michigan

Kalamazoo lies completely within the limits of Kalamazoo County. The population of Kalamazoo County, according to the latest census in 2010, was just over 240,000 people. The county seat is located in Kalamazoo and the county forms a part of the Metropolitan area of Kalamazoo-Portage. The county is just over 580 square miles in size of which over 561 square miles is land and just over 18 square miles is water.

There are a total of 93,500 households in the county with over 30% of them with children less than 18 living in the household, 48% with married couples, 11% had just a female with no husband and another 38% were individuals or groups that were not family.

The government of the county operates the jail, provides the unincorporated areas law enforcement, maintains all rural roads, as well as operating the court system. The county maintains mortgages and deeds, vital records, public health regulations and works with the state to provide for social services including welfare and others.

The board of commissioners for the county controls the budget but has very limited authority in making ordinances or laws. Functions such as building, fire, zoning, street maintenance and tax assessment are taken care of by the individual cities and towns.

The county's location, half way between Detroit and Chicago has made the area an important cultural, educational, and business area. The area boasts a large and talented work force. Responsible and innovated county leaders also run it.

The county has a number of hotels ranging from international chains to small boutique inns that cater to the visitor's individual needs. There are a number of restaurants that offer fine dining to burgers and fries and everything in between. The region has been declared by some major publications as the best place to raise a family in all of Michigan.

The weather in the county is typical of much of Michigan. Spring is cool and wet, summer is seasonably warm and short, fall is cool with strong winds and winter is long, cold and with lots of snow. The four seasons are very distinct in the area and residents enjoy what each of the four offers.