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Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Kalamazoo County, Michigan

49001, 49002, 49007, 49008, 49009

The Celery City

Page Contents for Kalamazoo, Michigan

Statistics & Facts


History & History-related items

City Attractions


Historical Events

Chamber of Commerce.

Community news




Statistics & Facts

The Michigan state capital is Lansing.
The population of Kalamazoo is approximately 75,858 (2002), 74262 (2010).
The approximate number of families is 31,488 (1990), 29141 (2010).
The amount of land area in Kalamazoo is 63.642 sq. kilometers.
The amount of land area in Kalamazoo is 24.7 sq. miles.
The amount of surface water is 1.315 sq kilometers.
The distance from Kalamazoo to Washington DC is 524 miles.
The distance to the Michigan state capital is 62 miles. (as the crow flies)
Kalamazoo is positioned 42.27 degrees north of the equator and 85.58 degrees west of the prime meridian.
Kalamazoo elevation is 780 feet above sea level.
Kalamazoo median income is $ 31,189 (2000).
The Kalamazoo median home price is $ 83,000 (2000).


in southwestern Michigan about 147 miles east of Chicago. Nearby communities include Eastwood, Westwood, Parchment, Portage, Comstock Northwest, Greater Galesburg, Richland and Galesburg.

Here is a map page for Kalamazoo.
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seasonal. Winter temperatures average about 25 degrees. and summer temperatures average about 72 degrees. Humidity remains high most of the year. Precipitation occurs yearround with more falling in summer months than in winter. Snow falls generally from December through March. Here is a weather page for Kalamazoo.
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History & History Related Items

Kalamazoo is an unusual word, how did the city really get its name

The Potawatomi Indians deeded the land that would become Kalamazoo to the government in 1827 and by 1829, settlement of the area had begun. Titus Bronson arrived at thistime and when the town was platted in 1831, he named it after himself. In just two years, the local people grew tired of his argumentative ways and after he was convicted of stealing a cherry tree, they wanted to change the name of their city. The deed was done by26 January 1837 when Michigan became a state. The new name was Kalamazoo. It is largely believed to be a Potawatomi expression, Kikalamazoo but no one is entirely sure of the origin or meaning.

The city name, Kalamazoo, has been used extensively over the years by authors and songwriters. Some ships were even christened with the name. Kalamazoo has also had its share of different nicknames. It was known as the Paper City because of the paper and cardboard mills. When celery became a prevalent crop near town, the city became known as the Celery City, even naming a Celery Queen for a time. It was quipped to be the Mall City when the first outdoor pedestrian mall in the country was built. More recently, it was called the Bedding Plant Capital of the world due to the location of the largest bedding plant cooperative in the U.S. here in Kalamazoo.

The Checker Cab Company was headquartered here in Kalamazoo as well as manufacturing for Gibson guitars, Kalamazoo stoves, Roamer automobile and Shakespeare fishing rods and reels. William Erastus Upjohn moved here and started the Upjohn Pill and Granule Company, now a world leader in the pharmaceutical industry. Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built many buildings and homes here in his Usonian style in the late 1940’s.

Try this nice history page for Kalamazoo.

USS Kalamazoo
Several ships have had the name of Kalamazoo. this page gives some history of the ship name over the years.

The first pedestrian mall in America. See historical events for more information.
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William E. Upjohn – (information from the webpage of the W.E. Upjohn Institute) The W.E. Upjohn Institute had its origin in the depths of the Great Depression of the early 1930s. Dr. W.E. Upjohn, founder and head of the Upjohn Company, (later became Pharmacia, and is now Pfizer) was concerned about the prospects of laying off his own workers and the broader problem of the hardships of the unemployed in the community.

A few weeks before his death in 1932, Dr. Upjohn established the W.E. Upjohn Unemployment Trustee Corporation, which included a sizable parcel of land. Dr. Upjohn conceived of cooperative farming as a means of both maintaining income and preserving personal dignity during periods of widespread unemployment. On the farmland maintained by the Trustee Corporation, he envisioned laid-off workers growing enough food to support their families. It was his hope that this experiment would not only help meet the periodic local problem of joblessness, but also point the way for other communities to cure unemployment.

The present-day Institute was not established until 13 years after Dr. Upjohn set in motion his grand experiment. The farm program did not last long. The federal government soon stepped in to help the jobless by implementing public works programs and establishing an unemployment compensation system. Yet the concern about unemployment and sustainable employment remained a top national priority. The Trustees recognized the changing nature of economic conditions and the need for informed policy making. After consulting with leading social scientists of the day, they established an institute that would focus its resources on research into the causes and consequences of unemployment. On July 1, 1945, the Institute opened its doors and quickly went about creating a program to help returning veterans find jobs.

For sixty years, the Institute has carried out its mission of conducting research and informing policy makers on employment-related issues. We hope that, during the 21st century, researchers and policy makers will continue to look to the Upjohn Institute as a resource and catalyst for those seeking innovative ways to address chronic employment problems.

A.M. Todd - The Peppermint King
He also collected books, art and similar items which he later donated to the local library and colleges in the area. Some of the items are clay tablets dating back to the twenty-third century B.C.

Alfonso Iannelli
1888 - 1965
Read about his accomplishments in the art field

Titus Bronson
Born in Middlebury, Connecticut, in November 1788, Bronson later became known as the founder of Kalamazoo

Joseph B. Westnedge
1872 - 1918
Local war hero who served in the MIchigan National Guard in 1894, the Spanish-American War in 1898, in Mexico in 1916 and in World War I. He died in 1918 in Germany of complications from Tonsilitis just days after the war was over.

This is the officially endorsed site for Kalamazoo, Michigan by both the county and the city.

Things to do in Kalamazoo!

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
The museum has 10 galleries with an emphasis on 20th century American painting and sculpture. It also includes other types of exhibits.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum
230 North Rose Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49003
Toll-free: 800-772-3370

Kalamazoo Air Zoo
Museum of the history of flight
6151 Portage Road
Kalamazoo, MI

Bronson Park
Named for city founder, Titus Bronson, this park features a fountain designed by Alfonse Ianelli. An Indian mound is on the south side and a sculpture in a reflecting pool. It was here that Abraham Lincoln made his speech on his way to Washington to be inaugarated.

Parkwyn Villge
A neighborhood designed by famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, in the 1940’s.

Kalamazoo Nature Center
7000 N. Westnedge Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Phone: (269) 381-1574
Fax: (269) 381-2557
Connecting people and nature

State Theatre
The 1927 Atmospheric Movie Palace is still being used for concerts.

Try this guide for Kalamazoo.
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Kalamazoo City Government

City of Kalamazoo
241 West South Street
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007
Phone: 269-337-8047

Kalamazoo Historical Events

1959, August 19
The Country's first pedestrian mall
Kalamazoo had a plan to stop the downtown decline in the city. This new concept known as the Kalamazoo 1980 plan or the Gruen Plan was presented in 1958. The opening of the mall was exciting and busy. The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra was present as well as thousands of people.

Morris Markin opened the Checker Cab Co. and two years later Markin Body Co. to make the bodies for the cabs. He merged in 1922 with the Commonwealth Co. creating the Checker Cab Manufacturing Co. In 1923, he moved his operations from Joliet, IL to Kalamazoo, MI. Some say he moved here to escape the Taxi Wars in Chicago. His main competitor, Hertz Yellow Cab sold out to Markin in 1929. The Company run by Markin held a monopoly in the Chicago area until the 1990's. In time, Checker Cabs became the standard for Tax service. When anyone talked about cabs, it was usually Checker Cabs that came to mind. For more information on the topic, go to a brief history of the Checker Cabs. Click on General Info, then “On-line magazine” Volume 5 – Issue 1 – Fall 2005. The issue also gives many other topics of information on history in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Chamber

Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce
346 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: 269-381-4000
Fax: 269-343-0430

Kalamazoo Community News

Local newspaper, the Kalamazoo Gazette

Kalamazoo Organizations

Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce
346 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: 269-381-4000
Fax: 269-343-0430

Kalamazoo Libraries

Kalamazoo Public Library
From this page you may search the catalog and learn about events in Kalamazoo.

There are several branches around town: Central (downtown), Eastwood, Oshtemo, Powell, Washington Square and the Traveling Bookmobile

Both the Central library and the Oshtemo Library were featured in the Southwest Michigan American Institute of Architects brochure “Guide to Modern Architecture of Greater Kalamazoo”, published in 2005.

The Kalamazoo Public Library was Library of the Year in 2002. See this page for a history of the library.

Kalamazoo Schools

Kalamazoo Public Schools
1220 Howard Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Phone: 269-337-0100

The district is composed of:
two high schools (9th – 12th grades) and one alternative high school:
Kalamazoo Central H.S.
Loy Norrix H.S. (also featured in the SWMI AIA brochure of Modern Architecture)
Alternative Programs at the JFKennedy Center

One math and science center:
Kalamazoo Math and Science Center

Three middle schools, (7th – 8th grades):
Hillside M.S.
Maple Street Magnet
Milwood Middle

Sixteen elementary school, (K - 6th grades):
Arcadia, Chime, Edison, Greenwood, Indian Prairie, King-Westwood, Lincoln, Milwood, Northeastern, Northglade, Parkwood-Upjohn, Spring Valley, Washington, Winchell, Woods Lake and Woodward


Western Michigan University
1903 West Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Phone: 269-387-1000

K College - Kalamazoo College
1200 Academy Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Phone: 269-337-7000

“KVCC” – Kalamazoo Valley Community College Kalamazoo


The population of Kalamazoo was:
1990 - 80,277
2000 - 77,145
2002 - 75,858

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