|— City —|
|Nickname(s): The Mall City, K-zoo, The Zoo|
|Kalamazoo County, Michigan|
|• Mayor||Bobby J. Hopewell|
|• City Manager||Kenneth P. Collard|
|• City||25.11 sq mi (65.03 km2)|
|• Land||24.68 sq mi (63.92 km2)|
|• Water||0.43 sq mi (1.11 km2)|
|Elevation||784 ft (239 m)|
|• Estimate (2011)||74,743|
|• Density||3,009.0/sq mi (1,161.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0629439|
Kalamazoo (pron.: //) is a city in the southwest region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Kalamazoo County. Kalamazoo is located geographically in Western and Southern Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 74,262. It is the major city of the Kalamazoo-Portage metropolitan area, which has a population of 326,589 as of 2010.
Originally known as Bronson, after founder Titus Bronson, in the township of Arcadia, the names were both changed to "Kalamazoo" in 1836 and 1837, respectively. The Kalamazoo name comes from a Potawatomi word, first found in a British report in 1772. However, the Kalamazoo River, which passes through the modern city of Kalamazoo, was located on the route between Détroit and Fort Saint-Joseph (nowadays Niles, Michigan). French-Canadian traders, missionaries, and military personnel were quite familiar with this area during the French era and thereafter. The name for the Kalamazoo River was then known by Canadians and French as La rivière Kikanamaso. The name "Kikanamaso" was also recorded by Father Pierre Potier, a Jesuit missionary for the Huron-Wendats at the Assumption mission (south shore of Détroit), while en route to Fort Saint-Joseph during the fall of 1760. Legend has it that "Ki-ka-ma-sung," meaning "boiling water," referring to a footrace held each fall by local Native Americans, who had to run to the river and back before the pot boiled. Still another theory is that it means "the mirage or reflecting river." Another legend is that the image of "boiling water" referred to fog on the river as seen from the hills above the current downtown. The name was also given to the river that flows almost all the way across the state.
The name, which sounds unusual to English-speaking ears, has become a metonym for exotic places, as in the phrase "from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo". Today, t-shirts are sold in Kalamazoo with the phrase "Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo".
The area on which the modern city stands was once home to Native Americans of the Hopewell culture, who migrated into the area sometime before the first millennium. Evidence of their early residency remains in the form of a small mound in downtown's Bronson Park. The Hopewell civilization began to decline after the 8th century and was replaced by other groups. The Potawatomi culture lived in the area when the first European explorers arrived.
René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, passed just southeast of the present city in late March 1680. The first Europeans to reside in the area were itinerant fur traders in the late 18th and early 19th century. There are records of several traders wintering in the area, and by the 1820s at least one trading post had been established.
The 1821 Treaty of Chicago ceded the territory south of the Grand River to the United States federal government. However, the area around present-day Kalamazoo was reserved as the village of Potawatomi Chief Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish. Six years later, as a result of the 1827 Treaty of St. Joseph, the tract that became the city was also ceded.
In 1829, Titus Bronson, originally from Connecticut, became the first white settler to build a cabin within the present city limits. He platted the town in 1831 and named it the village of Bronson—not to be confused with the much smaller Bronson, Michigan, about fifty miles (80 km) to the south-southeast.
Bronson, frequently described as "eccentric" and argumentative, was later run out of town. The village was renamed Kalamazoo in 1836, due in part to Bronson's being fined for stealing a cherry tree. Today, a hospital and a downtown park, among other things, are named for Bronson. Kalamazoo was legally incorporated as a village in 1838 and as a city in 1883.
The fertile farmlands attracted prosperous Yankee farmers who settled the surrounding area, and sent their sons to the city to become businessmen, professionals and entrpreneurs who started numerous factories.
On August 27, 1856, Illinois politician Abraham Lincoln spoke at a rally in Bronson Park, promoting the presidential candidacy of John C. Fremont, who was running on the ticket of the new Republican Party. It was Lincoln's only public speech during his only visit to Michigan.
In 1959, the city created the Kalamazoo Mall, the first outdoor pedestrian shopping mall in the United States, by closing part of Burdick Street to auto traffic. The Mall was designed by Victor Gruen, who also designed the country's first enclosed shopping mall, which had opened three years earlier. Two of the mall's four blocks were reopened to auto traffic in 1999 after much debate.
Most of the city is on the southwest bank of a major bend in the Kalamazoo River, with a small portion, about 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2), on the opposite bank. Several small tributaries of the river, including Arcadia Creek and Portage Creek, wind through the city. The northeastern portion of the city sits in the broad, flat Kalamazoo Valley, while the western portions climb into low hills to the west and south. Several small lakes are found throughout the area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.11 square miles (65.03 km2), of which, 24.68 square miles (63.92 km2) of it is land and 0.43 square miles (1.11 km2) is water.
At least part of the municipal water supply for Kalamazoo is provided by the watershed contained within the Al Sabo Preserve in Texas Charter Township, Michigan, immediately southwest of Kalamazoo.
Another watershed, Kleinstuck Marsh, is popular with hikers and birdwatchers. Kleinstuck Marsh is south of Maple Street, between Oakland Drive and Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo's major north-south artery.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $31,189, and the median income for a family was $42,438. Males had a median income of $32,160 versus $25,532 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,897. About 13.6% of families and 24.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.0% of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 74,262 people, 29,141 households, and 13,453 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,009.0 inhabitants per square mile (1,161.8 /km2). There were 32,433 housing units at an average density of 1,314.1 per square mile (507.4 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.1% White, 22.2% African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 2.8% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.4% of the population.
There were 29,141 households out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.1% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 53.8% were non-families. 36.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 3.04.
The median age in the city was 26.2 years. 20.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 27% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.9% were from 25 to 44; 18.2% were from 45 to 64; and 9.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.
Kalamazoo government is administered under a Commission-Manager style of government. The City Commission is the representative body of the city, and consists of seven members, elected on a non-partisan basis every two years. Whoever receives the most votes during an election becomes the council president and ceremonial mayor of the city. The member that receives the second highest number of votes becomes vice mayor. The current mayor, Bobby J. Hopewell, was elected November 13, 2007, beating Hannah McKinney, who automatically became vice mayor.
In the November 3, 2009, and November 8, 2011, elections voters returned Hopewell as mayor and McKinney as vice-mayor.
The city of Kalamazoo is commonly divided into 22 neighborhoods, many of which are served by a neighborhood association. The Neighborhood Development Division of the city's government works with these associations to invest federal, state, and local funds, including those from the Community Development Block Grant program, in community improvements and economic growth.
Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University. The college has four campuses in Kalamazoo, (West Campus, East Campus, Parkview Campus and Oakland Drive Campus) as well as several satellite campuses throughout Michigan. West Campus, located just west of downtown, has the largest concentration of university students, programs and school services. In 2005, Western Michigan ranked #2 Wireless Campus in the U.S. in a national survey done by the Intel Corporation.
Each May, WMU hosts the International Congress on Medieval Studies. Organized by the Medieval Institute's faculty and graduate students, the Congress brings some 3,000 professors and students from around the globe to present and discuss a variety of topics related to the Middle Ages.
Kalamazoo College, a private liberal arts college founded in 1833 is located on a hill opposite WMU's original campus.
Kalamazoo is home to Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Davenport University, and Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center (KAMSC). It had also been the home of Nazareth College, which closed in 1992.
The public schools are managed by Kalamazoo Public Schools. Every resident graduate of the Kalamazoo Public Schools is provided with a scholarship for up to 100% of tuition and mandatory fee costs for four years at any public university or community college in Michigan, starting with the class of 2006. This program is known as the Kalamazoo Promise. Books and room and board are not included.
Perhaps the best-known is Bell's Brewery, established as the Kalamazoo Brewing Company in 1985 by Larry Bell. The brewery has expanded from its original Kalamazoo location, which houses the Eccentric Cafe, to another brewery in nearby Comstock. Bell's beer is sold by retailers in many parts of the country.
The A.M. Todd Company, one of the lead producers of peppermint oil and other flavorings, is headquartered in Kalamazoo. Its founder, Albert M. Todd, was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the 55th Congress.
Kalamazoo is also home to Kalsec, another flavorings company, which was founded by Paul H. Todd, Jr., Albert Todd's grandson and U.S. Representative in the 89th Congress. Founded as the Kalamazoo Spice Extraction Company, Kalsec is owned and managed by Todd family descendants.
In the past, Kalamazoo was known for its production of windmills, mandolins, buggies, automobiles, cigars, stoves, paper, and paper products. Agriculturally, it once was noted for celery and bedding plants. Although much has become suburbanized, the surrounding area still produces farm crops.
Kalamazoo was the original home of Gibson Guitar Corporation, which spawned the still-local Heritage Guitars. The company was incorporated as "Gibson Mandolin - Guitar Co., Ltd" on October 11, 1902, by the craftsman Orville Gibson. One budget model was named the Gibson Kalamazoo "Melody Maker" Electric Guitar. Operations were moved gradually from Kalamazoo to Nashville, Tennessee, (Electric Division) and Bozeman, Montana, (Acoustic Division) in the 1980s. Some workers from the original factory stayed in Kalamazoo to create the Heritage Guitar company.
Kalamazoo was once known as the "Paper City" because of the paper mills in and near the city. The Allied Paper Corporation operated several mills and employed 1,300 people in Kalamazoo during the late 1960s. As the forests of West Michigan were logged out, paper mills closed.
Kalamazoo was also headquarters of the Checker Motors Company, the former manufacturer of the Checker Cab, which also stamped sheet metal parts for other auto manufacturers. Checker closed on June 25, 2009, a victim of the Late-2000s recession.
Stryker Corporation is Kalamazoo-based and makes medical equipment.
Landscape Forms designs and manufacture site furniture.
Kalamazoo has a mid-latitude climate. Summers can be very hot and relatively long, between the months of May–September. Kalamazoo is not known for tornadoes, but they can occur around this time. In winter, temperatures occasionally plummet below 0°F (-18°). Kalamazoo has been known for brutal snow storms, but there have been winters with no ground cover at all. Usually, snow stays on the ground permanently from the end of November and melts away by the beginning of March.
|Climate data for Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport|
|Record high °C (°F)||19
|Average high °C (°F)||0.6
|Average low °C (°F)||−8
|Record low °C (°F)||−29
|Precipitation mm (inches)||51.1
The Upjohn Company was a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm founded in 1886 in Kalamazoo that is now part of the Pfizer Corporation. Most of Upjohn's original facilities remain, many have been renovated and some new buildings have been constructed. The bulk of the facilities exist in Portage, Michigan, but many also exist in Downtown Kalamazoo.
Michigan State University has a branch of its medical school and several post-doctoral residency training programs in Kalamazoo. Resident training programs in Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, General Surgery, Family Medicine, Orthopedic surgery, Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, and a fellowship in sports medicine are centered at The Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies (KCMS) founded by Michigan State University.
The city is also home to the Stryker Corporation, a surgical and medical devices manufacturer.
Kalamazoo has two hospitals: Bronson Methodist Hospital, and Borgess Medical Center.
The W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research organization, has operated in Kalamazoo since its establishment in 1945. The Institute conducts research into the causes and effects of unemployment and measures for the alleviation of unemployment. The Institute also publishes Business Outlook for West Michigan, a quarterly journal that provides economic analysis and forecasts on the West Michigan economy.
Other notable Kalamazoo businesses include:
The city has an Arts Council. On the first Friday of each month, the council organizes the Art Hop, in which patrons circulate among downtown businesses.
The annual "Eccentric Day" at Bell's Eccentric Cafe celebrates the brewery's Eccentric Ale on the December Friday that marks the end of finals at Western Michigan University.
Next to Milham Park is the Milham Park Golf Course. Completed in 1936, the 18-hole, par-72 course is entirely within the city limits of Kalamazoo.
A project of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, The Kalamazoo Animation Festival International (KAFI) encourages and educates animation artists, promotes Kalamazoo's animation industry, and provides community entertainment. In addition to a biannual festival, KAFI sponsors events such as film screenings and workshops throughout the year.
KAFI's first festival drew 235 submissions and nearly 1,000 attendees in 2002. A second festival was held in 2003. Since then, an every-other-year schedule has been adopted. The 2007 festival attracted more than 500 entries from 37 countries. In addition to an animated film competition with $15,000 in prizes awarded, the festival features events for students, artists, educators, filmmakers and the general public. Past KAFI award winners include Bill Plympton, Chris Landreth and John Canemaker.
The city's most prominent art museum is the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, whose collection has more than 3,600 works and a focus on 20th-century American art. The KIA regularly mounts temporary exhibitions.
The Kalamazoo Air Zoo, just south of town, has several dozen aircraft on display, from biplanes to jets.
Kalamazoo's theaters and performing groups include the Kalamazoo Civic Players, New Vic Theatre, Farmer's Alley Theatre, Crawlspace Theatre Productions, and the Barn Theatre in nearby Augusta. Plays and musicals are also performed at Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University.
The Gibson Guitar Corporation, founded in Kalamazoo in 1902, spurred local musicians playing in everything classical to folk, to modern rock. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1921, is directed by Raymond Harvey. The city also hosts the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and a Bach Festival.
Kalamazoo plays host to four non-collegiate teams:
Kalamazoo is the hometown of New York Yankees all-star shortstop Derek Jeter, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings, and free agent running back T.J. Duckett. The world's number one pro bass fisherman Kevin VanDam, Washington Nationals pitcher Scott Olsen and Chicago White Sox first baseman and gold glove winner Mike Squires were born in Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo was also the hometown of longtime Detroit Tigers owner John Fetzer, who owned the American League team from 1961 through 1984, when he sold the franchise to Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan.
The United States Tennis Association Boys 18 and 16 National Tennis Championships are hosted every summer by Kalamazoo College. The event has featured such players as Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, James Blake and Andy Roddick, before they turned professional.
The Kalamazoo Rugby Football Club, founded in 1988, competes in the Michigan Rugby Football Union. www.kalamazoorugby.com
Kalamazoo along with Battle Creek hosted the 2008 PDGA World Championships. The area is home to many World Class disc golf courses.
Kalamazoo is served by one daily newspaper, the Kalamazoo Gazette, which now prints three editions weekly as of early 2012. Business Review Western Michigan, a business-to-business publication headquartered in Kalamazoo, covering Western Michigan news, was rolled into MLive online coverage in late 2012. The ultimate parent company of both the Gazette and Business Review are Advance Publications, Inc.
Located on campus, Western Herald is the monthly newspaper at Western Michigan University, distributed free of charge on-campus and around the greater Kalamazoo area. The Herald is funded primarily by a $5/semester tax on students and answers to the university's dean of students.
The Index is the weekly student newspaper of Kalamazoo College.
WWMT, West Michigan's CBS / CW affiliate, is licensed and operates out of Kalamazoo but serves the entire West Michigan region. The station was originally owned and operated by famous broadcasting pioneer (and former Detroit Tigers owner) John Fetzer, as "WKZO-TV". Along with television, Fetzer introduced Kalamazoo to radio in 1931, when AM 590 WKZO signed on the air. Fezter also created Kalamazoo's first cable television system, then known as Fetzer Cable; it is a predecessor of Kalamazoo's current cable franchise, Charter Communications.
The Public Media Network, located in downtown Kalamazoo, hosts media outlets including Charter cable channels 19, 20, 21, 22, and 95 where daily public access programs are produced and aired to the public.
Kalamazoo is part of the West Michigan television market, which also includes Grand Rapids and Battle Creek. Most channels that serve the entire market are receivable in Kalamazoo, including WWMT, WOOD-TV (NBC), WXMI (Fox), WZPX (Ion) and WLLA (religious). Some channels based in the northern part of the market reach Kalamazoo through a satellite or translator, such as WTLJ Muskegon (religious, through W26BX), WGVU-TV Grand Rapids (PBS, through WGVK), and WXSP-CD Grand Rapids (MyNetworkTV, through WOKZ-CA). WOTV in Battle Creek broadcasts ABC programming for the southern part of the market, including Kalamazoo. Charter offers all West Michigan channels on its system to Kalamazoo subscribers, including WZZM, the ABC affiliate for Grand Rapids and the northern part of the market.
WIDR is the college student-run, commercial free radio station at Western Michigan University. It is known for playing obscure and rarely heard underground music of all styles as well as some local news and talk. Broadcasting 100 watts on 89.1 FM, WIDR can be heard from about a 20-mile radius from campus.
WMUK is also on Western Michigan University's campus. It hosts many local music programs including jazz and classical performances as well as programming from NPR. WMUK broadcasts 50,000 watts in high definition on 102.1 FM.
WKDS is West Michigan's only high school student-run radio station. The station signed on in 1983 at 89.9 on the FM dial, broadcasting from Loy Norrix High School. The call letters stood for Kalamazoo District Schools (now Kalamazoo Public Schools). For most of its history, WKDS broadcasted only during daytime hours and not at all on the weekend. In Fall of 2004, the station began broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in an attempt to prevent an outside organization to take over the time WKDS was off the air. WKDS was part of a county wide Education For Employment program for years. The radio station is still owned by Kalamazoo Public Schools although the EFE program has been discontinued. High School students from around the area continue to operate the station.
FM radio stations which serve Kalamazoo include:
AM radio stations which serve Kalamazoo include:
Radio Stations from Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, and Lansing are also heard in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo is served by highways I-94, US 131, M-43 and M-96. It was on the original Territorial Road in Michigan of the 19th century, which started in Detroit and ran to Lake Michigan. Much of that, but not all, later became Old US 12—the "old" designation came about when I-94 was built parallel to it—and also was called Red Arrow Highway after a World War I army division. The name "US 12" was shifted south to what once was US 112 between Detroit and New Buffalo . Some parts of Old US 12 outside of town, especially in Van Buren and Berrien counties to the west, are still called Red Arrow Highway. The term "Old US 12" has faded from use.
The Kal-Haven Trail, heavily used by cyclists and snowmobilers, extends to downtown Kalamazoo. It runs 34 miles (55 km) between South Haven, Michigan, to a trailhead just west of Kalamazoo. Between that trailhead and South Haven the trail is run by Van Buren County, even the parts within Kalamazoo County. A trail pass is no longer required.
The section east of the trailhead was opened in 2008 and extends to downtown Kalamazoo. It's known as the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and is run by Kalamazoo County. No pass is required on that section.
Kalamazoo's name is a familiar reference in popular music, since its exotic sound makes it a "great word for a lyric". Its use as metonym for a remote place is discussed above — "although when it comes to both Timbuktu and Kalamazoo, most of that brag-worthy exotic allure is merely in their names." Nonetheless, numerous songs use the city's name in their song title or lyrics.
Probably the most famous and first was (I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo" (1942) by the Glenn Miller band with Tex Beneke. This #1 popular song was written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren. The performance was recreated with Gene Morrison Orchestra as the Glenn Miller Band and the Nicholas Brothers (doing a memorable dance) in the 1942 movie Orchestra Wives. This was nominated: Best Music, Original Song in Academy Awards) Harry Warren (music), Mack Gordon (lyrics). See 15th Academy Awards.
At least a dozen songs (and many more versions) of "Kalamazoo" songs have been recorded. In chronological order others include: "I've Been Everywhere" by Hank Snow (1962) (album of the same title) and Johnny Cash (1996) Unchained — reworked from the original 1959 Geoff Mack Australian-place-names version made popular by the singer Lucky Starr; "Down on the Corner" (1969) by Creedence Clearwater Revival on their fourth studio album, Willy and the Poor Boys — covered by a dozen other groups; "Kalamazoo" (1995) by Luna on Penthouse; "Cold Rock a Party" (1997) by MC Lyte on Bad As I Wanna B; "Kalamazoo" a song by the rock trio Primus on the 1997 Brown Album'; "Top of the World" by Rascalz (1999) on Global Warning; "Kalamazoo", a song by Ben Folds on the 2004 EP Super D; "65 Miles from Kalamazoo" (2008) by R.J. Miller (a lament for a lost Gibson guitar and a metaphor about "an old girlfriend from Kalamazoo"); and "Kalamazoo" (2009) by Mike Craver on his album Shining Down. Like Miller, the Creedence and Axton lyrics probably use the word "Kalamazoo" as an oblique reference to Gibson Guitars, which made various models named "Kalamazoo", all prominently adorned with the city's name as their origin. Rapper Young Jeezy also referenced the city in the song "Higher Learning" on his third album "TM103:Hustlerz Ambition".
The city is also the home town of the Olson family from the Disney Channel Original Movie 'StarStruck'.
Kalamazoo is also the location where the soon to be released sitcom "I've got a life in Kalamazoo" takes place.
The city of Kalamazoo, Michigan has four sister cities.
|Benton Harbor||Battle Creek|
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