Monday, August 14, 2006
WELCOME TO KALAMAZOO MICHIGAN
The name of this county is derived from a Native American expression, "Kikalamazoo," meaning "the rapids at the river crossing," or "boiling water." In 1826 Bazal Harrison, (nephew to Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence), formed an agricultural settlement. When the town of Kalamazoo was platted in 1831, it was called "Bronson" after its leader Titus Bronson. By the time Michigan was admitted to the Union on January 26, 1837, Bronson had been renamed Kalamazoo. The Upjohn Pill and Granule Company was organized around the turn of the century by William Erastus Upjohn, now called The Upjohn Company, which is headquartered in Kalamazoo and Portage.
Kalamazoo has many areas designated as historic districts. Frank Lloyd Wright also found Kalamazoo quite right for his "Usonian" style of homes, built here during the late 1940s.
1. Appeared in Atlases in 1835
2. Potowatomie Indian word meaning "boiling water"
3. First called Bronson, changed to Kalamazoo in 1836
4. Leading commercial source of bedding plants in the 1970's
Kalamazoo, the home of WMU's main campus, is the fifth largest city in Michigan,
with a county population of more than 220,000 residents. The city is located midway
between Chicago and Detroit, 140 miles from each, 2.5 hours driving time on I-94.
Kalamazoo offers commercial transportation by train, bus, and major airline.
Local festivals attract crowds in the hundreds of thousands. They are planned
throughout the year and include:
Ethnic festivals: Hispanic, Greek, and Black Arts
New Year's Fest
Wine and Harvest Festival
Dark Horse Music Festival
Venues such as WMU's Miller Auditorium, the historic State Theater, and Wings
Stadium offer a complete array of concerts featuring every kind of music and
popular entertainment. Because of its location (midway between Chicago and
Detroit), Kalamazoo is a frequent stop for many of today's top comedians, musicians
and other entertainers. The city is home to the Kalamazoo Ballet, the Kalamazoo
Symphony Orchestra, and the prestigious Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard
Theater is alive and thriving in Kalamazoo. In addition to performances at WMU
and at Kalamazoo College, there are several commercial and community theatre
companies, perhaps most notably the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre--one of the oldest,
largest, and most-respected community theatres in the United States.
A few of the many other cultural opportunities--and there are many--include the
recently-completed Kalamazoo Valley Museum, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts,
and art cinema sponsored by the Kalamazoo Film Society (with films shown in
WMU's recently completed Campus Cinema).
In addition to NCAA Division I sports offered at WMU, the Kalamazoo community
has the Michigan K-Wings (IHL hockey), Kalamazoo Kingdom (pro soccer), and
Kalamazoo Kodiaks (pro baseball). There are also AAA minor league baseball
teams in Battle Creek and Grand Rapids.
Kalamazoo is just 40 minutes from Lake Michigan beaches and only three to four
hours from Michigan's ski country, considered the best skiing in the central U.S.
Excellent local skiing is only 30 minutes away.
The area offers a wide variety of opportunities for entertainment, culture, recreation,and employment.
Area 576 square miles
County seat: Kalamazoo
Colleges and Universities
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Bronson Methodist Center
Borgess Medical Center
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