People have been drawn to the strange name of this Michigan city, which grows 90 percent of the world's peppermint supply, produced by the A.M. Todd Company based here. The city's name came from its location on the Kalamazoo River, and the word "Kalamazoo" is actually a Potawatomi word.
The number of foreign immigrants has risen rapidly since 1845, especially the Hollanders in the 1850s. The combination of increased immigration, diversified industries, and the development of a strong economy have all played a role in Kalamazoo's growth. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the construction of power lines and paved roads provided better transport options for the residents.
Kalamazoo is known for its large outdoor pedestrian shopping area called the Kalamazoo Mall. The four-block shopping mall, which stretches from Lovell Street South to Eleanor Street North, has been redesigned to reflect the design of the Arcadia Commons development, where the new Kalamazoo Public Museum is anchored at the north end. The two blocks around the shopping center have also been rebuilt for car use, with a new car park and multi-story car park at the south end.
There are also a couple of Indian mounds in the area, the most prominent of which is in Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo. One of the most notable features of the park is a fountain designed by Alfonso Iannelli, with many tall, old trees that were lost when a deadly tornado swept through downtown Kalamazoo in 1980.
Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University, which has four campuses in the city as well as several throughout the state. There's also Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Davenport University, and the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center, among others.
After the Civil War, paper mills began to settle in the Kalazoo's River Valley, and William Erastus and his brother-in-law William E. Upjohn founded their own paper company in 1884 and moved from Michigan to Keweenaw County to look for the future of their business. Many other articles have been published in this area, including the Kalamazoo Telegraph (1844-1916).
Kalamazoo was once home to the world's first steam locomotives, the world's first steel mills, and the site of some of the earliest steam engines in the United States.
The Michigan Central Line first ran between Detroit and Kalamazoo in 1846, and its connection to Chicago was completed in 1852. The first plank roads were built in the late 19th century, the most important of which stretched from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids.
Magnificent old houses line the main streets of the district, giving passers-by a glimpse of the restored grandeur of the past century. The three-story, skylit atrium overlooks Kalamazoo City Hall.
Parkwyn Village was designed as a cooperative neighborhood by the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the late 1940s and includes examples of Wright's Usonian-style homes. Drive through Parkwyn, and you will also find some of the houses he built here during his time in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo also has an active brewery scene, as well as hundreds of bars and restaurants that attract tourists year-round.