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Nickname : The Mall City, K-zoo, The zoo
Location in Michigan
Kalamazoo County Michigan Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Kalamazoo Highlighted.svg
Basic data
Foundation : 1829
State : United States
State : Michigan
County : Kalamazoo County
Coordinates : 42 ° 17 ′  N , 85 ° 35 ′  W Coordinates: 42 ° 17 ′  N , 85 ° 35 ′  W
Time zone : Eastern ( UTC − 5 / −4 )
Inhabitants :
Metropolitan Area :
75,984 (as of 2016.)
336,877 (as of 2016)
Population density : 1,188.7 inhabitants per km 2
Area : 65.03 km 2  (approx. 25 mi 2 ) of
which 63.92 km 2  (approx. 25 mi 2 ) is land
Height : 239 m
Postcodes : 49001-49048
Area code : +1 269
FIPS : 26-42160
GNIS ID : 0629439
Website : www.kalamazoocity.org
Mayor : Bobby J. Hopewell

Kalamazoo is the largest city in the southwestern region of the US state of Michigan . The city has about 74,000 inhabitants (as of 2010) and is the administrative seat of Kalamazoo County . Together with the city of Portage , it forms the Kalamazoo-Portage metropolitan region .

Name and location

The city's name is derived from the nearby Kalamazoo River , which flows into Lake Michigan . To this day, however, it is not clear where the river itself got its name from; however, it is believed to be derived from the language of the Potawatomi or Ottawa , who inhabited the region before the European settlers. Most of the city lies on the south-western bank of the river in a loop, a small part (approx. 7.3 km²) on the opposite bank. According to the US Census Bureau, the city has an area of ​​65.03 km².

The peculiarity of this name, especially for Anglo-American ears, has contributed to the fact that it has become an expression for exotic places or places in American folk culture in a figurative sense . The expression "from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo" commonly used in the USA corresponds roughly in German to: "from white-the-cuckoo to I-forgot". Many pieces of music apparently refer to the name of the city, but the lyrics actually mean something "somewhere" , as directly in " I've Been Everywhere " by Geoff Mack .

A guitar model from Gibson Guitar Corporation was also named after the city in which today's company has its origins. In the song "Down on the corner" by Creedence Clearwater Revival , reference is also made to the city.

Nowadays, T-shirts are sold in Kalamazoo with the imprint: "Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo" ("Yes, there really is Kalamazoo").


Today's urban area originally belonged to the homeland of the Hopewell culture . A mound in Bronson Park still testifies to this settlement today . The Hopewell civilization began to disintegrate as early as the 8th century; at the time when the first European settlers arrived in the region, Pottawatomi Indians lived there. Towards the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, traders were frequent in the region, and from around 1820 there was a regular trading post there. During the war of 1812 , the British opened a smithy and a prison camp there.

The Chicago Convention of 1821 established that all of the area south of the Grand River should belong to the United States. However, the area around Kalamazoo was initially reserved for the people of the Pottawatomi chief Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish until it finally fell to the USA in 1827. In 1829, Titus Bronson became the first white settler to build a hut in what is now the city. Bronson initially named the town after himself. However, after he was found guilty of stealing a cherry tree in 1836 , it was renamed Kalamazoo . Nevertheless, today both a park and a hospital are named after the city's founder.

In 1838 Kalamazoo was registered as a village and from 1893 it was run as a town.

On August 27, 1856, Abraham Lincoln spoke during a convention of the newly formed Republican Party in Bronson Park to support the candidacy of John C. Frémont as US President and first Republican candidate; it was Lincoln's only public appearance in Michigan.

In 1959, the Kalamazoo Mall was the first pedestrian precinct in the US to close a section of Burdick Street to cars. The shopping area was designed by Victor Gruen .

A category F3 tornado hit Kalamazoo on May 13, 1980.

In February 2016, a gunman killed six people.

Economy and Infrastructure


Kalamazoo is located off Interstate 94 , US Highway 131, and Michigan Highways M-43 and M-96 .

Kalamazoo has a long-distance train station. The Amtrak rail company connects Kalamazoo non-stop with Ann Arbor, Chicago, Detroit and Holland, among others.

The city ​​is connected to the national intercity bus system by Greyhound . There are direct connections to northern Michigan (Grand Rapids, Petoskey, Traverse City, St. Ignace), among others.

At the southern end of town is Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport. American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines fly from here to destinations in the Midwest, currently Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis.

There is a city ​​bus network in the city provided by Kalamazoo Metro Transit . 19 routes connect all parts of Kalamazoo and Portage with downtown Kalamazoo.


Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College are located in Kalamazoo . The latter is one of the oldest schools in Michigan and is considered a pioneer in the field of co-education . In 2005, it ranked first in recruitment for the Peace Corps .

There is also the Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Davenport University . The Nazareth College also existed until 1992 .


Kalamazoo is the seat of the Kalamazoo diocese .


Kalamazoo was long known as the "paper town" because paper making was Kalamazoo's leading industry from the 1860s to the mid-20th century. Kalamazoo had access to Michigan's forests, river water, several papermakers that made the Kalamazoo Valley one of the world's most famous papermaking centers, and a constant influx of immigrants as a labor force. Giant companies emerged like the Kalamazoo Paper Company (1867), Bryant Paper Company (1895) and King Paper Company (1901). Numerous paper mills sprang up in the surrounding places, and new places like Parchment sprang up around a paper mill. In 1954 the paper industry accounted for a third of the sales of all Kalamazoo companies. The paper industry in Kalamazoo has been declining continuously since the 1970s. Almost all paper manufacturers had to close, the factories were demolished. The only holdover is the world's only chair of paper engineering at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo had a number of automobile manufacturers in the early 20th century, including Barley, Blood Brothers Auto, Burtt, Handley, Michigan Automobile Company, and Checker Motors Corporation. Checker was the manufacturer of the famous yellow Checker cab taxis (with the black and white checkered stripes), but also produced metal parts for automakers, especially General Motors. The company went bankrupt in 2009.

Today the biggest employers are: Pfizer, Bronson Hospital, National City Bank, Western Michigan University, Borgess Health Alliance, Meijer, the public schools of Kalamazoo and neighboring Portage, Stryker Corporation and Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

The company Stryker Corporation has its headquarters in the city.

The pharmaceutical company The Upjohn Company , which previously existed there , was initially merged with the Swedish Pharmacia in 1985 and was finally taken over by Pfizer in 2002. In 1932 the company went out of the still existing WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research forth (WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research).

One of the world's largest manufacturers of guitars, the Gibson Guitar Corporation , was founded in Kalamazoo . When the company relocated to Nashville , Tennessee , in 1985 , some former employees at the old Gibson factory continued production by hand under the name Heritage Guitar . The products are very popular among guitarists.


There are around a dozen breweries. By far the largest brewery is Bell's Brewery, which was founded in 1983 as "Kalamazoo Brewing Company" by Larry Bell. Bell's Brewery is the seventh largest craft brewery in the USA and number 15 overall. Their best known brands are Oberon and 2 Hearted. In addition to its original location in the city center, which also includes the Eccentric Café, the brewery operates a large production facility in nearby Comstock.

Other local microbreweries include Boatyard Brewing, Bravo! Restaurant, Gonzo's BigDogg Brewery, Olde Peninsula Brewpub, One Well Brewing, Rupert's Brewhouse, and Tibb's Brewing Company. In 2014, the Arcadia Brewing Company from Battle Creek opened a new brewery and restaurant.

In recent years two events have developed around the growing craft beer industry, the annual "Kalamazoo Beer Week" in January and the "Kalamazoo On Tap Craft Beer Festival" in May.

In 2015 the Craft Beer Trail was launched, with a passport to collect stamps. In 2016 a shuttle bus between some breweries and a distillery (Kalamazoo Brew Bus) and a beer bike service started.

Town twinning

Kalamazoo maintains city ​​partnerships with the following cities:

sons and daughters of the town

Individual evidence

  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 2012
  2. The History of Kalamazoo MI , accessed July 25, 2017
  3. ^ Dawn of the Dead Mall: Change Observer: Design Observer . Changeobserver.designobserver.com. November 12, 2008. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved on December 10, 2011.
  4. ^ Kalamazoo 1980 tornado . In: Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Genealogy and Local History . Archived from the original on February 19, 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  5. At least 6 dead in a shooting in Michigan , German Daily News, February 21, 2016, accessed July 25, 2017
  6. Amtrak's train service in Michigan
  7. Airport website: Arrivals and Departures
  8. City bus route network
  9. ^ The Paper Industry , Kalamazoo Public Library, accessed January 2, 2018
  10. economic data from Kalamazoo , City-Data.com, accessed on July 25, 2017
  11. The Story of Bell's Brewery , company website
  12. Kalamazoo Beer Week
  13. Kalamazoo On Tap Craft Beer Festival
  14. Kalamazoo Craft Beer Trail , Discover Kalamazoo website
  15. ^ Kalamazoo Brew Bus , Discover Kalamazoo website

Web links

Commons : Kalamazoo  - collection of images, videos and audio files