History of Kalamazoo

Relics of an older Kalamazoo, Michigan

The city of Kalamazoo is steeped in history, dating back long before the arrival of Europeans to the continent of North America. The area was long home to the Hopewell Indians. When Europeans first arrived, the area also became home to fur trappers. Since that time, the city has become known for many different things. For instance, it gained the moniker The Paper City, for its notable paper production. It has also been called The Celery City, for its agricultural production of celery. However, Kalamazoo history includes much more than this.

The Kalamazoo Living History Show is an annual production that has been ongoing for over 40 years. This two-day show takes place over a single weekend, running near the end of March. What is this amazing show? If you love history, then there is something here for you. You will see more than 10,000 people reenacting scenes from famous periods in history, ranging from the French and Indian War all the way through the Civil War. The entire show is put on by the Yankee Doodle Muzzle Loaders. In addition to reenactments, you will also experience almost 300 of the top crafters in the nation as they gather to sell their wares.

Other spots of historic interest include the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, one of Michigans most active Underground Railroad the Dr. Nathan Thomas House, and the Heritage Guitar Factory.  The Kalamazoo Public Library has historic displays and collections too.

For visitors, one of the top destinations is the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. This venue offers an experience for all the senses, and runs the gamut from an amusement park to a museum, from live performances to hands-on experiences. If you love anything within the aviation world, you can find it here. The Air Zoo offers kids the chance to launch real rockets, or to explore more than 50 of the rarest aircraft in the world. In addition, they feature options like a 4-D theater that promises fun for the entire family, as well as a Zero G ride that helps you find out what aviators face (as well as being a load of fun just to ride). Their full-motion flight simulators are the closest thing in existence to truly flying a powerful jet fighter, while their educational exhibits help you learn more about the incredible world of aviation and aviation history.

As you can see, Kalamazoo history options are vast and varied. In addition to these venues and events, you will find numerous museums in downtown Kalamazoo, as well as historical sites to explore while you are in town.