The really cool thing about doing the 501 Party again in downtown Kalamazoo is the history in some of the buildings that are hosting those 5:01 Friday parties. For instance, the 501 Friday party this Friday is at The Wine Loft. Did you know that used to be a Sears store? While Sears may now be in it's final stages of life, it spent most of the 20th century as the leading retailer in the United States. Through the middle years of the last century, the Kalamazoo location was in the Haymarket Building on Michigan Avenue, which now houses The Wine Loft on it's ground floor. In fact, the Haymarket Building is 100 years old this year.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. in downtown Kalamazoo, circa 1955. (Photo: KPL.gov)

According to a post from Jim Short on the Vanished Kalamazoo Facebook page, the building at 161 E. Michigan Avenue was built in 1908, home to the Edwards & Chamberlin Hardware Company. It was a Sears store for years until 1956, when Sears moved to Crosstown Parkway, to the building that is now the Public Safety Headquarters. Sears eventually moved to Crossroads Mall in 1980.

The building eventually was renamed the Haymarket Building, and now houses The Wine Loft, which will host the 5:01 Party this Friday.

BONUS VIDEO