7 Fun Facts About Kalamazoo You Might Not Know
The more I learn about Kalamazoo, the more I realize what an incredibly rich history it has. I'll run the new things I learn by Dana and I'm always surprised when the fact I'm sharing is also new to him.
Maybe you've never heard of these facts either. Here's a list of 7 fun facts about Kalamazoo that you might not now. Thanks to Discover Kalamazoo for the plethora of information they have on this area.
I learned very quickly that this has nothing to do with theater, as I assumed. William Shakespeare Jr. may share the name with the playwright but that's where the similarities end. The man I'm writing about was an inventor and founder of Shakespeare Fishing Tackle. The company was founded in 1897 and had a goal of improving the fishing reel mechanism. Which was successful.
The very first higher educational programs dedicated to sustainable craft brewing started right here in Kalamazoo. Those programs were launched at The Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University in 2015. More information can be found wmich.edu.
Speaking of brewing, Bell's Brewery, a local favorite, is Michigan's largest microbrewery. Not only that, Bell's also holds the title of the first and oldest craft-brewer east of Boulder, Colorado.
The Kalamazoo Mall was the first outdoor pedestrian shopping mall in the United States. At first, it was completely closed off to traffic. Of course, now, there are a few lanes where traffic is allowed.
Kalamazoo was a stop on the underground railroad. There's a home in Schoolcraft that was built in 1835 by the county's first doctor, Nathan Thomas and it was a safehouse that hid former slaves. It was in operation for 20 years and helped anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 slaves who were escaping by giving them food, water, and shelter. The home still stands today and is open for tours by appointment only. Contact the Schoolcraft Historical Society for more information.
The Ladies Library association's purpose was to promote the cause of equal education for women. It was formed in 1844 and officially incorporated in 1852. That makes it the oldest women's club in Michigan and the third oldest in the United States. Read more about the library here.
7. Celery City
Kalamazoo County was once the celery capitol of the world. Their tag line when selling the product was "fresh as dew from Kalamazoo" and it was shipped across the United States.
Side note: Kalamazoo has earned a few nicknames over the years. You can read about the names and their origins below.
There you have it! Those were 7 fun facts about Kalamazoo. Did you know them all?