There are many, many fans of Kalamazoo history. Webpages like Vanished Kalamazoo show that, as does the interest in the city's history walks and tours. This Sunday you can take it to the next level, literally. One of the best ways to get up close with that history is at local cemeteries. And this Sunday (August 28th), from 9am to Noon, you'll have an opportunity to do just that.
The Grave Issues Squad and the Historic Preservation Commission need volunteers to help clean headstones in Mountain Home Cemetery. Chances are you've driven by the cemetery on West Main Street), but because of the busy traffic pattern, you may not have really had a chance to look. There's a lot of history buried in that cemetery. As the city notes, some of Kalamazoo's best-known luminaries, "from Gilmores and Upjohns to Curtenius and Allen."
Mountain Home was founded in 1849 and has been managed by the City of Kalamazoo since 1940. In the age of the internet, the city maintains an interactive database. But it's some of the names we take for granted who have been laid to rest there that might make some of that history more real.
Both Gilmore Brothers are at Mountain Home. They found the Gilmore Brothers Department Store. After James Gilmore passed away, his widow, Carrie Gilmore married neighbor Dr. W.E. Upjohn, and that's how the two families got together.
Two U.S. senators are buried at Mountain Home. Francis Stockbridge, who build the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island and Charles Stuart. This might be also where you notice that both those names are also names of streets in Kalamazoo.
You'll also notice names like Burdick, Ransom, and Milham; a lot of history in that acreage.
Time and weather take their toll on gravestones. This Sunday you can help tidy things up. To volunteer, here's the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.