We all know William Shakespeare, the infamous author of such amazing works of art and was widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He produced legendary tales such as "Hamlet", "The Taming Of The Shrew", "Romeo & Juliet" and "A Mid-Summer Night's Dream.

But what most people don't know, is there was another William Shakespeare who was born right here in Kalamazoo. According to his biography on Wikipedia:

William Shakespeare, Jr. was born September 21, 1869, to William Shakespeare, Sr. and Lydia A. Markley in Kalamazoo, MI in 1869. He was an inventor by trade. He invented the level-winding fishing reel. Shakespeare also founded and was one of the key people of "Shakespeare Fishing Tackle" which he founded in 1897, as a fisherman aiming to improve the fishing-reel mechanism.

He was also a traveling salesman of patent medicines. In addition to numerous fishing-tackle innovations, Shakespeare also received patents for camera equipment and a carburetor. Shakespeare passed away June 25, 1950.

According to the Kalamazoo Public Library, the headquarters still somewhat remain:

The headquarters of The Shakespeare Company moved to Columbia, South Carolina, in 1970, although the Flexible Controls Division remained in Kalamazoo. In 1979, The Shakespeare Company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of California-based Anthony Industries, Inc. Speareflex bought the assets of Shakespeare’s cable operations from Anthony in 1981 and took over the Kalamazoo location, but abandoned it in 1989. Several older buildings on the north end of the property have been demolished, but the two buildings that face Kalamazoo Avenue have been redeveloped for other uses. The name of the company has been preserved in the Shakespeare Pub, which occupies the smaller art-deco building.

I'm glad the city is still trying to preserve his legacy.


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