Local History and Genealogy

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Save the Stack

Some things just get better with age; a vintage wine, a hand crafted musical instrument, or perhaps a lifelong relationship with a significant other. On the other hand, some things need a little help if they are expected to survive.

During the 1970s, the water tower at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital nearly met its demise before a public effort succeeded in raising the necessary funds to save it. Countless other structures around the city—the GR&I Depot, the Michigan Central Railroad Station, Henderson Castle, and more recently, the historic Michigan Avenue business district—can all lay claim to similar stories. Others—the original Kalamazoo Public Library building comes immediately to mind—weren’t so fortunate.

There’s a new movement afoot to save the aging smokestack next to the old Gibson guitar factory (now home to Heritage Guitar Inc., and others) at 225 Parsons Street in Kalamazoo. The factory was built in 1917 and its smokestack, emblazoned with the vertical letters G-I-B-S-O-N, has since stood as a proud monument to the iconic company that once occupied the property. Sadly, time has begun to take its toll on this historic landmark. The aging structure is in desperate need of repair or it will eventually have to face the inevitable.

Local supporters have started a “Save the Stack” campaign to raise awareness and hopefully save the Gibson smokestack. Visit the group’s new Facebook page, share photos and stories, “Like” what they are doing, and join the effort!



The Historic Gibson Smokestack