All About Kalamazoo History

KPL's award-winning collection of local history articles.

Kalamazoo Public Library

Learn more about the history of your library


Discover local businesses such as the Kalamazoo Corset Company


Learn more about Kalamazoo’s rich musical history 


Meet the people who helped make Kalamazoo what it is today


Locate the cemeteries and burial grounds of Kalamazoo County 


Kalamazoo hits the books, from rural schools to colleges and universities

Houses & Buildings

Visit historic districts, commercial buildings, and stately homes  


Explore Kalamazoo’s many great sports teams and activities


sheet music

Hear what local music sounded like in Kalamazoo a century ago.

“Kalamazoo, an Original Rag-Time Cake-Walk” by Edward Desenberg, 1899
Written, published and performed in Kalamazoo during the ragtime era.


Kalamazoo History Topics

Oakwood Park boat
  • General Topics: From the 1980 tornado to how Kalamazoo got its name.
  • Arts & Entertainment: Music, theater, arts and more.
  • Biographies: Stories about Kalamazoo pioneers, leaders and heroes.
  • Black History: Prominent African Americans and related history.
  • Business: The products and businesses that made Kalamazoo famous.
  • Cemeteries: The cemeteries and burial grounds of Kalamazoo County.
  • Civil War: Kalamazoo's connection to the Civil War.New!
  • Education: Rural schools, colleges, and related topics.
  • Fires & Firemen: Stories of the fire department and famous fires.
  • Government: Local leaders and governmental buildings.
  • Health: Hospitals and health institutions.
  • Houses & Buildings: Historic districts, commercial buildings and homes.
  • Kalamazoo Public Library: The histories of your library since 1860.
  • Music: The musicians and instiutions that kept Kalamazoo entertained.
  • Neighborhoods: Kalamazoo's richly varied neighborhoods.
  • Parks: The origins and histories of many local parks.
  • Photographers: Those who captured images of the community.
  • Recreation: Kalamazoo's great pastimes and sports teams.
  • Religion: Local religious institutions and churches.
  • Towns: The stories of surrounding communities.
  • Transportation: From plank roads to railroads, how we got around.
  • Women's History: Innovative women in our community.