Kalamazoo City
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About Kalamazoo


The City of Kalamazoo was founded in 1831, when Titus Bronson (1778-1853) recorded the original plat for the Village of Bronson at the County Register of Deeds Office. Shortly thereafter, Governor Lewis Cass selected the village as the site of the county seat, which spurred the rapid development of the community. Bronson, an eccentric and argumentative man, often found himself at odds with his fellow settlers. After a series of incidents, including being fined for stealing a cherry tree from another settler, his enemies successfully changed the name of the town to Kalamazoo in 1836. 

Today Kalamazoo hosts the Kalamazoo Promise, three higher learning institutions, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, diverse and affordable housing, award winning water and water reclamation systems, and many parks, lakes, and golf courses. A wide variety of industries and businesses call Kalamazoo home, including major players in the pharmaceutical, medical science, and craft beer industries. The City also offers a many cultural attractions that you might only expect to find in larger metropolitan areas including music, visual art, dance, theatre, and more! 

Kalamazoo is located in southwestern Michigan approximately 136 miles west of Detroit, 73 miles southwest of Lansing, and 145 miles east of Chicago. The City, also the county seat, is easily accessible from both I-94 and U.S. 131, which cross the State from east to west and north to south, respectively. 

The true meaning of the name Kalamazoo remains uncertain. The most widely accepted explanation comes from a Potawatomi legend. Fleet Foot, in order to win his bride, had to run from the settlement down the river and back again before a pot of water could boil away. The translations "boiling pot," "boiling water," and "where the water boils" originate from this legend. Others have said the name translates to "mirage," "reflecting river," or even "smothered." 


Census Reporter Data on the City of Kalamazoo

Census Reporter Data on Kalamazoo County

U.S. Census Quick Facts


Top Ten Cities for Creatives, smartasset.com, July 2015

You're going where? Kalamazoo is tired of your Creedence Clearwater jokes, the Washington Post, June 2015

29 Cities all Twentysomethings Should Pick Up And Move To, buzzfeed.com, March 2015

Best Cities for Work Life Balance, nerdwallet.com, August 2014

Exemplary Source Water Protection Award (Large Groundwater Systems), American Water Works Association, 2014

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Government Finance Officers Association, 2014, and each of the previous 20 years

Exemplary Wellhead Protection Program Award (Large Groundwater Systems), American Water Works Association (Michigan Section), 2013