Hidden Kalamazoo Tour returns to Downtown Kalamazoo for its 5th Year

The Hidden Kalamazoo Tour returns to downtown Kalamazoo June 17 & 18, offering an opportunity to visit the City’s less traveled historic spaces before these windows into the past disappear.

This year the tour goes behind the scenes in spaces that have been in constant use for over 130 years, like Ladies Library, and other historic buildings currently in use such as the Park Club and the Park Trades Center. Hidden Kalamazoo will tour the vacant Masonic Temple building, poised for redevelopment in the near future, and venture further east on Michigan and Kalamazoo into the upper floors above the Old Dog Tavern and tour the nearby Muleskinner – an old wooden storefront with an attached interurban maintenance car! The tour also includes a bonus work-in-progress site downtown.

Returning from last year, three historic buildings constructed out of Legos will be on display in the atrium of City Hall for free to anyone who wants to visit. City Hall will also serve as a hub with book sales, ticket sales (if tickets are available), and restrooms. Across South Street in Bronson Park, interpreters will talk about the history of the park and answer questions about the Bronson Park 21st Century fundraising campaign.

Ticket sales are limited to 900 sold in advance of the tour to the general public. Tickets are just $15 for both days of the tour and are available beginning May 1st at City of Kalamazoo offices and select area businesses:

  • Spirit of Kalamazoo at 154 South Kalamazoo Mall
  • D&W at 2103 Parkview Avenue (at Oakland Drive)
  • D&W at 525 Romence Road in Portage
  • Kalamazoo City Hall (City Treasurer’s Office) at 241 W South Street
  • Kalamazoo Public Services Building at 415 Stockbridge

Previous Hidden Kalamazoo Tours have sold out in advance, so tickets may not be available during the tour.

Tourists can go from one site to the next on their own schedule and start and finish at any stop. Each site is staffed by a manager and a crew of tour guides. The tour sites for the 2017 Hidden Kalamazoo Tour are:

  • Ladies Library, 333 South Park
  • Park Club, 219 West South
  • Masonic Temple, 309 North Rose
  • Park Trades, 334 West Kalamazoo
  • Old Dog (Star Building), 402 East Kalamazoo
  • Muleskinner, 316 East Water
  • Bronson Park
  • City Hall (tour hub), 241 West South
  • AND THE SECRET SITE!

Hidden Kalamazoo is currently looking for volunteer tour guides. Volunteer guides will be asked to work one 3½ hour shift over the weekend and in return get a free ticket and an official Hidden Kalamazoo T-shirt. For more information about volunteering, email 1884@kalamazoocity.org.

The 5th Annual Hidden Kalamazoo Tour is sponsored by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

About Hidden Kalamazoo

The Hidden Kalamazoo Tour began to showcase vacant downtown buildings and upper floors in the increasingly active and busy city center. For the fifth year the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission has offered the opportunity for people to go where only maintenance staff and business owners were allowed. In 2013 and 2015 the tickets sold out almost a week before the tour.

When the tornado swept through downtown Kalamazoo in 1980, most of the upper floors of downtown buildings were vacant or used only for storage. Today, only eight old buildings are completely unused upstairs, and new construction is changing the skyline. The upper floors have been redeveloped into beautiful apartments or comfortable new offices with high ceilings, beautiful woodwork and an atmosphere only old buildings offer.

The Hidden Kalamazoo tour is a fundraiser for the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission, a self-funded city advisory board. You can follow the Tour on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or at www.hiddenkalamazoo.com

More information, contact Sharon Ferraro at 1884@kalamazoocity.org or (269) 337-8804.