Local Preservation Projects to be Honored with Historic Preservation Awards of Merit at May 29 Ceremony

 The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission (KPHC) will present its 2019 Awards of Merit on Wednesday, May 29, at 5:30 pm. The awards ceremony will be held at the Ladies' Library Association building at 333 S Park Street. The public is welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

For more than two decades the KHPC has presented awards for preservation projects in the city of Kalamazoo. Awards have recognized institutions such as the Woodward School, books such as Kalamazoo: Lost and Found, and nearly three dozen projects including many types of housing rehabilitation projects, new infill housing, and commercial redevelopment.

These awards are given annually in May in local recognition of National Historic Preservation Month. The awards recognize individuals or institutions that have done an outstanding job of rehabilitating a historic structure or have actively promoted or contributed to historic preservation in the city of Kalamazoo.

This year’s four award winners include:

Residential Property

George and Emma Steers House at 318 Woodward: On August 28 of 2014, this seven-unit rental house suffered a devastating fire, with three-quarters of the roof burned off and fire and water damage throughout. The landlord chose to sell the house to another landlord. Over the following two years, Jim Pejka restored the house, starting by re-using the original salvaged trim materials to repair the roof. Once the roof was complete work began in earnest- drying the house out, removing damaged and moldy material, and planning the new configuration into an eight-unit apartment building with updated electrical, egress, fire suppression, heating, and cooling. With approval from the Historic District Commission, the non-historic second floor of a small north porch was removed along with a damaged and unneeded chimney. The wing walls on the front steps were also repaired among many more updates and repairs. Mr. Pejka has set a high bar for rehabilitating a historic home.

William and Maria DeYoe House (built 1853-1854): Originally built for William and Maria DeYoe, an attorney and postmaster in Kalamazoo’s early years, this home is one of the finest examples of the Gothic Revival style in the city. The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo purchased this house in 2001, using it for several years as a guest house or for young men with a calling to the priesthood. Starting in 2015, the Diocese determined to make upgrades and long neglected repairs, and under the guidance of Monsignor Michael Osborne, a true update and rehabilitation started with a thorough assessment. Monsignor referred to a historic photo that showed the earliest recorded paint colors were much lighter than the current ones. Along with repairing and replicating missing and damaged pendils and other trim, the original color scheme was restored, the triple spear point windows in the 3rd floor were restored, bricks were repointed as needed, and gutters were repaired and re-attached. The home’s details, such as a built-in garbage bin on the west side porch, were all repaired and made operable. Other interior work brought the home into the 21st century without sacrificing any period details. This rehabilitation is an excellent example of modernizing an important historic home while respecting its evolution over time.

Riley and Tolle Service Station at 1104 Portage: In late 2016, Allbox Properties and Grant Fletcher purchased former service station on the corner of Portage and Lake Streets. The bay garage doors were updated with frosted glass, the glazed brick at the base of the walls was exposed and cleaned, and the building was freshly painted with a light blue color scheme to complement the brick base. These investments in this 2,190 square-foot building have not only returned the luster to its exterior, but they have ensured that the southwest corner of Postage and Lake Street will maintain an anchor structure as the surrounding neighborhood continues to evolve and prosper.

Institutional Stewardship

Upjohn Institute: Since shortly before W. E. Upjohn’s death in 1932, the Upjohn Institute has been an important part of Kalamazoo. The Institute has also been an excellent steward of Kalamazoo’s historic properties dating back to 1965 when it finished its newer building. The Colonial Revival Boudeman House at 515 West South was purchased from Donna Boudeman and features massive two-story columns and a fine symmetry throughout. The institute has consistently made needed repairs, faithfully preserving the house. In the fall of 2018, the Institute purchased the Carder-Van Deusen House at 527 West South and has just received approval from the Historic District Commission to turn the garage into a small guest cottage and repurpose the home as office and meeting space.

For more information, please call Sharon Ferraro, City of Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Coordinator at (269) 337-8804 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Zero Homeowner Tax Foreclosures in the City of Kalamazoo in 2019


An innovative Tax Foreclosure Prevention Partnership between the Kalamazoo County Treasurer, LISC, and the City of Kalamazoo reached its ambitious goal of eliminating tax foreclosures on owner-occupied homes in the City of Kalamazoo in 2019.

“This is truly a historic achievement,” said County Treasurer Mary Balkema, adding, “This number has never been zero in any of our lifetimes.”

The program makes use of the County’s existing hardship criteria and one-on-one financial counselling to target those homeowners who have not only the greatest need for assistance, caused by a medical or other catastrophic life event for example, but also the highest likelihood of exiting arrears permanently.

The partnership, which was supported by $80,000 of Foundation for Excellence funding through the City’s partnership with the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), built on the successful 2018 pilot program that resulted in zero tax foreclosures on owner-occupied homes in the Northside Neighborhood.

Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell emphasized that, “The Foundation for Excellence makes a difference in our community every day. We know this from the testimonials from residents who have stayed in their houses because of foreclosure prevention work and the overall reduction in city property tax. The FFE is helping folks and making a difference in our residents’ lives and in our community by keeping people in their homes.”

Program success resulted in part from the door-to-door outreach done by a team of City and County officials, including Treasurer Balkema, Mayor Hopewell, and City Commissioner David Anderson. “In a time of heightened partisanship, this partnership between the City and the County is a real triumph,” said Commissioner Anderson.

The County Treasurer’s activities also had positive results countywide. No one who owns and occupies their home had a hardship form denied. Payment plans were agreed to in all cases. “Kalamazoo County is focused on addressing homelessness and developing affordable housing strategies with all of our partners in the county. The effort to prevent foreclosures and keep families in their homes aligns with our housing focus, and is a notable accomplishment for the entire community,” said County Administrator Tracie Moored. 

“We know that keeping people in their homes helps to prevent many of the negative social and economic outcomes that arise from housing insecurity, especially for children and the elderly,” continued Mayor Hopewell. “This is important work that also helps ensure that the youth in our community are not just Promise-eligible, put Promise-ready.”

This foreclosure prevention partnership is intended to continue each year to help avoid all preventable foreclosures in the City of Kalamazoo.


Community Invited to Learn about Historic Preservation in Kalamazoo at May 8 Presentation


The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission (KHPC) will be showcasing the history of historic preservation in Kalamazoo at a free presentation on Wednesday, May 8th in the Van Deusen Room of the Kalamazoo Public Library starting at 7pm.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about historic preservation work in Kalamazoo and the processes and organizations that perform this work. Presentation topics will also include how the preservation movement started, how historic preservation has impacted Kalamazoo, and upcoming projects such as the Hidden Kalamazoo book, the Grave Issues Squad gravestone inventory at Mountain Home Cemetery, and Old House Owners Workshops scheduled for this summer.

Kalamazoo was among the first communities to identify historic preservation as a tool in planning by appointing its first Commission for Historic Preservation in June 1965.

Please call Sharon Ferraro, City of Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Coordinator at (269) 337-8804 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


City of Kalamazoo

Home to the Kalamazoo Promise, three institutions of higher education, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, cutting-edge medical research, world-class brewing and dining, outstanding parks, and an extensive variety of music, art, theatre, and cultural attractions.


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 (269) 337-8000
 (269) 337-8182
 241 West South Street
     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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