Posts Tagged ‘Kalamazoo River’

A while back I was contacted by Lisa M. DeChano-Cook, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Western Michigan University about my antique photographs. She said that she and her colleague, Mary L. Brooks, were writing a book about the Kalamazoo River and were interested in photos of that subject.

The book is now published, and Lisa sent me an autographed copy. It’s a gorgeous collection of photos and information about the history of the river. If you are interested, just click through the following image of the book to order from Amazon.

They used several of my photographs. And they also found photographs in the archives at Western that were taken by grandpa’s uncle, Joseph DeKorn. In the 70s or 80s, my grandfather donated a lot of photographs and glass negatives to the archives. Notice that the one at the archives is the same photograph that I use for the header of my blog–the flood at the Water Works Bridge in 1904.


The above is another one from the archives. I also have a copy of this one. In fact, I posted it a year and a half ago, wondering if it was it, in fact, the Monarch Paper Mill. According to DeChano-Cook and Brooks, it is the Monarch Mill. I guess I can go back and revise that blog post. (How many times have I said that–and then how often do I do it? I need a blog assistant–any offers? haha)

This is one of the photos I sent to Lisa:

The book states:

Many farmers tried to fence in their property because they knew that the river flow would change and they could not use it as a stable boundary. In the photograph, a wire fence spans a shallow part of the Kalamazoo River. The reflection of the fence in the water makes it appear as though it is a wire pedestrian bridge.

So thrilled when blog readers relate to what they find on this blog. I always end up learning a lot!

Read Full Post »

I posted this photo of a steamboat two years ago. I had been told by Grandpa that it was probably on the Kalamazoo River.

Steamboat on the Kalamazoo River

Steamboat on the Kalamazoo River

In the glass negatives that belonged to Joseph DeKorn, there are more ship and water photos. I started to think that the glass negative photos look like something bigger than the Kalamazoo River.

St. Joe Line Chicago Steamer

St. Joe Line Chicago Steamer

City of South Haven steamboat

Notice the Coca-Cola ad to the left of the photo above (hubby collects vintage and antique Coke signs, so he would love this). Because these scenes appear to be major water transportation, I looked up the Great Lakes passenger steamers on my old friend Wikipedia. I learned that the “history of commercial passenger shipping on the Great Lakes is long but uneven. It reached its zenith between the mid-19th century and the 1950s.” These photos are probably from the very early 1900s.

Here are some other photos I found online:

Steamer City of Chicago

Steamer City of Chicago postcard available for $8.95 click through

This ship is the City of Chicago steamer, operated by the St. Joe Line (see Uncle Joe’s photo above).


What I would love to find out is the route these passenger ships took–and what the ride was like! Did they serve food and beverage? Was it fine dining or picnic lunch? How long did the trip take?


Read Full Post »