Where’s JillO?

The assignment was simple. To find the modern equivalent of 20 iconic locations around Kalamazoo. Those of us participating in the scavenger hunt were given 20 old photos  and to prove that I really found the buildings, I was required to take a photo of myself at each location. The edict came from the social committee of the library where I work. The library  has an awesome local history room with hundreds of old photos of the community. We only had to locate 15 but I was determined to find all 20. Luckily I recognized most of the buildings and knew where they were. I found them all within 2 days of searching and decided to post all the photos here on my blog. Because I chose to work alone and not with a team, the photos took on a bit of a “Where’s Waldo” feel.



“Cities Service” Gas and Service Station / Today it’s Bells Brewery



Dragon carriage step – S Burdick Street near the old Kalamazoo Gazette building.



Kalamazoo City Hall – South Street



Park Building / torn down and the new Miller Canfield Building



Kalamazoo County Courthouse




East Side Branch Library when it used to be located in a storefront.There wasn’t much sidewalk, so my angle wasn’t the greatest.



Across from the Washington Square Library. It used to be a fire station at one time, I think. I don’t know what it is now, but they did a great renovation job, don’t you think?



First Presbyterian Church right across the street from Bronson Park.


Bronson Park Fountain



J.C Penney’s Store / now it is home to MLive –  the new Kalamazoo Gazette



The Hilton Hotel / Radisson Hotel – please ignore all the squinting in my photos, it was a very sunny day and I was either looking straight into the sun or there was a glare on my phone and I was squinting to see if the building was in the shot. The Hilton had a disco and a live dinner theater in the 70’s.



The Kalamazoo Public Library, then and now.



The Ladies’ Library Association Building. Still looking as lovely as when it was first built. One of the first women’s club buildings in the U.S.A.



NOT the Masonic Temple….Lawrence and Chapin ironworks building . For some reason I thought it was the Masonic Temple, but that  is a few buildings down. Now it is office space.



The back parking lot of the Saniwax Building – now called the Park Trade Center. Mural painted by Conrad Kaufman, who also painted the storyhour room at the library.



Squinting again….The Oakwood Pharmacy. It’s gone thru a lot a businesses, now I believe, it is a craft beer brewery.



Originally a one-room schoolhouse on West Main Street, this building was the home of the first incarnation of the Oshtemo  Branch Library. Now it is some kind of sports store





Olde Peninsula Brew Pub – This restaurant has been around for quite a while. I understand that the building went through several different uses, a restaurant, a department store, a stove company and a hotel.



The old Powell Branch Library, now the Senior Ecumenical Center.



Inside the 5/3rd Bank on Michigan Ave. Still beautiful after all these years.

I had a lot of fun finding all these spots, and would like to do it again sometime.

Posted in community, historical architecture, kalamazoo, Michigan, photos, small town life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

In Flanders Fields


My poppies have begun blooming, just in time for Memorial Day.

I know that my poppies are not the same type that traditionally represent the holiday, but I felt that the symbolism  remains the same. It honors the soldiers who bravely risked their lives in the battlefield.

The symbol of the poppy in memory of fallen soldiers began during the Napoleonic wars where poppies bloomed in the Flanders Field. It was believed that the blood of the soldiers had caused the red poppies to bloom –  a sign that the war was over. Poppies as a symbol of remembrance grew, especially after World War I, with the publishing of the poem, In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~by John McCrae, May 1915~


Posted in flowers, gardens, holiday celebration, photos, spring | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Into the Woods

We’ve had a lot of ups and downs in temperature this spring. Warm weather at the beginning of April popped open a lot of the early woodland ephemera, but by the time I began my annual pilgrimages towards the end of the month when it turned cold again, many of my favorites were long gone. Still, the Trillium were at their peak, and lots of other lovelies blooming so I made another trek a week later to enjoy them all over again..



You can see how much the leaves on the trees have popped after only one week. The first hike was on the Kal-Haven Trail, the 2nd was at the Nature Center.

All that was left of the sharped-lobed hepatica (Anemone acutiloba), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and trout lily (Erythronium americanum) were their leaves. The flowers were done. Even though they were finished, I managed to see lots of others on the trail.


Blue-Eyed Mary (Collinsia verna) were looking lovely. They are listed as a threatened wildflower in Michigan however they seem to be thriving at our local Nature Center.


Dutchman’s Breeches  (Dicentra cucullaria). I didn’t find many blooming along the trail, as they are almost done for the season. However, there was a bumper crop of


Squirrel Corn (dicentra canadensis) in very large patches. The 2 dicentra species are related to each other. Botanists used to think that the garden variety of bleeding heart also shared the same DNA, but they recently decided that though they are loosely related, the DNA is different. So what used to be Dicentra spectabilis blooming in the garden is now known as Lamprocapnos spectabile.


Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) is almost done as well, but I did find a few clumps here and there. I recently discovered another common name for this delicate pink flower: “fairy spud”. Somehow it doesn’t have the same ring as “spring beauty”.

Clockwise starting at the top I saw woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata laphamii), cutleaf toothwort (Dentaria laciniata), large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) and blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) in full bloom all over the hillsides along the trail despite the cold rainy weather.


False rue anemone (Enemion biternatum) were everywhere and looking lovely. I didn’t really see the regular rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) but unless you know what to look for, they are difficult to tell apart.

The difference between the two species are

1. false rue anemone has 5 petals while the regular rue anemone can have up to 10 flower petals and

2. false rue anemone has deeply lobed leaves (like gloves), while the leaves of the regular rue anemone have 3 shallow leaflets (more like mittens).

The red elderberry shrub (Sambucus racemosa) and celandine wood poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) were also making an appearance.




The flashiest flowers on the trail this time of year were the trillium (Trillium grandiflorum),


img_20160507_172154.jpg jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)


img_20160507_155055018.jpgand  down in the wetlands area, marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris).



I’m looking forward to my next hike.

Posted in flowers, hiking, Michigan, nature, spring, wildflowers | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments