A Town Named Kalamazoo

"We have a building!"

“We have a building!” – Source

Kalamazoo. You may know it as a place where people live. But do you know why it was thusly named? Well, sit back dear readers, I will take you on a trip fantastic.

It originally had the unoriginal name of Bronson (Not to be confused with another Bronson 50 miles away), settled by Titus Bronson in 1829 and founded 2 years later.

As it turns out, Titus Bronson was an “eccentric” to the “dismay” of “an influential group of men in town” a whole five years after he founded it. He was convicted of stealing a cherry tree (cherries are serious business in Michigan), kicked out and the town was promptly renamed “Kalamazoo”. – Source

Why Kalamazoo though? Named after La rivière Kikanamaso as the French-Canadians called it, where it was derived from an Potawatomi word (probably?) meaning “boiling water” (maybe?) or “the mirage or reflecting river” (maybe). So the American settlers decided, “Yes, that is a fine name, Kalamazoo it is.”

A footnote in this fascinating and inspiring tale of Titus Bronson, Wikipedia says:

After leaving Kalamazoo, Bronson found his way to Davenport, Iowa, where, in 1842, he lost most of his money in a land swindle. His wife also died in that same year. Bronson lived in Illinois for a short while, and then returned to Connecticut where he died a broken man.

Other Sources: Stuff I found on wikipedia.