A New Building for a Historic Site
Upon receiving a new batch of progress photos from our talented photographer Fran Dwight, we were delighted to find some really great shots of the Exchange building’s construction process. What we weren’t expecting however, was to see a photo displaying the incredibly rich history of the site.
The below image shows the arches from a previous building on the site that had been buried for some time. Intrigued, we decided to do a little digging of our own to see if we could find out more about the location.
Unbelievably, we found a photo of one of the old buildings. Constructed in 1864, it belonged to Israeli’s Dry Goods. The picture shows arches that were very similar to what we found while digging the Exchange’s foundation.
We eventually came to learn that Israeli’s was not the first or the last building to be on the site, but it was the origin of the arches.
Before Israeli’s was built, the site was home to Hosea Huston’s General Store, a doctor’s office, and the first post office in Kalamazoo. After Israeli’s closed its doors, it became JR Jones & Sons Store; it was this tenant that filled in the arches pictured in the original photo.
Remaining in Kalamazoo for almost 45 years, it was destroyed by a fire in the mid 1940’s. The other buildings onsite were torn down by 1971, and it has since been a parking lot.
Excitingly, the construction of the Exchange building taught us a little about the history of downtown Kalamazoo. The construction progression will soon reveal a spectacular addition to the downtown Kalamazoo skyline.