Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, August 10, 1997, pg. 11
Kalamazoo used to be alot closer than you think--only two miles west of Albion. Before you go scurrying to your old maps, let me explain. In September 1831, Reuben Abbott (1797-1869) arrived with his family and erected along cabin in Sheridan Township along what is today Michigan Avenue (Old U.S. 12). He soon enlarged his home into a tavern, meeting place, and post office. The first official name of the community was not Waterburg, but Kalamazoo! The community was named after the Indian name of “kikalamaozo,” which means “mirage” or “reflecting river.”
The Kalamazoo post office opened at Abbott’s Tavern on May 2, 1834 and Reuben Abbott was its first postmaster. It was here that the first settlers to “the Forks” had to travel to get their mail. Unfortunately, the little community’s name was in competition with another one some 50 miles to the west. Because of this, the Kalamazoo, Sheridan Township post office was changed to Waterburg on December 23, 1835.
A sawmill was erected on the nearby Kalamazoo River by Abbott, and Daniel Rossiter (1798-1837), the latter of whom was the first township Justice of the Peace. The business venture failed, and the structure later burned. Today, canoeists can still see the foundation stones of the Waterburg Mill.
In 1838, Jesse Crowell of “the Forks” received permission to relocate the Waterburg post office into Albion. However, the original post office continued to operate for a few more years. In its final months of operation, it was known as the Sheridan Post Office. It finally closed in 1843. So there were three names for the community: Kalamazoo (1834-35), Waterburg (1835-1843), and Sheridan (1843). The tavern and farm were sold to Reuben Emery in 1844. The old Abbott tavern/post office building was a landmark for many years before it was demolished in the late 1980s.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a drawing of Reuben Abbott, the postmaster at Kalamazoo/Waterburg.
Reuben Abbott, Kalamazoo/Waterburg Postmaster
Next: D.A.R. ROCK
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic