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Kalamazoo House Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3641

Scope and Contents

Kalamazoo House, Kalamazoo, Michigan, R. P. Emerson, Proprietor, room book that served as a hotel register, March 27, 1867 to September 28, 1867. The room book lists names, room numbers, and extras such as length of stay. A menu from the Kalamazoo House, dating from approximately 1881-1884.


  • Creation: 1867-1884


Biographical / Historical

The Kalamazoo House opened in 1832 as the first hotel of the village opened by Cyren Burdick. Located at the intersection of East Main and Portage Streets, it was the site for various celebrations including in 1846 when the first railroad came to Kalamazoo. The old structure made way for the new hotel in 1869 and it continued in operation until 1906 when it came down to make way for the Kalamazoo Trust and Savings Bank and the Edwards and Chamberlin Hardware Company. Robert P. Emerson came to Kalamazoo in November of 1881 to become the new proprietor of the Kalamazoo House. The Kalamazoo Gazette reported on September 2, 1884 that Mr. Emerson retired eventually moving to Washington D.C.


.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection amounts to .25 cubic feet and is composed of one room book from the Kalamazoo House dated March 27, 1867 to September 28, 1867 along with a small menu from the hotel from approximately 1881-1884.

The room book measures 14”x9”x2”. The book is in fair condition. On its spine in gold letters are the words “Room Book” and “Kalamazoo House.” Information in this book is written in pencil and includes names, dates, room numbers, time arrived and any extras the person requested while staying at the hotel. There is wear on the corners and other areas of the ledger and the cover is dirty and curved. The paper inside is browned around the edges. The writing at times can be faint and may be a challenge to read. The menu measures 4”x3 ¼” and is in the shape of a fan. On the front is an illustration of two children looking at snails sitting on a brick wall. The background is silver and the figures and other items in the drawing are in red. The other side has a printed menu for Sunday lunch including drinks, fish, cold meats, relishes, bread and fruit. A note at the bottom states “Sunday Dinner, 5 c’clock.” At the base are the words, “Kalamazoo House, R.P. Emerson, Prop.” The fan is in good shape.There are no folds. There is a slight bit of wear on the menu side but the words are still legible.

Kalamazoo House Collection Finding Aid
Lynn Houghton
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490