Parkwyn Village Association
Scope and Contents
This collection is made up of records and material from 1946 to 2008 from the Parkwyn Village Association. The development is located in Kalamazoo Michigan.
- Majority of material found within 1946-2008
Biographical / Historical
The Parkwyn Village Association was found in the 1940’s originally by a group scientists who were employed at the Upjohn Company. Originally the entire group planned to buy land near Galesburg Michigan but members within that group wanted to be closer to Kalamazoo schools so eventually this group purchased a 47-acre lot of land in 1946 at the west end of Winchell Avenue for $18,000. By the fall of 1946, the group meet with world-famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin and agreed to a design. According to the original design plans, the community was going to consist of rounded plot but due to the FHA not allowing loans for rounded lots, they were changed for the more traditional squared lots.
The residents pooled their money to buy material and resources in bulk. The residents also worked collaboratively when constructing homes to save on costs, there is record of residents making their own concrete blocks and aided in the construction of their homes to help make it more affordable. Four homes in Parkwyn were designed by Wright that reflected his Usonian design. The Usonian design came from when American’s were still recovering from the Great Depression and this design was to help the “common people” create a home that is more affordable. These homes were small with no attic, basement, visible roof, garage, gutters or downspouts.
Architect Norman Carver, Jr. (1928-2018) who studied at Taliesin, assisted in designing homes in Parkwyn. Carver was a Kalamazoo native and a graduate of the Yale Architecture School in 1953. In addition, Carver helped design six homes in Parkwyn Village and would eventually take over the final design and construction of the homes in Parkwyn.
The Lots in Parkwyn Village were sold for about $1000 each and by 1956 and all of the lots were sold and anyone could have bought a plot since deed covenants prohibited the association from discriminating by race, religion, or color.
Language of Materials
The collection consists of 4 cubic feet of material from the Parkwyn Village Association which was founded in 1946, near Galesburg Michigan. The majority of the material is 8”x11”. Other material in the collection ranges from 4.5”x3” to 14”x8.5.” There are also two folders of miscellaneous photographs that are all in color and the size of the photographs are 5”x3.5.”
The collection is in good condition. Generally all of the material is legible, in the later years of the organization some material was printed on to color paper. Material from the earlier years are slightly faded but are still legible. There are also several items that are development maps and architectural plans from Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects that have been encapsulated in Mylar. The plans are in good condition, they are still legible and there is some slight tearing and yellowing.
The association kept excellent records during its operation. Within the collection there are meeting minutes and agendas dating from the 1940’s to the early 2000’s, extensive financial information (tax documents, treasurer’s reports, budget reports, etc.) There is also general correspondence from various members of the community and of the association. There are two folders of unidentified color photos that appear to be from events that were held by the association. There is a folder dedicated to material and correspondence from Frank Lloyd Wright to members of the Association.
For use of the collection see the Deposit Agreement in Donor File.
Maps located: MC 16 D 2
- Parkwyn Village Association Finding Aid
- Ian Daly
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
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