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Kalamazoo Lost and Found book project

Identifier: RH-A-4136

Scope and Contents

The collection composed of material relating to the publication Kalamazoo Lost and Found written by Lynn Houghton and Pamela O’Connor, and published by the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission in 2001. The collection contains research on individual sites included in the book and material that relates to the production and publication of the book designed to be a fundraiser for the Commission, a city-advisory board for the City of Kalamazoo.

The majority of material in this collection is composed of both typed and handwritten research notes, letters, reports, photocopies and other material used for this book project. In addition, there are some copies of promotional materials and advertisements, calendars, postcards and posters as well as photographic prints and negatives.


  • Creation: 1994-2006


Biographical / Historical

The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission published two books on Kalamazoo architecture before Kalamazoo Lost and Found, which served to educate people about our built environment and raise funds for Commission-sponsored projects. Kalamazoo Lost and Found had its origins in a slide show prepared and given starting in 1981 by Lynn Houghton when working at the Kalamazoo Public Museum. The slide show focused on lost buildings of Kalamazoo. Discussions began with the Historic Preservation Commission in 1988, which resulted initially in a calendar for 1989 called Lost Kalamazoo designed by Rhonda Gilmore with research and writing by Lynn Houghton, both members of the Commission. Talk of producing a publication came up during the next few years but did not result in any work on it until 1994 when Pamela O’Connor joined the discussion with Lynn Houghton and started making concrete plans. A suggestion early on from Dr. Peter Schmitt, member of WMU’s Department of History and author of Kalamazoo Nineteenth Century Homes in a Midwestern Village was to expand the book to not only include lost buildings but to include those that stil exist, or have been found.

Planning for this project began with reviewing several different books that covered a similar topic like Lost Chicago and Lost New York. A recommendation from the Kalamazoo Foundation resulted in the production of a sample chapter, used to give potential funders an idea of what the book would look like when completed. With funding from the Kalamazoo Foundation and the Harold and Grace Upjohn Foundation and completed in 1996, the publication was very helpful over the next few years during the fundraising phase approximately was between 1996 and 1998. The goal was to raise $100,000. An Advisory Committee made up of eight local individuals formed to give advice and direction for the project. In addition to fundraising, O’Connor and Houghton spent time looking at potential images at the Kalamazoo Public Museum, Kalamazoo Public Library and the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections. After raising a sufficient amount of funds, the project was forwarded to the City of Kalamazoo for the hiring a graphic designer, photographer and printer. John Lacko was hired to do the photography, Seuss-Brakeman did the graphic design and Edwards Brothers did the printing.

Work began on this phase in 1998. Houghton and O’Connor divided the chapters and took them one by one, first for each chapter in each section. Every entry needed to contain one to two historic photographs along with one contemporary photograph of the site along with a minimum of 250 words for a page and 500 words for two pages.

Completed in the fall of 2001, Kalamazoo Lost and Found has been a success. The first printing contained 2500 hard and 2500 soft copies. A second printing produced the same amount. It continues to sell locally and online. Since 2001 the Kalamazoo Commission has raised over $100,000 through the sale of this publication.


4.0 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The large part of this material is 8 ½” x 11” and is a mixture of white paper or yellow lined pages. For the most part, all the materials are in good condition although a few pages may have some wear on the edges, mostly due to the type of paper used.

Kalamazoo Lost and Found finding aid
Stephanie Chapman
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