why's that | WMUK

why's that

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

(This story orginially aired in October 2018.)  Mount Ever-Rest is different from Kalamazoo’s other cemeteries, and Jeff Sarnacki wants to know why.

Large silver-colored pipes run just off the ground amid greenery.
Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Western Michigan University’s Robert M. Beam Power Plant is easy to miss in the summer when leaves obscure the view from Kalamazoo’s Stadium Drive. But earlier this year, when the trees were bare, Paul Toth of Kalamazoo noticed something curious about big metal pipes that come out of the plant near the road.

Courtesy photo / Allegan County Historical Society

Dean Knuth noticed it years ago: a marker on Douglas Avenue in semirural Kalamazoo County, in the front yard of an old brick house near the Allegan County line. A metal plaque on a stone remembers the "old toll gate” on the road to Grand Rapids.

This wasn’t just any toll road. It was a plank road - one of hundreds of wooden roadways built in the U.S. in the 19th century. The plank roads made travel quicker and easier (if not always safer), and yet they struggled to stay in business.

A blue sign with white lettering that says "Kalamazoo," at the train station downtown.
Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Raven Britt was at a fundraising dinner a couple of years ago when a fellow guest made a prophecy that startled her. Raven had just moved to Kalamazoo, and she was telling the other guest about it.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

“If we get all the way to Decatur I’ll know we’ve passed it, but I think this might be it right here. Yep, that’s it right here!”