1903 : Kalamazoo Votes to Build Western State Normal School, Now Known as Western Michigan University

October 19, 2018 all-day

Western State Normal School

On Oct. 19, 1903, voters in Kalamazoo voted by an 8-to-1 margin to support construction of the Western State Normal School, later known as Western Michigan University. Kalamazoo was selected as the site because of its central location in southwest Michigan.

It also won the college because its residents agreed to raise $120,000 in a bond sale to pay for 20 acres of land, improvements, roads and building construction.


Michigan Every Day

Ursula Zerilli, “East Campus: Finances trump history in Western Michigan University’s decision to raze historic buildings”, MLive, December 16, 2012.

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