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Kalamazoo City Hall

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1931, Weary and Alford. 241 W. South St.
  • Kalamazoo City Hall

City Hall is Kalamazoo's finest example of Art Deco architecture. Its plan and simplicity reflect its classical origins, while its ornament and details are twentieth century. The reinforced-concrete building is faced with granite and Indiana limestone. Bold flutings are carved in the giant pilasters, and floral and geometric designs along with local historical scenes are in relief panels on the frieze. The frames and spandrels of the recessed window are of dark-colored cast aluminum. Within, the building is arranged around a three-story, skylit atrium lobby and is finished with black and gold marble and polished siena travertine. Fountains, stair rails and grilles, lanterns, and a letter box cast in aluminum with stylized carp, birds, pond lilies, and other plants add to the Art Deco imagery. The walls and ceiling of the commission chambers were painted in peach, aqua, and gold geometric designs by German-born Kalamazoo artist Otto Stauffenberg. Architects Weary and Alford of Chicago also designed the American National Bank (now Fifth Third Bank; 136 E. Michigan Avenue) in 1929–1930 with the same Art Deco motifs. City Hall was built by O. F. Miller Company.

Some five years after the city built this modernistic city hall, Kalamazoo County erected the Public Works Administration (PWA) Moderne county building (Michigan Avenue Courthouse, 1936–1937) designed by M. J. C. Billingham (1885–1959) with Smith, Hinchman and Grylls at 227 W. Michigan Avenue. The north and south facades are decorated with allegorical figures of Justice, Law, and Vigilance, carved in relief by Corrado Joseph Parducci.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Kathryn Bishop Eckert
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Citation

Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Kalamazoo City Hall", [Kalamazoo, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-KZ2.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 213-213.

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