City of Parchment
The City of Parchment traces its beginnings to the founding of the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company in 1909. The Company was started by Jacob Kindleberger in an old sugar beet factory on the bank of the Kalamazoo River a few miles north of Kalamazoo. The company made parchment paper and hence the City’s name of Parchment.
The company’s first employees lived in tents near the mill or commuted in riverboats back and forth from Kalamazoo. Others rented rooms from farmers.
As the Company grew, the community grew around it. In 1915 the Company built six houses along Riverview Drive, later eight more were built. Plats were laid out and the City’s first street “Oak Grove” was built.
Mr. Kindleberger and a committee of citizens worked out a plan for a model village. In 1930 the population in the mill area had grown to 511 residents. That year an election was held and the Village of Parchment was carved out of the northern part of Kalamazoo Township.
Under the guidance of Jacob Kindleberger, the mill, and the Village Commission, great progress was made. New streets were built, sewer pipes layed, signals installed and a business district formed. Taxes were low as the mill still bore the greatest part of the expenses for municipal services such as police, fire, streets, water, sewer, and park maintenance. When the mill was idled by adverse economic conditions such as the depression of the 1930s, Mr. Kindleberger would put the employees to work on town improvements ensuring that everyone earned enough to feed their families.
By a vote of 183 “yes” to 1 “no” the citizens of the Village of Parchment voted to become a 5th class city in 1939.
The City of Parchment has a population of 1,817 people based on the 2010 uncontested Census.
The City of Parchment is home to beautiful Kindleberger Park.
Kindleberger Park was donated to the City by the Jacob Kindleberger family for the enjoyment of our citizens. The park is approximately forty acres and is located at the intersection of Park and Maple Streets.
The park offers a four-diamond Little League complex, two softball diamonds, two new playgrounds, five covered picnic pavilions, tennis courts, paved walking paths and a beautiful sunken formal garden complete with a gazebo.
The Kindleberger Stage and park Pavilions can also be reserved for events by calling City Hall. Click here to download a Reservation Form.
The Kalamazoo River
The City of Parchment is a riverfront community bordering the Kalamazoo River for approximately 1.4 miles.
The river is a valuable asset providing recreational opportunities, natural beauty and wildlife habitat. Considering this, the City of Parchment is active in working to preserve and protect the Kalamazoo River.