Postcards of Parchment, Michigan
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The abundant supply of fresh water attracted the paper industry to Kalamazoo County, which once boasted the largest number of paper mills in the nation. Lovely views of the Kalamazoo River can still be enjoyed in Parchment today.
The Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company was founded in 1909 and by the 1920s was a thriving paper mill.
This smokestack was a well-known landmark for many years. Painted with a special reflective coating and illuminated with spotlights, at night it was visible for miles. It was demolished in 1952.
By the late 1920s KVP was a thriving and expanding mill.
Constructed in 1928, the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Administration Building is said to be the first air-conditioned office building in the United States. It is located on Island Avenue just west of Riverview Drive.
Circa 1930. The reverse of the postcard reads, "Each of the giant machines has a capacity of one mile of paper 13 feet wide, every 6 minutes. They operate 6 days a week, 24 hours a day. Kalamazoo is known as 'The Paper City' as it produces more paper than any similar area in the world."
One of the many KVP printing presses. This one prints four colors at one time. The paper goes through the press from a roll, ends up in sheets. (1930s)
KVP boasted a state-of-the-art studio. Artists designed all packaging, printed papers and marketing materials. Circa 1930.
Constructed in 1940, the research laboratory was the last new building for KVP until after World War II. During the war, KVP developed specialty papers for the military services, such as greaseproof paper to wrap gun and machine parts.