Where did the name Kalamazoo come from?

by Cal
(South Haven, Michigan)

Do you know the meaning of "Kalamazoo?" I know it's a weird question but we were just talking about it at dinner and no one had any idea!


Hi Cal!

So, as with history, there are a few different ideas of how the name came to be. We researched this and came up with a few ideas.

At one point, Kalamazoo was called Bronson but the name was changed to Kalamazoo in 1836. Kalamazoo's name comes from a Potawatomi word.

Idea 1:

Previously, the Kalamazoo River was known by Canadians and French as La rivière Kikanamaso.

Idea 2:

The word, "Ki-ka-ma-sung", meaning "boiling water", referred to a race held by local Native Americans, in which challengers raced to the river and back before a pot of hot water came to a boil.

Idea 3:

The word negikanamazo, having something to do with otters, has also been cited as a possible origin of the name.

If you are visiting area, we have photos, reviews and more of our favorite Kalamazoo restaurants and breweries listed here:

Top 10 Kalamazoo Restaurants (Fresh Farm to Table, Downtown Kzoo Dining, Hot Breweries, Outdoor Seating For Your Date Tonight)

Here are some fun things to do and see in Kalamazoo!

Kalamazoo Michigan: Top 11 Things To Do in Kzoo MI! (See the Air Zoo, Gilmore Car Museum, K-Wings Hockey Game +Free Ideas!)

Cheers to Michigan Travel,

Traveling Michigan

For more ideas, check out Travel-Mi.com
Traveling Michigan Events, Inspiration and FUN!

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