In 1870, the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad began passenger service through Kalamazoo, a small village (soon to become a city) in the southwest region of Michigan.
The presence of the train station, on what is now East Michigan Avenue, and the arrival of countless out-of-towners prompted an economic boom. Within the span of a few years, several new hotels and restaurants were built, including the Kalamazoo House.
This image of three owls – one with an umbrella tucked under its wing and another gazing coyly from behind a fan – was the front cover of a menu dated January 1 1884 from Kalamazoo House.
The phrase Ask The Owl Man must surely refer to some kind of superstition at New Year.
Oysters, venison, leg of mutton, turkey and beef were on the menu and we’re intrigued by one of the dessert offerings – sponge pudding with wine sauce.
This image is copyrighted 1882 by Bard and Parsons – a company we believe was owned by brothers Abdiel and William Parsons who established the Parsons Business College in the community in 1869.
Courtesy of UNLV Special Collections
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu or cover.