why's that

Courtesy Jay Wesley

This month, “Why’s That?” brings you a fish story. Not a tall tale, but a question from listener and WMUK volunteer Maria Maki. She’s heard that Kalamazoo was once a globally renowned destination for fishing, especially for trout.


Western Michigan University/Zhang Legacy Collections

This "Why's That?" story originally aired in December 2017.

Some terms inevitably evoke the past. Think "orphanage" or "asylum," or perhaps "poor house." If that sounds like something you would find in nineteenth-century England, you don’t have to go either that far back or that far away. Many Michigan counties once had some kind of government-run residence for people in need. Kalamazoo had not just a poor house, but a “poor farm” on land that is now a county park.


Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Bonnie Nye does not love driving on Interstate 94. In fact, now that she's not commuting, the retired nurse from Lawton says she avoids that road "like the plague." But she does have a question about it. 


Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

A piece of art that has stood for decades in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park is set to come down. Some criticize the Fountain of the Pioneers, as it’s known, as offensive and even racist. It features a "settler" figure who stands head and shoulders above a man in a headdress. In his left hand, the pioneer holds a long, thin object.


Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy

Cooper is a common name, but it turns up in Kalamazoo even more than you might expect. There’s Cooper Township; Cooper Avenue in Kalamazoo Township; Cooper’s Island in Schoolcraft. Folk singer Joel Mabus has played the Cooper’s Glen music festival, which used to be held at the Glen at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

“And then 10 years ago or more it moved to wintertime festival. They hold it down at the hotel downtown. And they kept using the name Cooper’s Glen, and me and a few other people said, ‘why are you keeping that name?”


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