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7 Pieces Of History Near Portage, MI

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Located in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Portage is a charming city that is known for its natural beauty and rich history. Over the years, the city has witnessed many significant events that have shaped its identity and played an important role in the United States' history. In this article, we will explore 7 historical events that have taken place near Portage, MI.

1. The construction of the Fulton Chain of Lakes Canal

During the late 19th century, the Fulton Chain of Lakes Canal was constructed near Portage. The canal was built to provide a water route from the Adirondack Mountains to the Erie Canal, and it played a vital role in the transportation of lumber and other goods. Today, the canal remains an important historical landmark, and there are many hiking trails and outdoor activities that allow visitors to explore the area's natural beauty.

2. The arrival of the railroad

In 1850, the Michigan Central Railroad was extended to Kalamazoo, and it played an important role in Portage's growth and development. The railroad allowed for easier transportation of goods and people, and many businesses were established in the city as a result.

3. The Kalamazoo River oil spill

In July 2010, an underground pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy Partners ruptured near Marshall, Michigan. The oil spill contaminated the Kalamazoo River and caused significant damage to the surrounding environment. The spill was one of the largest in U.S. history and prompted a nationwide discussion about the safety of oil pipelines and environmental regulations.

4. The founding of the Kellogg Company

In 1906, the Kellogg Company was founded in Battle Creek, Michigan, just a few miles from Portage. The company was started by brothers W.K. Kellogg and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, and it quickly became one of the largest cereal companies in the world. Today, the company is still headquartered in Battle Creek and is known for its iconic brands like Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies.

5. The establishment of the Kalamazoo Nature Center

In 1960, the Kalamazoo Nature Center was established just south of Portage. The center is dedicated to conservation and environmental education and offers a variety of educational programs and recreational activities for visitors of all ages. The center also maintains over 14 miles of hiking trails that wind through the area's forests, wetlands, and prairies.

6. The founding of Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University was founded in Kalamazoo in 1903 and played an important role in shaping the area's cultural and educational landscape. The university is known for its strong academic programs, research initiatives, and athletic programs, and it has helped put the Kalamazoo area on the map as a hub for innovation and excellence.

7. The establishment of the Kalamazoo Air Zoo

The Kalamazoo Air Zoo is an aviation museum and educational center that was established in 1979 near Portage. The museum features a variety of aircraft and exhibits that explore the history of flight and the science behind aviation. The Air Zoo also offers a number of interactive experiences and educational programs that are designed to inspire and engage visitors of all ages.

In conclusion, Portage, MI, and the surrounding area have been home to many significant historical events that have played an important role in shaping the region's identity and legacy. From the construction of the Fulton Chain of Lakes Canal to the establishment of the Kalamazoo Air Zoo, these events are a testament to the area's rich history, culture, and heritage. As the city continues to grow and evolve, it will undoubtedly continue to leave its mark on the pages of history.
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