In 1909, a man named Jacob Kindleberger started the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company in an old sugar beet factory along the Kalamazoo River. Kindleberger's company manufactured parchment paper, a type of paper invented in ancient times that was commonly used for baking or other kitchen-type applications.
As the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company expanded, employees of the company started settling their families closer to the plant's location just a few miles north of the City of Kalamazoo. The first houses in Parchment were built by Kindleberger's company as employee housing.
Seeing the potential of this niche community, Kindleberger led the charge to create a separate municipality for the area. Thus, with a population of just over 500 residents in 1930, the Village of Parchment was created.
Kindleberger continued to provide leadership as the Village expanded even in the difficult economic times of the Great Depression. In 1939, the Village of Parchment became an official city municipality.
Today, the City of Parchment remains a small, tight-knit community known for its quaint, historical homes and safe, quiet neighborhoods. Although the paper mills no longer operate, the City continually takes steps toward the future.
In 2008, the City Commission approved a plan to redevelop the paper mill land into new residential, commercial, and retail space.
Today the City of Parchment has a population of 1,936 people.
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