Friday. September 22, 2023


KNM’s Facebook page features photographs of Kalamazoo and asks readers to tell us what they depict and where they were taken. As the likely demolition of historic local buildings is in the news lately, we thought we’d ask “Where the Kal is this?” about another structure facing destruction.

Drake Bridge archival

In 1846-1847, the bridge and underpass in this archival photograph were built to cross a major Kalamazoo road, before it was major. That structure is long gone. However, a second, nearly identical one was built nearby at the same time, and it is still standing.

The surviving structure was the result of a bargain between a local farmer and a railroad company looking to connect Detroit to Chicago, through Kalamazoo. The proposed path would cut through his fields, so he needed a crossing point for animals, equipment, and harvests.

The railroad company cut him an underpass and built the walls out of large stone blocks. Today, those impressive, 12-foot stone walls are still intact, standing in a wooded area, on private land. However, they are likely to be demolished for a commercial development centered around a car wash.

Where the Kal is this?

Asylum Stone Bridge overall small


Asylum Stone Bridge from above


Asylum Bridge blocks

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