~ Willard Public Library ~

Recognizing the need to preserve deteriorating photographs and stories representing the history of Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1998 Willard Library began this project to organize, scan, and make widely available images of our community's past.  With the generous financial assistance of the Battle Creek Community Foundation and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the library was able to replicate over 17,000 photographs from 19th and 20th century Battle Creek for the use of researchers and community members.  As another part of our effort to enhance our local history resources, the library has also completed an index of the 85 volume Ross Coller Collection of clippings and notes on the history of Battle Creek.   That portion of our project was funded by the Miller Foundation.

This photographic web site is divided into three parts.  The "Battle Creek Homes and Buildings, c. 1940" portion provides a catalog, street by street, of all of the buildings within the 1940 boundaries of Battle Creek.  It is searchable by street name, and then by address on the street.  The "Photographs from Battle Creek's History" section provides a searchable selection of 5,500 photographs selected from the files of Willard Library.  It is searchable by keyword within the caption of the photograph, or browsable within the broad subject categories we have assigned to the photos.  The "Dorothy Martich Black History Photo Archive" represents many years of research by local historians Dorothy and Michael Martich, whose work toward documenting the history of the Battle Creek African American community was painstakingly accomplished in the 1980's and 1990's.

In many cases, there is more information available about the photos on this site than you will see in the captions.  If you wish more information about an image, please pay us a visit or contact us at the address at the bottom of this page.  If you have more information to add about any of these images, please let us know that, too.  We are particularly hopeful that you may be able to help us identify those Battle Creek photos that we mounted with headers like "unidentified" or "unknown."  We mounted those photos knowing that they were local, but would very much appreciate further identification from you, our web site users.

It brings us special pleasure to bring to you the index of our "Coller Collection."  Ross Coller worked for 47 years as a journalist in Battle Creek and spent much of his lifetime chronicling our area's past.  After his death, his family donated his notes and work to the library.  Generous funding from the Miller Foundation has allowed us to index the vast body of his work and bring that index to you online.  It is available through the Willard Library catalog "Newspaper Index" feature.

Please call us or write us a note if you have any comments or questions about our Local History Collection.

Willard Public Library
7 West Van Buren Street
Battle Creek, Michigan  49017
Richard A. Hulsey, Director

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rev. 09.30.04