Kleinstuck Preserve timeline


  • Leonard G. Bragg moves to Paw Paw Co. where he opens the Bragg L.G. and Co. nursery, which features a wide variety of plants, including ornamental plants, shrubbery, trees and various fruits.


  • Bragg moves to Kalamazoo, after purchasing 160 acres from the Foster and Blanchard families. On these grounds he establishes a personal residence and the Braggs nursery, near the current location of the Kleinstuck preserve.


  • Annual Horticultural Report of 1877 is released, complimenting Bragg L.G. and Co. on their wide variety of plants, trees and fruits. These plantings that were complimented include Burning Bush and many species that are currently invasive in the Kleinstuck area.


Caroline Kleinstuck

Mrs. Caroline Kleinstuck

  • Mr. Carl Kleinstuck purchased the farm, Bragg's Nursery (later known as Kleinstuck Preserve). The pond, which was more extensive then, was known as Bragg's Lake. Mr Kleinstuck used the property to mine peat and investigate the use of peat for fuel.


  • This 48-acre property was deeded to the Michigan board of education by Mrs. Caroline Kleinstuck in memory of her husband, Mr. Carl Kleinstuck, an outdoor enthusiast. She designated that the property be used for research and education purposes.
  • In an undated letter to the state board of education, Mrs. Kleinstuck wrote, "My deceased husband, in his lifetime, had a keen desire to dedicate some land for use as a botanical garden, and it is in fulfillment of his wish that I have executed the enclosure." Also stated in the letter: "I hope the state board of education will see fit to extend the use of the premises for the purposed named.. to the Western Normal School (Western Michigan University), Kalamazoo College and other educational institutions."
  • Dr. Leslie Kenoyer, chairman of the Biology Department at Western Normal School (1922-51), was appointed supervisor to the preserve.


Western Normal School students planting pines at Kleinstuyk Preserve for Arbor Day

Western Normal School students planting pines at Kleinstuck Preserve for Arbor Day.

  • On Arbor Day 12,000 pines were planted on the barren slopes of the northeast side of the property by the entire student body of Western State Normal School. President Waldo planted the first tree.


  • The Board of Education granted the city of Kalamazoo the right to construct an enclosed sewer line that nearly circles the entire preserve.


  • Structures, including a brick overnight cabin and a rustic gate by Western Normal School staff and students, were erected but torn down by vandals.


  • E.V. Jotter from the forestry and conservation departments at the University of Michigan wrote a report on the use and development of Kleinstuck Preserve.


  • Blades Carlton was employed by Western Normal School as the first caretaker of the property. He maintained trails and fencing, opened fire lanes, built game cover and constructed a tool house.


  • LaVerne Argabright of the biology department at Western State College wrote a paper entitled, "Birds of Kleinstuck".


  • Kleinstuck Preserve was designated as a Michigan State Wildlife Sanctuary.


  • Kleinstuck Preserve Committee was formed, consisting of professors from Western Normal School, Kalamazoo College and local citizens.


  • Plans were submitted to the committee and improvements to the property were made. These included Western Michigan College biology students working with Dr. Ray Deur to build a dam to retain water levels. Girl scouts used the property for their day camps.


  • Western Michigan College students cleaned up the property and planted 150 shrubs to reduce erosion and create wildlife habitats.
  • Kalamazoo Gazette reported that "High water has improved marsh conditions for the birds at the preserve. It is reported that the Florida Gallinule, absent for many years, has returned."


  • Problems with the preserve were increasing. Vandalism, erosion problems and issues with dogs were recorded.


Ann Fuller

Ann Fuller

  • Ann Fuller of the Biology Department at Western Michigan College took over as chairman of Kleinstuck Preserve. During this time she organized clean-up and planting events, produced a soil and water conservation plan, lobbied for management funds and dealt with property issues.


  • To control some of the erosion problems, the city commission of Kalamazoo diverted a water main away from the one area with serious erosion problems.


  • Headed by Ann Fuller, students planted about 600 shrubs and plants helped to control more of the erosion problems.
  • Max Alder constructed a large number of bird houses and placed them at various places at the preserve.


  • Management problems continued at the property. Dr. VanDeventer, chair of the biology department at WMU, wrote a letter to the president of the University, Dr. Sangren, urging that the only solution to the problem would be to hire a caretaker for the property. In response, Dr. Sangren appropriated $100 a month for a student watchman, James f. Bowen.


  • A circular area of the marsh was dredged by students. Robert Humphrey of the Soil Conservation Service funded the project, stating that the changed configuration would bring more water and consequently wildlife to the preserve.
  • Ann Fuller produced a soil and water conservation plan.


  • Act 48 of the Public Acts of 1963 turned the property over to Western Michigan University specifically.


  • The YMCA was given 5.5 acres of land for a new facility adjoining Kleinstuck. This increased the recreational use of the preserve.


  • Ray Deur was appointed chairman of Kleinstuck Preserve.


  • E and J Aquatics, a Michigan water consulting firm, conducted a survey on the marsh. Physical, biological and chemical data was recorded. They concluded that the pond is following a natural succession process. (Timothy Ervin, "Aquatic Survey Report—Kleinstuck Preserve," 1973).


  • Robert Beuchler begins work with the city to investigate the cause behind dropping water levels at Kleinstuck. He finished his master's thesis on the topic.


  • A neighborhood group, the Stewards of Kleinstuck, was formed with the goal of involving the community in improving the health of the habitat at Kleinstuck. WMU has helped facilitate this group and has offered support in their activities. The group has organized field trips, educational and volunteer activities at the property.


Courtesy of WMU Library of Archives and Regional History.

"The History of Kleinstuck Preserve with Future Recommendations," 1973, by Dr. Ray Deur.

"History Through the Eyes of a Neighborhood: The Hillcrest Area Up To 1930," 1978, by Brendan G. Henehan.

"The Life of Caroline Irene Hubbard Kleinstuck" by Caroline Bartlett.

Newspaper Articles

A collection of many newspaper articles related to the Kleinstuck Preserve.

View Articles