- Early Beginnings
- Additions and Improvements
- The Street in The Park
- Awards and Honors
- Frank Manzullo’s Contribution
- Garden Plans
- The Park Today
From this parcel the city purchased in 1886 the first piece of what became Crane Park, and used it for a gravel pit. Edgar A. Crane, a prominent lawyer whose lovely home still stands on Crane Avenue, above the park, willed ten adjacent acres to the city in 1911. A few years later the city purchased additional acreage from Crane’s estate. Presumably, the park was named in his honor. He was of no known relationship to Caroline Bartlett Crane, who designed Everyman’s House, which is located directly across Westnedge Avenue from the park.
In the summer of 1915, the City Council approved a recommendation from the Parks & Boulevard Commission that the first parcel be formally attached to the other two, and thus was born Crane Park. Gradually improvements began to be made. The area was leveled out, grass was seeded, trees and shrubs were planted, and walks and driveways were constructed. During the mid to late 1930’s, the park benefited from the Depression in the form of several WPA projects that poured thousands of dollars and hours of labor into adding rock walls and terraces, further filling in some low places, adding additional brick roads, walkways and some tennis courts, and constructing a comfort station and small tool house (both later demolished).
The L-shaped brick road that runs from Westnedge to Grandview, bisecting the park, has a history all its own. For decades it was known as Dingley Road, after Edward Dingley who managed the Kalamazoo Telegraph and lived in the Heydenburk house for a few years. About 1970 James Morren built a home just east of the Heydenburk house, and in 1979 or 1980, Dingley Road was renamed Betsey-Ann Place in honor of Mrs. Morren. Sometime later, after the Morrens sold the property, the road was again renamed, and is now known as Summit Place.
In 1942 the Michigan Horticulture Society gave its annual award for landscape gardening to Crane Park. In the 1940’s the park drew hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the country to admire its gorgeous gardens. How did it go from gravel pit to glory?
In 1939 the city hired gardener Frank Manzullo, a man who loved flowers and hated weeds. He was so passionate about his profession that he sometimes gardened through the night in the summertime to avoid the heat. It is not surprising, then, that the Sicilian immigrant, who had tended Chicago’s Lincoln Park and gardened for the Upjohn Company, should have brought Crane Park to its high point.
Manzullo, parks superintendent B. LeRoy Gilbert and Gilbert’s assistant Nicholas Kik, designed the gardens using native plants to show how local homeowners might landscape their yards. All the gardens were intended to fit on a normal 60-foot-wide lot occupied by most city homes. The formal west garden with its reflecting pool at the south end and the informal east garden, demonstrating the use of annuals and edging materials, glowed with colorful petunias, lobelia, verbena, snapdragons, alyssum, heliotrope, marigolds, and many other varieties. During World War II, Manzullo maintained a “Victory Garden” in the park. The residents of the Kalamazoo Children’s Home dined in splendor on the carrots, onions, chard, tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, and other vegetables that he grew there.
Manzullo left the city’s employ in the 1950’s to garden for several prominent local families. The gardens in the park were maintained at his standards for some years after his departure, but the pressure of shrinking budgets eventually forced the city to shrink the gardens as well. In 1982 the city’s attempt to bulldoze shrubs and perennials created a flap among interested citizens that resulted in the formation of a volunteer committee of neighbors, garden club members and other friends who continue to participate in maintaining the park. While it might have a few more weeds than Frank Manzullo would have tolerated, the volunteers have once again made Crane Park a serene and lovely place in which to pass a pleasant summer afternoon. Written by Catherine Larson, Kalamazoo Public Library staff, August 2004, with a tip of the hat to Pamela O’Connor for her research on the park and for helping us to identify some of our photographs of it.
Crane Park [1829 - 1899] S Westnedge Ave Kalamazoo MI 49008. 1 Reviews (269) 337-8191. Menu & Reservations Make Reservations . Order Online Tickets ...
- (269) 337-8191
- [1829-1899] S Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, 49008, MI
Kalamazoo, MI 49048 From Business: Be careful using there crane service. We set up a crane for a project in Vicksburg, MI. I was told $195 per hour but billed $855.00 for the 30 mins they where on…
Crane Park Kalamazoo, MI 49048 Map · Phone number
- Kalamazoo, 49048, MI
Crane Park. Michigan (269) 337-8191. Map Things To Do. Overview. Have a great time at this park! Some of the amenities include: Drinking Fountain, Non-Motorized ...
Natalie Patchell examines of the history and transformation of Crane Park in the Westnedge Hill neighborhood from an 1880s gravel pit to the park it is today with beautifully designed gardens. Presented at Kalamazoo Public Library as part of a series of programs honoring the diversity and history of Kalamazoo’s neighborhoods. Recorded 04/30/2015
Crane Park The park has flower gardens, weddings, tennis courts and an old stone fort in the woods to the north. ... Nearby cities: Kalamazoo, Michigan, Battle Creek ...
Crane Park Preservation, Inc. is a Michigan Domestic Non-Profit Corporation filed on April 4, 2007. The company's filing status is listed as Automatic Dissolution and its File Number is 70039V. The Registered Agent on file for this company is Richard Schau and is located at 2733 Cloyster Court, Kalamazoo, MI 49008.
- Michigan (MI)
2339 Crane Ave , Kalamazoo, MI 49001-3604 is currently not for sale. The 1,782 sq. ft. single-family home is a 3 bed, 2.0 bath property. This home was built in 1916 and last sold on 11/7/2017 for $133,000. View more property details, sales history and Zestimate data on Zillow.
2329 Crane Ave , Kalamazoo, MI 49001-3604 is currently not for sale. The 2,138 sq. ft. single-family home is a 3 bed, 2.5 bath property. This home was built in 1926 and last sold on 7/3/2012 for $200,000.