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Kleinstuck Preserve Timeline:

Caroline Kleinstuck

Caroline Kleinstuck. Kalamazoo Gazette
March 24, 1963
WMU Archives and Regional History
Courtesy of Matt Clysdale

  • 1885 Mr. Carl Kleinstuck purchased the farm, Braggs Nursery (later known as Kleinstuck Preserve). The pond, which was more extensive then, was known as Braggs Lake. Mr Kleinstuck used the property to mine peat and investigate the use of peat for fuel.

  • 1922 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.
  • These pictures are courtesy of Ed Ihling, grandson to Caroline and Carl Kleinstuck. They portray the area as it was back at the very end of the 1800's or the early 1900's. (click to enlarge)

    This appears to be Pauline Kleinstuck, daughter of Caroline Kleinstuck on the Kleinstuck pond This picture is facing northwest, up the valley from Kleinstuck Preserve to Saxonia and Oakland Drives.


  • 1922-1951 Dr. Leslie Kenoyer, Chairman of
    the Biology Dept. at Western Normal School
    (WMU before University status) was appointed
    supervisor to the preserve.

  • 1927 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.


Western Normal students planting trees at Kleinstuck for Arbor Day Western Normal students planting trees at Kleinstuck for Arbor Day Woman digging soil to plant trees at Kleinstuck
Western Normal students planting trees at Kleinstuck for Arbor Day

Western Normal School students planting pines at Kleinstuck Preserve for Arbor Day
WMU Archives and Regional History
Courtesy of Matt Clysdale


  • 1929 The Board of Education granted the city of Kalamazoo the right to construct an enclosed sewer line that nearly circles the entire preserve.

  • 1932 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.

  • 1939 - 1969 - Kleinstuck Preserve was designated as a Michigan State Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • 1940 Kleinstuck Preserve Committee was formed, consisting of professors from Western Normal School, Kalamazoo College, and local citizens.

  • 1940 - 1948 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.

  • 1950 Western Michigan College students cleaned up the property and planted 150 shrubs to reduce erosion and create wildlife habitats.

  • 1951- 1967 Anne Fuller of the Biology Dept. at
    Ann Fuller

    Anne Fuller
    WMU Archives and Regional History
    Courtesy of Matt Clysdale

    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.

  • 1961 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.

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

  • 1965 The YMCA was given 5.5 acres of land for a new facility adjoining Kleinstuck. This increased the recreational use of the Preserve.

  • 1967 Ray Deur was appointed chairman of Kleinstuck Preserve.

  • 1973 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).

  • 2007 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

The Life of Caroline Irene Hubbard Kleinstuck. By Caroline Bartlett Crane.


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