How Did the Michigan Town of Climax REALLY Get Its Name?
How many jokes and titters have you had to endure when friends or family from out-of-state find out Michigan has a Climax? Yeah, the snickers will continue, but now you'll know why it has that name...and it's nothing funny, off-color or mind-blowing.
The town of Climax lies in Kalamazoo County between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, a few miles south of I-94 at the intersection of S. Main and W. Maple.
The first known white settler arrived in 1825, followed by others throughout the next decade. Judge Caleb Eldred came to the area in 1834, it ended his tiresome search for farmland. It was miles and miles of prairie, prompting Eldred's son Daniel to climb a tree and scope the area. Upon doing so, he exclaimed, "this caps the climax of everything we saw" so the community's name became known as Climax Prairie. Soon afterward, in 1835, Dan Eldred built his house, which is the oldest one still standing to this day.
When the railroad came though in 1866, the town's growth got a huge boost. By 1877, the town shortened its name to Climax.
In December 1896, the first Rural Free Delivery mail service in Michigan began right there in Climax. There is currently a monument next to the site of the old post office commemorating Climax's historic R.F.D. beginnings.
One of Climax's selling points was being the halfway mark between Chicago and Detroit and was a stop for slaves on the Underground Railroad.
Thanks to a network of railroads contributing to Kalamazoo's amazing prosperity, Climax's decline was inevitable. Well, maybe the businesses went into decline, but the town is currently larger than it ever was. Over half of the residences in the village are all original homes, adding to Climax's historical significance. A nice handful of old storefronts are still standing, as well as old schoolhouses and churches.
This is another cool old Michigan town to take a drive through and get photos/video during your MIchigan roadtrip!
To find out even more about Climax, CLICK HERE.