Parchment is a small town just north of Kalamazoo. It was built to house workers at the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment plant. The town and paper plant were both established in 1909. The plant and town grew over the years until the 1970s when Parchment had over 2,000 residents. The paper plant closed in 2000. In spite of the closure, Parchment seems to be doing just fine. Its population has stabilized at around 1,800. Its homes are occupied and well maintained and its commercial spaces are filled with businesses. It is on the suburban fringe of Kalamazoo and I imagine many people who live in Parchment travel there for work. The former paper plant is ruined and being slowly demolished. It's hard to say what if any sections of the plant might be worth saving. I didn't explore the grounds. Most of what I could see from outside the fence appeared to have been built in the 1930s and more recently. I love finding purpose built towns like this that have adapted and outlived the purpose for which they were built. The town is still trying to decide what to do with the old mill and the land it occupied. And as is often the case, the residents must redefine their town now that it is no longer "Paper City".
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