SMALLTOWN MICHIGAN: Kalamo, Home of the Largest Tree in Michigan
The little town of Kalamo sits quietly alongside Ionia Road, between Kalamo Road and Carlisle Highway. It's considered an unincorporated community, resting in the middle of Kalamo Township.
The first patches of land in Kalamo Township were purchased as far back as 1835. The following year, the first log cabin in town was built by P.S. Spaulding.
After building the cabin, Spaulding traveled to retrieve his family; but in his absence, another settler, Martin Leach, came to the area and moved himself and his family into Spaulding’s home. Unfortunately for Spaulding, a man wasn’t considered “settled” unless his family was with him, so Leach proclaimed himself the first settler in Kalamo.
Kalamo’s first apple orchard was planted in 1837 by Hiram Bowen, which soon supplied the township with fruit.
By 1895, downtown Kalamo had at least eight businesses on the west side of Ionia Road, along with the church and cemetery on the north of town and the one-room schoolhouse south of town. Most of the original businesses are gone, including an old grocery store owned by Albertus P. Swift. The church, cemetery and schoolhouse are all still there.
One of Kalamo's claims to fame is the largest tree ever grown in Eaton County and possibly the largest in the whole state of Michigan. It was a huge sycamore, 17 feet in diameter and hollow throughout most of it's length.
Kalamo is a sleepy little town; no restaurants, gas stations or grocery stores, but plenty of historic Michigan atmosphere for you to enjoy and soak up.
Put Kalamo on your Michigan roadtrip itinerary...and visit more of these Michigan small towns. You're missing a huge chapter of our state if you don't!
As always, if you discover any abandoned structures, seek permission before entering to protect yourself. Treat these places with courtesy and respect...don't ruin it for others!
Use the highways for work...take the backroads for pleasure!