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Battle Creek, Michigan

Battle Creek, Michigan
City of Battle Creek
Downtown Battle Creek in late 2008
Downtown Battle Creek in late 2008
Official seal of Battle Creek, Michigan
Nickname(s): "Cereal City"[1]
Location of Battle Creek within Michigan
Location of Battle Creek within Michigan
Country United States
State Michigan
County Calhoun
Settled 1831
Incorporation 1859
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor Dave Walters[2]
 • City Manager Rebecca Fleury[3]
 • Total 43.73 sq mi (113.26 km2)
 • Land 42.61 sq mi (110.36 km2)
 • Water 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2)
Elevation 840 ft (256 m)
Population (2010)[5]
 • Total 52,347 (city proper)
 • Estimate (2012[6]) 51,911
 • Density 1,228.5/sq mi (474.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 49014-49018; 49037
Area code(s) 269
FIPS code 26-05920[7]
GNIS feature ID 0620755[8]

Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which encompasses all of Calhoun county. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 52,347, while the MSA population was 136,146.

Battle Creek, known as the "Cereal City", is the world headquarters of Kellogg Company, founded by Will Keith Kellogg in 1906, whose brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, invented cold breakfast cereal as an alternative to the traditional meat-based breakfast. It is also the founding location of Post Cereals which is now Post Foods, as well as the location of a Ralston Foods cereal factory owned by Ralcorp.[9] Until 2007 it was the home of tourist attraction Kellogg's Cereal City USA.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, was featured in the T.C. Boyle novel The Road to Wellville and the movie of the same name. The Battle Creek Sanitarium, which is now the Battle Creek Federal Center building, is still one of the tallest buildings in Battle Creek. This building is a historical marker to the city and the state of Michigan.

In 1982, voters approved merging Battle Creek Township with the city of Battle Creek, under pressure from Kellogg Company, which threatened to move its headquarters away from Battle Creek if the city and township did not merge.[10][11] Battle Creek is currently the third-largest city in Michigan by area, after Detroit and Grand Rapids.[12]


  • History and name origin 1
  • Geography 2
  • Climate 3
  • Other municipalities in the Battle Creek area 4
  • Culture 5
    • Print media 5.1
    • Radio and television 5.2
      • Radio 5.2.1
      • Television 5.2.2
    • Festivals 5.3
    • Music 5.4
    • Sports 5.5
      • Sports teams 5.5.1
      • Former sports teams 5.5.2
  • Demographics 6
    • 2010 census 6.1
    • 2000 census 6.2
  • Government 7
  • Economy 8
    • Largest Employers 8.1
  • Education 9
    • Colleges and universities 9.1
    • Public school districts 9.2
      • High schools (public) 9.2.1
      • High schools (private) 9.2.2
      • Secondary schools 9.2.3
    • Miscellaneous education 9.3
  • Points of interest 10
    • Fort Custer Army National Guard Base 10.1
  • Transportation 11
    • Railroad and Bus Lines 11.1
    • Public Transportation 11.2
    • Major highways 11.3
    • Aviation 11.4
  • Notable people 12
  • Sister cities 13
  • References in popular culture 14
  • References 15
  • External links 16

History and name origin

The name "Battle Creek" had its origin in a skirmish between a government land survey party led by Colonel John Mullett and two Native Americans. According to various accounts, while Mullett and his group were surveying an area several miles from the present city in the winter of 1823-1824, the work of the survey party was interrupted by Native Americans. Two members of the party, who remained at the camp, were attacked by two Indians, reportedly attempting to steal the party's provisions. During the fight, shots were fired from a rifle, and the two white men subdued the Indians, inflicting a serious injury to one of them. The survey party promptly left the area and did not return until June 1824, after Governor Cass had settled the issue with the Indians. Due to this incident, the nearby stream was called the Battle Creek River.[13][14][15][16][17] The river was formerly known by the Native American name of Waupakisco, to which some attribute a folk etymology for the name. By this account, the name Waupakisco or Waupokisco was a reference to an earlier battle fought between Native American tribes before the arrival of white settlers. However, Virgil J. Vogel establishes that this native term had "nothing to do with blood or battle".[13][18]

The first permanent settlements in Battle Creek Township began to be made about 1831, with most choosing to locate on the Goguac prairie, which was fertile and easily cultivated. A post office was opened in Battle Creek in 1832 under Postmaster Pollodore Hudson.[19] The first school was taught in a small log house about 1833 or 1834. Asa Langley built the first sawmill in 1837. A brick manufacturing plant, called the oldest enterprise in the township, was established in 1840 by Simon Carr, and operated until 1903. The township was established by act of the legislature in 1839.[20]

Battle Creek figured prominently in the early history of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church as the location of its first hospital, college, and location of the church's founding convention in 1863.

During the Civil War era, the city was a major stop on the Underground Railroad. It was also the chosen home of Sojourner Truth.[21]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 43.73 square miles (113.26 km2), of which 42.61 square miles (110.36 km2) is land and 1.12 square miles (2.90 km2) is water,[4] making Battle Creek the third largest city in Michigan by area, and one of only three incorporated municipalities in the state over 40 sq mi (100 km2) in size.

  • Approximately 60% of the city's land is developed. Of the undeveloped land, 38% is zoned agricultural, 26% is zoned general industrial, 17.5% is zoned residential, 16% is the Fort Custer Army National Guard Base/Industrial Park, and 2.5% is zone commercial.[22]
  • After Battle Creek Township merged into the city of Battle Creek in 1983, the city's declining population rose by nearly 18,000 new residents, but the city continues to decline in population. Prior to the merge, the city measured 18.6 square miles (48.17 km2).


Climate data for Battle Creek, Michigan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
Average high °F (°C) 31
Average low °F (°C) 17
Record low °F (°C) −19
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.1
Source: Weatherbase [23]

Other municipalities in the Battle Creek area


Print media

Radio and television

Battle Creek is served by several radio and television stations, including:


  • WTOU (930 AM), the city's heritage radio station, now broadcasting a sports format.
  • WBCK (95.3 FM), a news/talk outlet
  • WBXX (104.9 FM), "Mix 104-9", playing adult contemporary music
  • WBFN (1400 AM), featuring Christian programming and simulcasting WUFN-FM in nearby Albion
  • WNWN-FM (98.5 FM), playing country music, licensed to nearby Coldwater and based in Battle Creek
  • WFPM-LP (99.5 FM), a low power station featuring black gospel programming
  • WKFR (103.3 FM), a top 40 music station licensed to Battle Creek with studios in Kalamazoo


  • WOTV An ABC affiliate serving Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and southwestern Michigan, and also serving as a secondary ABC affiliate for Grand Rapids
  • WZPX, an ION affiliate serving all of western Michigan
  • WWMT A CBS affiliate licensed to Kalamazoo and also serving, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids and western Michigan
  • AccessVision Public-access television on Comcast channel 16 & 17. AccessVision broadcasts to all municipalities within Battle Creek, and Newton Township.[26]

WNWN-FM and WKFR are typically the top-rated radio stations in the market. The area can also receive radio and TV broadcasts from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and other nearby cities.


2010 World's Longest Breakfast Table
  • The World's Longest Breakfast Table
  • The Battle Creek Field of Flight Entertainment Festival is an air show and balloon event held yearly in Battle Creek.[27]
  • International Festival of Lights[28]


Battle Creek is home to The Music Center,[29] which serves South Central Michigan.

Battle Creek is the home to The Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, whose home is at the W.K. Kellogg Auditorium in downtown Battle Creek.[30] The symphony is currently conducted by Anne Harrigan, and is Michigan's longest-running symphony orchestra.

The Brass Band of Battle Creek is composed of 31 brass players and percussionists from around the United States and Europe. “Created in 1989 by brothers Jim and Bill Gray, podiatrists and amateur brass players from Battle Creek, MI, the BBBC has grown to cult status in Battle Creek, where BBBC concerts are regularly sold out and waiting lists are created weeks in advance.”[31]

Leilapalooza - The Leila Arboretum Music Festival is a free summer music festival held at the Leila Arboretum. Proceeds benefit the Leila Arboretum Society and Kingman Museum.[32]


Battle Creek is host annually to the Michigan High School Athletic Association team wrestling, volleyball, baseball, and softball state championships. The town receives quarterly boosts to its economy from the fans that flock there to follow their teams.[33]

Each year, Battle Creek hosts the Sandy Koufax 13S World Series, for 13-year-old baseball players.

In August, 2010, Battle Creek was host to the eighth edition of the International H.K.D Games.

Sports teams

Downtown Battle Creek

The Battle Creek Bombers are a collegiate baseball team, a member of the Northwoods League, who began play in 2007. After a last place finish in 2010, the Bombers went 47-26 in 2011 and won their first NWL championship.[34] It was the first championship in Battle Creek since 2000, when the Michigan Battle Cats won the Midwest League championship.[35] The team's home is C.O. Brown Stadium. In 2011, the team signed a 5 year lease which guarantees the teams 10 year anniversary in Battle Creek in 2017.

The Battle Creek Knights are a minor league basketball team. They were a charter member of the International Basketball League (IBL) and went 21-0 during the league's first season in 2005, winning the championship. The team's home is Kellogg Arena. After announcing in July 2009 that they would sit out the 2009 season, in October the team announced that they would return to play in the International Basketball League.[36]

The Battle Creek Revolution are a member of the All American Hockey League and began play in 2008. The team's home is Revolution Arena.

The Battle Creek Blaze is a not-for-profit, adult football team that plays NFL rules football as a member of the IFL (Interstate Football League). The Blaze organization raises funds and community awareness in the fight against cancer. They are in their sixth season of operation, and won the IFL North Division Championship in 2010.[37]

The Battle Creek Cereal Killers roller derby team began in 2011.[38]

Former sports teams

The Michigan Battle Cats/Battle Creek Yankees/Southwest Michigan Devil Rays were a Class A minor league baseball team that played in the Midwest League from 1995 through 2006. The team's home was C.O. Brown Stadium.

The Battle Creek Crunch, were a member of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League (GLIFL), that began play in 2006. They played only one season in Battle Creek before ceasing operations due to financial trouble. The team's home was Kellogg Arena.

The Battle Creek Belles, a member of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, played two seasons, 1951 and 1952, before relocating to Muskegon.


In 1982, at the insistence of the Kellogg Company, the city annexed Battle Creek Township, nearly doubling the city's population. Kellogg's even went so far as to threaten moving their headquarters if the annexation failed to occur.[39]

2010 census

As of the census[5] of 2010, there were 52,347 people, 21,118 households, and 12,898 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,228.5 inhabitants per square mile (474.3/km2). There were 24,277 housing units at an average density of 569.7 per square mile (220.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 71.7% White, 18.2% African American, 0.7% Native American, 2.4% Asian, 2.7% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.7% of the population.

There were 21,118 households of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.1% were married couples living together, 18.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.9% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 36.3 years. 26.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.9% were from 25 to 44; 25.5% were from 45 to 64; and 13.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.

As of April 2013, Battle Creek has the fifth largest Japanese national population in the State of Michigan, 358 people.[40]

2000 census

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 53,364 people, 21,348 households, and 13,363 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,246.0 per square mile (481.1/km²). There were 23,525 housing units at an average density of 549.3 per square mile (212.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.65% White, 17.80% black or African American, 1.94% Asian, 0.77% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.11% from other races, and 2.72% from two or more races. 4.64% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 21,348 households out of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.2% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,491, and the median income for a family was $43,564. Males had a median income of $36,838 versus $26,429 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,424. About 10.7% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.5% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.


The City of Battle Creek has a commission/manager form of government. Cities that follow this plan of government have an elected commission (or council) that appoints a professionally trained and experienced manager to administer the day-to-day operations of the city and to make recommendations to the city commission. Battle Creek also appoints a City Attorney, who provides legal counsel to the City Manager and City Commission.

The City Commission makes all policy decisions, including review, revision and final approval of the annual budget, which is proposed annually by the City Manager. The City Manager serves as an "at-will" employee and he works under an employment contract with the commission. All other city employees, with the exception of the City Attorney’s staff, are under the supervision of the City Manager.

There are five ward commissioners. Residents cast votes for a ward representative, who must live within the area they are representing, as well as for four at-large commissioners. These candidates may live anywhere in the city. All commissioners serve two-year terms and all terms begin and end at the same election. The next commission election will be fall of 2011.

Each November, the commission holds a special meeting to decide which commissioners serve as Mayor and Vice Mayor for the next year. The Mayor presides over the commission meetings and appoints commissioners and residents to special committees. He may also form special committees to explore community challenges or potential policies. The Vice Mayor stands in if the Mayor is unavailable.[41]


Largest Employers

According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[42] the largest employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Kellogg 2,500
2 Denso 2,085
3 Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center 1,556
4 Bronson Battle Creek 1,400
5 Battle Creek VA Medical Center 1,300
6 Michigan Air National Guard 1,127
7 Battle Creek Public Schools 1,089
8 Kellogg Community College 920
9 I I Stanley 750
10 Family Fare 700
10 Duncan Aviation 700


Colleges and universities

Public school districts

High schools (public)

High schools (private)

Secondary schools

Miscellaneous education

The Battle Creek Japanese School (バトルクリーク補習授業校 Batoru Kurīku Hoshū Jugyō Kō), a supplementary weekend Japanese school, holds its classes at the Lakeview School District building.[57]

Points of interest

Kellogg House

Fort Custer Army National Guard Base

Founded in 1917, Camp Custer, as it was then known, would over the next decades serve as a training ground from World War I until the present. Parts of the base were spun off to become the Battle Creek Veteran's Hospital, Fort Custer National Cemetery, Fort Custer Recreation Area and Fort Custer Industrial Park. This industrial Park contains more than 90 different companies.

The United States Government still owns the land, but it is now administered and managed by the state of Michigan. The base, which is still mostly undeveloped, wooded land takes up a sizable portion of Battle Creek's land area. The part of the base in Battle Creek that is now the industrial park measures 4.69 square miles (12.15 km2) in area, which is approximately 10.6% of the city's area. A much larger part of the base lies in Kalamazoo County. The adjoining W.K. Kellogg Airport is a joint civilian-Air National Guard facility.


Battle Creek is situated on Interstate 94 (I-94) midway between Detroit and Chicago.

Railroad and Bus Lines

The Battle Creek Amtrak Station serves Amtrak trains on the south end of the station and Greyhound and Indian Trails bus lines on the north side of the station. The station is located downtown at 104 Capital Avenue SW, Battle Creek, MI 49017.

Public Transportation

The Battle Creek Transit provides public transit services to Battle Creek area residents. Regular route bus service is provided throughout the City of Battle Creek.

Major highways


Kalamazoo's Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport serves Battle Creek. Locally, W. K. Kellogg Airport serves the general aviation needs of the community. The airport is also home to Western Michigan University's College of Aviation, Duncan Aviation, WACO Classic Aircraft Corp. the world's only bi-plane manufacturer,[66] and formerly, the Michigan Air National Guard's 110th Fighter Wing which flies the A-10 and O/A-10 aircraft.

Notable people

Sister cities

Battle Creek has sister cities relationships with the following cities:

Battle Creek's official Sister City is Takasaki, Japan, a relationship that is more than 25 years old. Takasaki later established Sister City relationships with Santo Andre, Brazil; Chengde, China; Pilsen, Czech Republic and, in 2006, Muntinlupa City, the Philippines. These cities take turns hosting an environmental conference each year to allow technical and administrative staff to share ideas and projects for addressing environmental concerns.

Battle Creek and Takasaki also organize junior high and high school student and teacher exchanges each summer.

References in popular culture

When the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies was first aired in the 1960s, Kellogg's was a main sponsor, and the theme song continued longer than it does in reruns today. Jed pointed to a billboard ad of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, and the singer went on: "Now come along and visit with the Clampett family, as they learn the simple pleasures in the hills of Beverly. That includes the products of the sponsor of the week, the cereals of Kellogg's, Kellogg's of Battle Creek".[67]


  1. ^ "City of Battle Creek, Michigan". City of Battle Creek, Michigan. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ Mayor and Commission
  3. ^ City Manager
  4. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  6. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  7. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  8. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  9. ^ "Ralcorp Holdings". Ralcorp Jobs. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ Audette, Rose Marie "Kellogg's Delivers Ultimatum to Battle Creek", The Multinational Monitor, November 1982, Vol. 3.11
  11. ^ History - 1891 to the Present, Battle Creek Fire Department
  12. ^ "Battle Creek". Second wave. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Peirce, Henry B. (2005) [1877]. "The City of Battle Creek". History of Calhoun county, Michigan. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Library. p. 79. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  14. ^ History of Battle Creek Township and City Calhoun County MIGenWen (Michigan Genealogy on the Web), accessed 2008-01-25
  15. ^ Romig, Walter (1986) [1973]. Michigan Place Names. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press.  
  16. ^ Battle Creek history page
  17. ^ A Thumbnail History of Battle Creek and Calhoun County, Michigan, Willard Library. Accessed 2005-01-25
  18. ^ Indian names in Michigan, origin of "Battle Creek". 
  19. ^ History and Direction of Calhoun County Accessed 2011-01-20
  20. ^ Ringes, Laura (1913). "Battle Creek Township". In Washington Gardner, History of Calhoun County, Michigan, Vol. I, pp. 169-73. The Lewis Publishing Company.
  21. ^ Heritage Battle Creek website, Accessed 8/29/2013
  22. ^ Battle Creek Comprehensive Plan, Battle Creek Planning Department, accessed June 13, 2011
  23. ^ "Weatherbase". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  24. ^ "Our history". Battle Creek Enquirer. Retrieved February 14, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Daily newspaper".  
  26. ^ Battle Creek's Community Access Television Station |
  27. ^ Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival! Voted #1 Activity in West Michigan... July 2 - 6, 2014 - Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival
  28. ^ International Festival of Lights
  29. ^ The Music Center - Schools, Choruses, and the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra
  30. ^ Battle Creek Symphony Concerts
  31. ^ "Brass Band of Battle Creek". Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  32. ^ Leilapalooza hopes to revitalize Battle Creek music scene | WMUK
  33. ^ "MHSAA baseball, softball tourney boosts local economy". June 16, 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  34. ^ "League News | Northwoods League | Get Ready for the Show! | Summer Collegiate Baseball". Northwoods League. August 19, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  35. ^  
  36. ^ "Knights will return to court", Bill Broderick, Battle Creek Enquirer, October 1, 2009, accessed October 4, 2009
  37. ^
  38. ^ Battle Creek Cereal Killers Roller Derby |
  39. ^ "Multinational Monitor, November 1982". Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  40. ^ Stone, Cal. "State's Japanese employees increasing." (Archive) Observer & Eccentric. Gannett Company. April 11, 2013. Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
  41. ^ Battle Creek government description.
  42. ^ "City of Battle Creek 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). Retrieved February 13, 2011. 
  43. ^ Battle Creek Public Schools
  44. ^ Harper Creek Community Schools - Homepage
  45. ^ "Pennfield Schools Web Site!". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ Welcome to Calhoun Community High School
  48. ^
  49. ^ "Lakeview High School Library". Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Award recipient". American Library Association. 2008. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  51. ^
  52. ^ Battle Creek Academy :: Home
  53. ^ Bedford Bible Church School - Battle Creek, Michigan - MI - School overview
  54. ^ Calhoun Christian School
  55. ^ Innovation Through Inspiration - Battle Creek Math and Science Center
  56. ^ CACC
  57. ^ "Home." Battle Creek Japanese School. Retrieved on May 7, 2014.
  58. ^ Art Center of Battle Creek - Main
  59. ^ Bailey Park and C.O. Brown Stadium - Home to the Battle Creek Bombers - Pure Michigan Travel
  60. ^ Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center
  61. ^ Fort Custer Recreation Area Detail
  62. ^ Welcome to Heritage Battle Creek
  63. ^ Kingman Museum - Natural History Museum and Planetarium in Battle Creek, MI - Inside Leila Arboretum
  64. ^ [1]
  65. ^ Willard Library
  66. ^ "Waco Classic Aircraft home page". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  67. ^ "The Beverly Hillbillies". Retrieved 2011-12-12. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Official Tourism Website
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