Blast from the Past

Blast PastThe building to the right is the oldest wooden building in Schoolcraft. Constructed in the 1840s, it survived a devastating fire that took all the other buildings south of it. When they were rebuilt by Lewis Bell around 1896, they were constructed from brick. Schoolcraft’s post office was located here and later moved to Hayward St. Before the building was known as Norma’s Antiques it was called “Bell’s Opera House”. A stage was located on the second floor and many balls, dances, high school senior plays and operettas occurred in it. There were stores on the first floor and the public area on the second floor even saw high school basketball games until 1938. There were two posts in the middle of the floor; players dribbled around them to get to the support posts on either end to score a basket. No cars, but electric lights and either telegraph or telephone poles can be seen in the photo. The stone for the Bell Block is still at the corner of Hayward and Cass in the grass area owned by the Kalamazoo County State Bank.

Photo and content courtesy of the Schoolcraft Historical Society. If you have an old photo to share, email it to

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