Kalamazoo County Michigan
Business & Mfg.
Kalamazoo, MI (Elite Theatre) (1912) - Contributed by Paul Petosky
"Kalamazoo Cold Storage"
This fine and enterprising; organization, which
conducts an enormous trade in all parts of the
United States and Canada, was founded in 1891
with a capital stock of twelve thousand dollars as
a limited corporation. The first officers were:
J. N. Stearns, president; F. C. Balch, vice-president; A. C. Balch, treasurer, and J. B. Balch.
secretary. The company erected a plant on Walbridge street, forty by eighty feet in size and
three stories high, with commodious dry warehouses for the storage of non-perishable merchandise, and ample facilities for the cold storage of
commodities of the other class. The capacity of
the establishment is sixty-five carloads and it
handles every kind of produce, being the most
extensive jobber in onions in the state. The company is the pioneer of South Haven in carload
shipments, and one of the most extensive dealers
in this sort of traffic, having shipped in one year
more than two hundred carloads, sending them
all over the country. It was the third company
started in Michigan and is now the third in the
Miagnitude of its business. In 1897 a reorganization was effected with the same capital stock but
n new directorate, the officers chosen at that time
and still serving being J. R. Balch, president, and
B. E. Pierce, secretary, treasurer and manager.
Mr. Balch was born in Allegan county, this state,
in September, 1868. He is a son of A. R. Balch, brother of the late Hon. Nathaniel A. Balch.
one of the leading lawyers and public-spirited citizens of this county, whose forensic efforts and
public services won him high renown throughout
the state and gave him a high reputation far beyond its borders. A. R. Balch, the father of the
subject of this writing, was a pioneer of Allegan
county and owned large tracts of pine land in that
county. He also lived for a number of years in
this county, but died in Allegan county in 1872.
Like his brother Nathaniel, he was prominent in
politics, and to the end of his life was a faithful
and earnest Democrat. He operated large saw
mills and carried on an extensive lumber business,
furnishing large quantities of pine lumber to the
industries in Kalamazoo. His son. J. B. Balch,
grew to manhood in Allegan county and was
educated in the public schools and at the Kalamazoo Baptist College. He entered business as a
clerk for Robert R. W. Smith & Sons, of Kalamazoo, with whom he remained two years at a
compensation of three dollars a week. Then,
after passing two years in the employ of P. W.
Henley, he became a traveling salesman for the
Busch Cattle Guard Company, through the South,
remaining with that company until the organization of the cold storage company, of which he is
now president. In 1897 he married with Miss
Mabel S. Severance, a daughter of Judge Severance. Mr. Balch has never taken an
active interest in partisan politics and has never
accepted or desired public office of any kind, being well pleased to serve his city, county, state
and country from the honorable post of private
citizenship and with earnest attention to their
best interests in every way but through political
contention. He was the candidate of the Democratic party for secretary of state in 1904, the
nomination being a surprise and unsolicited by
him. Throughout southern Michigan and the
neighboring territory he is highly respected as a
leading and representative business man and
Portrait and Biographical of Kalamazoo MI 1892
Kalamazoo, MI (Kalamazoo Stove Company) (1909) - Contributed by Paul Petosky
Plant and Community House
"World's Model Paper Mill"
Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Co.
Kalamazoo, Michigan U.S.A.
(Kalamazoo Wagon Company), with a Kalamazoo, MI
flag cancellation dated February 8, 1900 - Contributed by Paul Petosky
"Sugar Paper Company"
One of the interesting and progressive industrial
institutions of the city, with a large trade and engaged in the production of a great variety of
choice marketable products, was organized on
January it, 1901, with a capital stock of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, the stock-
holders being nearly all local men. The company
manufactures high grade sized and super calendared and machine finished book and lithograph,
catalogue. French folios and either specialties in
paper. The officers are W. S. Hodges, president and general manager, H. H. Everard, vice-
president, Frank H. Milham, secretary, and H.
P. Kauffer, ex-president of the Home Savings
Bank, treasurer. The company is but three years
old, but it has been managed with vigor and enterprise and has built up a very large trade with
patrons in all parts of the country. Mr. Hodges,
the president and manager, is a native of this
county, born near Galesburg in 1855. His parents. George S. and Mary E. (Ellis) Hodges,
were born and reared in the state of New York.
The father became a resident of this county in
1844. taking up a farm in South Comstock township, where he farmed a number of years, then
moved to Galesburg. In 1861 he enlisted in defense of the Union in Company I, Second Michigan Cavalry, and was assigned to the Army of
the Cumberland. He remained in the service until the close of the war and saw much
active field duty, participating in many important engagements, among them the battles of Franklin, December 24, 1863, Franklin, January 4, 1863, and
Mossy Creek, December 29, 1863, and the campaigns incident thereto, with other campaigns of
his branch of the service. He was mustered out
as captain of his company. Returning then to
Kalamazoo, he served two years as sheriff of the
county, and afterward engaged in the livery business. He died in 1878, leaving a widow who is
still living. W. S. Hodges was their only child.
He was educated at Galesburg and Kalamazoo,
and began life in the service of the United States
and American Express Companies, and after some
years in their employ became connected with the
Kalamazoo Paper Company in 1883. In 1887
he went with George E. Bardeen to Otsego, Allegan county, and helped to organize the Bardeen
Paper Company there. He remained with this
company until 1899. and in 1901 he united with
others in founding the Superior Paper Company,
which he has managed ever since with gratifying
and pronounced success. He is also a stock-
holder in and director of the Home Savings Bank,
the Kalamazoo Paper Box Company, and the
Kalamazoo Railroad Supply Company. Fraternally he is connected with the Masonic order in lodge,
chapter and commandery, and with the order of
Elks. In 1882 he married Miss Nettie Carmer,
a daughter of Peter and Elsie (Hall) Carmer,
early settlers of Galesburg. They have one child,
their son George C. Hodges. On the business
interests of the city and county Mr. Hodges has
had a decidedly forceful and wholesome influence, uniting in his methods an enlightened conservatism with a broad-viewed progressiveness,
using every opportunity and means to advantage
yet not carried away in chimerical or spectacular
schemes. His counsel is highly appreciated and
his energy is worthy of all emulation.
Portrait and Biographical Kalamazoo MI 1892