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Parchment, Michigan is adjacent to Kalamazoo, which is to the south and southeast. Cooper Township borders Parchment to the north. Otherwise, the city is mostly surrounded by Kalamazoo Township, in Kalamazoo County.

The Kalamazoo River forms the city's western boundaries.

Besides Kalamazoo, other cities and villages within twenty miles of Parchment include Richland, Galesburg, Plainwell, Portage, Augusta, Otsego, Vicksburg, Martin, Schoolcraft, Mattawan, Springfield, and Climax. Riverview drive transverses the city north to south, connecting it to the city of Kalamazoo.

One of Michigan's newer cities, Parchment was founded as a planned paper company town in 1909 after Jacob (Uncle Jake) Kindleberger opened the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company in an abandoned sugar beet factory on the banks of the Kalamazoo River. When the KVP Company first opened, mill workers lived in tents, while the Kindleberger family occupied the old office section of the plant.

Acquiring most of the land that currently makes up the city, the KVP Company sold lots to mill workers and their families at low prices, with Kindleberger personally assisting in most of the building projects within the community.

Parchment was incorporated as a village in 1931. Throughout most of the 1930s, the KVP Company bore most of the expenses for the village. In the latter part of the 1930s, however, largely due to the depression, it became necessary for the village to incorporate as a city in order to find additional sources of revenue. Parchment became a city in 1939, after which the municipal government began taking over many of the services previously provided by the mill.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the KVP Company employed more than 1,700 people, and other businesses also opened in Parchment, such as Hercules Powder Company, which produced chemicals used by the paper industry.

In 1960, the KVP Company merged with the Sutherland Paper Company, which was acquired by the Brown Company in 1966, and the James River Corporation in 1980. The last company to manufacture paper in Parchment was Crown-Vantage, which owned the mill from 1995 to 2000.

The closure of the paper mill was a major blow to the city's economy and things didn't improve when fluorosurfactant (PFAS) contamination was detected in the city's drinking water. Samples found that the PFAS contamination was more than twenty times the EPA limit. Bottled water was furnished to residents, while the city connected its water system to that of neighboring Kalamazoo. It is believed that the source of the contamination was an 80-acre landfill along the Kalamazoo River, which was the former home of the paper mill, as PFAS was used in the paper manufacturing process.

The Parchment Public School system currently includes a high school (9-12), a middle school (6-8), two K-3 elementary schools, a 4-5 elementary school, a PK facility, and an alternative school (6-12). Until 1959, Parchment high school students attended Kalamazoo Central High School, but Parchment built its own high school after the Kalamazoo Public School District began taking steps to annex Parchment to its district.

Parchment currently has a population of approximately 1,800. Its peak population was 2,027 in 1970.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the city of Parchment, Michigan. Online resources for the city government and any other government entities located within the city are appropriate for this category, along with local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.



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