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Morgan Park

 

In May 1902, at the beginning of the “cereal boom” when dozens of breakfast food companies sprang up in the “health city,” the World’s Fare Food Company was organized. The company’s directors had an unusually ambitious agenda. They proposed not only to manufacture Golden Manna cereal but also to market a new industrial and residential real estate development and to manage a rheumatic sanitarium.

 

Morgan Park, as the new development was named, ran south of East Michigan Avenue along either side of the present I-194 and the Kalamazoo River. Located on the “beautiful farm of Benjamin Morgan,” the island in the mill race pond was going to be “a beauty spot and great attraction” for the future residents.

 

The proposed Rheumatic Sanitarium, a branch of an existing sanitarium in Port Huron, was to accommodate 300-400 patients. Three other companies announced plans to build in the new industrial park, including the Sanitary Refrigerator Company of Detroit. A National College of Digitalatomy (horseshoeing) was also included in the project.

 

To make it more convenient for potential buyers to view the residential lots, a new bus line was established, running from downtown Battle Creek to Morgan Park. A new railroad siding was run through the area, to serve the proposed factories.

 

In August 1902 the entrance to Morgan Park was enhanced by a “beautiful and impressive” stone arch. This “elegant piece of work” was created by local architect H. C. Scofield, who also designed the #3 and #4 fire stations. The newspaper reported that “the finishing touches have just been added to the structure and consist of a massive pillar and two beautiful consoles [which] support the two center columns.” The real estate sales office was located just beyond the archway.

 

It was not until the spring of 1904 that the 500 acres were fully platted and ready for sale to the public. The company confidently predicted that “on account of the natural beauty of situation and nearness to the city, it is expected there will be a large demand for these lots [among the] groves, palisades, riverside scenery, beautiful stretches of level or gently rolling land, valleys, glens, ravines, etc.”

 

Unfortunately, the ambitious plans for Morgan Park were never realized. The World’s Fare Company did build a cereal factory in Morgan Park, but the company went bankrupt by 1906. The remains of the factory were destroyed by fire in 1926. Neither the Rheumatic Sanitarium or the National College of Digitalatomy were ever built.

 

Today only the graceful stone arch remains to mark the location of Morgan Park, once a part of Battle Creek’s cereal history.