This small (.88 acre) city park is located on the southwest corner of Woods Lake and is one of five city-owned “mini-parks” in our neighborhood, all designated for passive use.
Its primary amenity is a small dock that provides public access to Woods Lake. The dock also provides opportunities for passive recreational activities such as fishing, ice skating, and enjoying the plants and wildlife in the adjacent natural area.
You are standing on the grounds of the former Oakwood Park’s (“Kalamazoo’s Coney Island”) wooden roller coaster! From 1907 until 1924, Oakwood Park provided leisure and entertainment opportunities for sometimes more than 15,000 people per day, including rides, concerts, dances, a shooting gallery, balloon ascensions, and Chautauqua assemblies.
OF SPECIAL NOTE: The WALK Urban Nature Route mirrors some of the grounds of the Potawatomi Tribe Reservation.
When European settlers arrived in the area that was to become Kalamazoo County, the land was occupied by the Potawatomi Tribe, a branch of the greater Algonquin Peoples.
The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) is part of the historic Three Fires Confederacy, an alliance of the Pottawatomi (Bodewadmi), Ottawa (Odawa) and Chippewa (Ojibwe). Tribal Nations in the Great Lakes region are also known as the Neshnibek, or original people. Learn more about the history of the Gun Lake Tribe HERE.
The original boundaries of the 19th century Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Pottawatomi reservation covers nine square miles. Below is a map of the reservation along with a rough guide as to where present-day roads follow its borders