Why is Battle Creek called Cereal City?
In 1894, the Kellogg brothers ran a world-famous health spa called the Sanitarium. As Seventh-day Adventists, they needed a meatless food that was also easy to eat (the story goes that the zwieback bread they served broke one woman’s dentures).
By accident, they discovered a way to make grain into light, crispy flakes. It was a big hit. While Dr. Kellogg continued to run the Sanitarium, W.K. Kellogg started the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co.
A patient at the Sanitarium, C.W. Post, also started his own breakfast company and soon there were more than 100 cereal producers registered in Battle Creek: Everyone knew that to get the best cereal, it had to have “Battle Creek” on the box.
Out of all of those cereal companies, only two remain here: Post Consumer Brands and Kellogg Co.
Battle Creek is still the Cereal City, though. This is where C.W. Post and the Kellogg brothers are buried. It was in Battle Creek where Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day invented Rice Krispy Treats and Vernon J. Herzing came up with Honey Bunches of Oats.
When the wind blows from the direction of the Post factory, the city smells like Fruity Pebbles.
Every year, we celebrate the spirit of Cereal City with the Cereal Festival on the second Saturday of June. Grab some free cereal and sit down with us at the World’s Longest Breakfast Table.
Are there cereal factory tours?
Many visitors remember the ice cream served at the end of the Kellogg Tour. The tours were discontinued in the 1980s, though, so if you want cereal-inspired ice cream you’ll have to go to somewhere like True North.
To learn more about the history of cereal, stop by the Cereal History Exhibit at the Battle Creek Welcome Center.
Who is Sojourner Truth?
Sojourner Truth was a woman of extraordinary abilities. She escaped slavery in her 30s, but had to leave most of her family behind. When her son was illegally sold to a plantation in Alabama from New York, Truth found a lawyer and successfully sued for the freedom of her son. She was the first Black woman to win against a white man in court.
In her 40s, she started speaking out in public for equal rights. She chose the name “Sojourner Truth” for herself. She used her words to fight for abolition and women’s suffrage. Her autobiography, dictated to a writer because Truth had never learned to read or write, was a bestseller.
It was the 1850s when Truth joined her daughters in Battle Creek. The next decade would bring a Civil War and then the work of helping African Americans find employment after emancipation.
Truth returned to Battle Creek and died in 1883. She’s buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.
There is a 12-foot-high statue of Sojourner Truth in Monument Park, downtown Battle Creek.
Where can I buy souvenirs?
If you’re looking for postcards, T-shirts that commemorate your visit or maybe Michigan-shaped Christmas ornaments, we recommend these three stores:
The Battle Creek Welcome Center
Address: 34 W. Jackson St., Suite 1A. Battle Creek, MI
A good place to start any adventure in Calhoun County. Our informed staff can help answer questions or you can pick up guides to the fun things to do around the area. The store has super-soft T-shirts, hats, postcards, mugs, magnets and Kellogg memorabilia. Don’t forget to take a photo with Tony the Tiger!
Address: 112 W. Michigan Ave., Marshall
Living MI features a lot of goods made in Michigan. Celebrate Lake Life or pick up items that show off Marshall’s iconic Brooks Memorial Fountain. It’s a cute gift store that supports independent makers. Meet the owner here.
Address: 10 S. Superior St. #2135, Albion
Know a student at Albion College? Pure Albion is a great place to buy Albion College attire, such as hats and sweatshirts. Or customize your water bottle and laptop with stickers that celebrate Albion (our favorite is the hiking turtle). There are also items made by local artists.
Are those black squirrels?
Visit any park in Battle Creek, and you’ll likely see a flash of fluffy tail as a black squirrel runs by. These animals can be found everywhere, thanks to Dr. Kellogg.
While the squirrels around here have black fur, they are technically grey squirrels. According to an article in the Battle Creek Enquirer from 1915, Dr. Kellogg imported 300 grey squirrels.
He told the newspaper he had fond memories of these squirrels from his youth and wanted to restore them to Battle Creek.
The newspaper said “if they are protected and fed they will become as tame here as they are in Ann Arbor and the Detroit and Chicago parks where they are never molested and are common pets.”
Tell that to the locals who have squirrels in their bird feeders.