Few people in Kalamazoo are aware of two of the city's most interesting public art instillation, ancient looking totem and stelae along the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail.

What The Heck Are Stelae?

A Stele or stela is Greek for shaft or pillar and it is defined as a

slab used in the ancient world primarily as a grave marker but also for dedication, commemoration, and demarcation. Although the origin of the stela is unknown, a stone slab, either decorated or undecorated, was commonly used as a tombstone.

Grave markers? In Mayors' Riverfront Park?

How about the Monolith?

Maybe you're thinking of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Unlike the otherworldly movie monolith, the Kalamazoo Monolith consists of two stone legs supporting an oval, lip like, structure on top. The 'pursed lips' have a hole in the middle and one could imagine an ancient mystical knowledge where the sun might shine just right through the monolith on a certain astronomical days. Who knows? Maybe it's just a carved stone along a trail.

Why Are They In Kalamazoo?

Now that's a great question. Kalamazoo Arts has a single page about the art instillation that lists the owner as the City of Kalamazoo, but no history or backstory. Same for the Monolith. We reached out to the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo to see if they had any information about this art. And they don't. So do you? What's the story about Kalamazoo's mysterious monolith and stelae, if you have the scoop, let us know in the comment section below.

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