Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Calhoun county. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 53,364.
Battle Creek, known as the "Cereal City", is the world headquarters of Kellogg Company, founded by Will Keith Kellogg in 1906, whose brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, invented cold breakfast cereal as an alternative to the traditional meat-based breakfast. It is also the home of Post Cereals, which was part of General Foods Corporation at one time, and is now part of Kraft Foods.
In 1982, voters approved merging Battle Creek Township with the city of Battle Creek, under pressure from Kellogg Company, which threatened to move its headquarters away from Battle Creek if the city and township did not merge.
According to popular and commonly accepted accounts, the name "Battle Creek" had its origin in a skirmish between a government land survey party led by Colonel John Mullett and two Indians. According to various accounts, while Mullett and his group were surveying an area several miles from the present city in the winter of 1823-1824, the work of survey party was interrupted by Native Americans. Two members of the party, who remained at the camp, were attacked by two Indians, reportedly attempting to steal the party's provisions. During the fight, shots were fired from a rifle, and the two white men subdued the Indians, inflicting a serious injury to one of the them. The survey party promptly left the area and did not return until June 1824, after Governor Cass had settled the issue with the Indians. Due to this incident, the nearby stream was called the Battle Creek River. The river was formerly known by the Native American name of Waupakisco, to which some attribute a folk etymology for the name. By this account, the name Waupakisco or Waupokisco was a reference to an earlier battle fought between Native American tribes before the arrival of white settlers. However, Virgil J. Vogel establishes that this native term had "nothing to do with blood or battle".
The Battle Creek Knights are a charter member of the International Basketball League (IBL). They went 21-0 during the league's first season in 2005 and won the championship. The team's home is Kellogg Arena.
The Battle Creek Blaze is a not-for-profit semi-professional football team that plays traditional American football (NFL rules) and is a member of the USFA. The team benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation as well earns funds to promote cancer awareness.
Former Sports Teams
The Michigan Battle Cats/Battle Creek Yankees/Southwest Michigan Devil Rays were a Class A minor league baseball team that played in the Midwest League through 2006. The team's home was C.O. Brown Stadium.
The Battle Creek Crunch, were a member of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League (GLIFL),that began play in 2006. They played only one season in Battle Creek before ceasing operations due to financial trouble. The team's home was Kellogg Arena.
There were 21,348 households out of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.2% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.
In 1982 at the insistence of the Kellogg Company, the city annexed Battle Creek Township, nearly doubling the city's population. Kellogg's even went so far as to threaten moving their headquarters if the annexation failed to occur.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,491, and the median income for a family was $43,564. Males had a median income of $36,838 versus $26,429 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,424. About 10.7% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.5% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.
The City Commission makes all policy decisions, including review, revision and final approval of the annual budget, which is proposed annually by the City Manager. The City Manager serves as an "at-will" employee and he works under an employment contract with the commission. All other city employees, with the exception of the City Attorney’s staff, are under the supervision of the City Manager.
There are five ward commissioners. Residents cast votes for a ward representative, who must live within the area they are representing, as well as for four at-large commissioners. These candidates may live anywhere in the city. All commissioners serve two-year terms and all terms begin and end at the same election. The next commission election will be fall of 2009.
Each November, the commission holds a special meeting to decide which commissioners serve as Mayor and Vice Mayor for the next year. The Mayor presides over the commission meetings and appoints commissioners and residents to special committees. He may also form special committees to explore community challenges or potential policies. The Vice Mayor stands in if the Mayor is unavailable.
Kalamazoo's Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport serves Battle Creek. Locally, W. K. Kellogg Regional Airport serves the general aviation needs of the community. The airport is also home to Western Michigan University's College of Aviation and the Michigan Air National Guard's 110th Fighter Wing which flies the A-10 and O/A-10 aircraft.
Battle Creek's official Sister City is Takasaki, Japan, a relationship that is more than 25 years old. Takasaki later established Sister City relationships with Santo Andre, Brazil; Chengde, China; Pilsen, Czech Republic and, in 2006, Muntinlupa City, the Philippines. These cities take turns hosting an environmental conference each year to allow technical and administrative staff to share ideas and projects for addressing environmental concerns.
Battle Creek and Takasaki also organize junior high and high school student and teacher exchanges each summer.