Cereal City Celebrates Contemporary History

Local history buff Kurt Thornton has lived in Battle Creek his entire life. Through the lens of more than 160 images from his family's collection, the author captured his hometown's progress from the 1950s to present day in Battle Creek.

Local history buff Kurt Thornton has lived in Battle Creek his entire life. Through the lens of more than 160 images from his family's collection, the author captured his hometown's progress from the 1950s to present day in Battle Creek, the latest addition to Arcadia Publishing's new Images of Modern America series.


"I'm hoping that this book will capture a slice of what it was like to live in Battle Creek in the late twentieth and early twenty first century," Thornton said. "This was a transitional time that saw the demolition of the old and construction of the new. Our community is constantly transforming itself into what I hope is a better and brighter future."


In the 1960s, Battle Creek was an industrial hub and earned its title as the "Cereal City" since it was home to the area's largest employers, the breakfast food companies of Ralston Foods, the Kellogg Company, and the Post division of General Foods. As these long-established businesses began to downsize, automate, and relocate, the community met the new economic and social challenges by developing other aspects of the community. These changes, documented through the Thornton family's collection, continue to guide the Midwestern community into the present.


"As Battle Creek moves forward, new and innovative ideas are proposed, discussed, and sometimes initiated," Thornton said in his book introduction. "Some are successful, and some are not; the important thing is that the community continues to move forward."


Highlights of Battle Creek include:
• Many images used were from the author's personal photo collection

• Memories of various moments in the city's recent past

• Images from the collection of local historian Francis Thornton

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or online.