The History of the Preserve

1830-1839: Settlers purchase land in the area. Among them is Enoch Harris, the area's first black settler. They arrive on this "Genessee Prairie" from Ohio in 1830, bringing seeds which it is said were used to plant the first apple orchard in Kalamazoo County. Harris is so respected that his neighbors often ask him to mediate property disputes, which must have been numerous and complicated in those early days. The Harrises are buried in Genessee Prairie Cemetery, at Parkview Ave and 11th St., where there is a historicalmarker dedicated to them. Below is a picture of Enoch and Deborah Harris.