BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Without giving it much thought most people probably realize that Battle Creek is the Cereal City and home to companies like Post and Kellogg. But it was also home to the early beginnings in the 1800s of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. In fact, they have quite the extensive historic village three city blocks long with 29 different buildings on the premises. From two churches, a one room school, log cabin, to their welcome center with several medical and exercise contraptions made by Dr. John Kellogg, this historic village is packed with places to visit and things to see.
We should also note that the village is open year round to all denominations and is free to visit, but donations are accepted. There's something to be said about stepping back in time to the way things were...the way we started...the way we lived. The village has been preserved well and it continues to develop and evolve thanks to director and curator Don Scherencel and his wife. Don was a bricklayer for 35 years in Coopersville before answering the call to oversee and maintain the village a few years ago.
Perhaps one of the fascinating things you'll find here is in their welcome center. A history of the famous Dr. John Kellogg who was in-charge of the old sanitarium now the federal building in Battle Creek. Kellogg also wore a white suit, walked around with a bird on his shoulder, and was credited for developing several pieces of exercise equipment that were actually used on the Titanic. All of the items are on display and are still functional, including a mechanical camel and horse, a rowing machine, and electric exerciser, and a vertical and horizontal light bath similar to today's dry saunas.
According to Scherencel, "he (Kellogg) created this to sweat the poisons out of your body. They would turn the lights on, this would heat up to about 105 degrees, and cause you to sweat those poisons out of your body. John Kellogg was big into two things, blood circulation and body cleansing and this here was to help you get your circulation going on your lower extremities.”
Churches of the day had two doors in the 1800s. One was for the men to enter, another for the women to enter. Inside...very simple seating with a non-ornateness about it taking us back to a much simpler time. The churches on the grounds are still functional and people come from all over the world to visit, hold mass, and say prayers. People from 66 different countries have visited the village. According to Scherencel, "the Adventist church in Brazil is huge. I mean it’s bigger than the Seventh Day Adventist church here in Battle Creek. And because this is where the church started, those people want to come back to their roots.”
Even their one-room schoolhouse still holds an occasional class, but their most popular exhibit, especially with the kids, is the 1800s log cabin. It looks like something from a movie set off Little House on the Prairie. Kids can play dress up and see and do all the old things from more than a century ago.
If you'd like more information on the Seventh Day Adventist Historic Village, click here. This is a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday with the kids or the family!