Kalamazoo's downtown landscape is changing thanks to Bronson Healthcare tearing down a portion of the former Kalamazoo Gazette building to make way for expansion of hospital faculties. Fortunately, the oldest part of the Gazette building, including these creepy faces, isn't going anywhere.

The faces, which include people and animals, are gargoyles. In architectural terms, a gargoyle is a stone face that funnels water away from the roof or side of a building. Why do they have weird and sometimes creepy faces? The tradition goes back to Catholic churches in the Dark Ages,

Most of the population at this time were illiterate, and therefore images were very important to convey ideas. Many early gargoyles depicted some version of a dragon, especially in France. In addition to serving as spouts for water, the gaping mouths of these gargoyles evoked the fearsome destructiveness of these legendary beasts, reminding the laity of the need for the church's protection.

Below are some of the gargoyles and grotesques that appear on the Kalamazoo Gazette building.

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