Kalamazoo experienced a dramatic transformation during the first decades of the 20th century. Its factories churned out a wide variety of products, and the downtown area was being rapidly transformed by the addition of new skyscraper office buildings, hotels, department stores, theaters, parks, and government buildings. These turn-of-the-century developments coincided with the popularity of picture postcards. Not only did postcards offer a convenient way to send brief messages across the country, they also provided a means to show off the city and its landmarks. When viewed today, they offer a valuable record of the city's built environment.