Some names are just too perfect-sounding to be true. Like Pleasantville, for instance, which sounds like it's a made-up section of Disneyland when it's actually a real village in Westchester County, N.Y. "Battle Creek" sounds like it's tailor-made for the new Vince Gilligan/David Shore show about mismatched law enforcement officers. If you break it down, it's got "Battle" — as in, Det. Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) and Special Agent Milton Chamberlain (Josh Duhamel) will battle crime, and also each other with their opposite approaches to crime-fighting. But it's also got the word "Creek" in there, which shows that there's still some kind of small-town heart to it all (a la Dawson's Creek). So, did they fabricate the name just for the show? Or is Battle Creek a real place?
Oh, it's real, all right. Detroit may get all of the pop culture love — it is the home of Robocop, after all — but Battle Creek is also nestled in Michigan, located between Detroit and Chicago. It's not one of the state's biggest cities, but it's got a history all its own. Here, a totally not-insider's view of things — other than this new TV show — that Battle Creek, Mich. is known for.
Battle Creek is nicknamed "The Cereal City." Kellogg has its corporate world headquarters there, and Post Cereal was founded there, too. (In fact, C.W. Post was once a patient in Dr. John Harvey Kellogg's world-renowned Battle Creek Sanitarium before either of them went on to become cereal magnates.) So this one magical town is responsible for bringing the world Frosted Flakes, Pop-Tarts, Cocoa Pebbles, and Honey Bunches of Oats. It can't be all that bad, can it? Apparently not; the city even hosted a Cereal Festival, complete with world's longest breakfast table, in the summer.
A Kickass Activist
Kellogg and Post may have a run for their money when it comes to naming the most famous resident of Battle Creek. Sojourner Truth, the abolitionist and women's rights advocate, lived in the city from 1857 until her death in 1883. She's buried (along with many other of the Battle Creek luminaries) in the city's Oakhill Cemetery. Battle Creek dedicated a 12-foot-tall statue of Sojourner Truth as a monument in 1999 (and not a moment too soon).
Overdoing It At Christmas
Remember the Griswold house in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? Yeah, all of downtown Battle Creek is like that. The International Festival of Lights illuminates the town during the season; the highlight last year was a "12 Days of Christmas" display on the Kellogg HQ grounds (of course). If Battle Creek's Detective Agnew and Special Agent Chamberlain can't find a way to like each other amidst a winter wonderland of holiday lights — or after eating boxes of sugary Pop-Tarts — I don't know what will be able to help them.
Images: Cliff Lipson/CBS; Dave Melges/Flickr