Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

NORTH EATON STREET

Morning Star, January 30, 2000. pg. 11

Several weeks ago in this column we featured a photograph of the old Enco Service Station on N. Eaton St. Eaton St. has become the “main entrance” to our community, and visitors to Albion get a “first impression” of our town by what they see here. What is the “first visual impression” people have of Albion when they enter our community off I-94, and why? That can be a topic of discussion around the restaurant table this week.

Eaton St. is named after the U.S. Secretary of War (that’s what it was called back then), John Henry Eaton (1790-1856). He served in that position 1829-1834 under President Andrew Jackson, the latter years being during the time Albion was first settled. Eaton also served as a Governor of Florida, and as a Minister to Spain. Eaton St. appears on the first plat map of our community, platted by Jesse Crowell in 1836.

This week we are featuring the Town and Country Shopping Center. This was the name for the initial development of businesses on the former farmland of Dr. Ara Sharp, a local physician. Developed in the 1950s, numerous businesses located here, including Felpausch Foods, Sharps Hardware, the Starlite Drive-In, the Bank of Albion, and Grants Department Store. The influx of traffic by the exit at the new Interstate-94 when it opened in July, 1960 made this land a prime development location. Today this is the site of the K-Mart parking lot, the Fresh and Fast (formerly A & W) Restaurant, and Burger King.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present an early 1960s photograph of a vacant field (now the site of Burger King), with the Town and Country Shopping Center and the Starlite Drive-In in the distance.

Across the street can be seen the Satellite Drive-In sign, with their 15˘ hamburgers. There used to be a “Mercury” space capsule in front. When when you looked inside the viewing window you would see a hamburger, fries and drink on a plate. Just up the road was a trampoline place (it didn’t last long) where youth could jump up and down all they wanted to. Of course Albion’s answer to Jackson’s “Shoppers Fair” was the Yankee department store located in Stadium Plaza (“Yankee Stadium”, get it?) and the Cunningham Drug Store next door on the south. Today this is the site of Autozone parts store, Family Dollar, and others.

Next year (2001) North Eaton St. is due for a major overhaul, including the bridge over I-94. That project should be very interesting, indeed. I-94 north of Albion will be 40 years old this year. It was in 1959 that N. Eaton St. was widened as part of the U.S. 12 expressway bypass connection for Albion. The cement pavement we drive on in front of Felpausch and McDonalds was laid at that time, 41 years ago.


North Eaton Street

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