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.

MECHANIC'S STREET

Morning Star, February 27, 2000, pg. 2

Thereís still time to help our community in the upcoming U.S. Census by signing up to become an enumerator for April and May. Will we keep our 10,000+ population status (the 1990 count was 10,066)? That may depend upon you! Call 1-888-325-7733 to find out how to become a Census enumerator.

It was interesting to read of the committee that has been formed to survey residents in the vicinity of the closed Dalrymple School as to what they feel should be the fate and future of that property. Weíll write a story about Dalrymple School in the future in this column.

The Dalrymple School property once contained the portion of land that is now occupied by the Albion Day Care Center in the middle of Dalrymple Woods. Dalrymple Woods is all that remains of a large native forest that once extended westeward past S. Dalrymple Bouvelard (as it was once called), to approximately where the Lutheran Church is today. Through the years various portions of the Woods were removed as development occurred. It was written years ago that Dalrymple Woods was the last native forest remaining in the city of Albion (original boundaries).

Part of the development that forms the southern boundary of Dalrymple Woods is Mechanic Street, platted in August, 1890. This street was originally called "Mechanicís Street" in honor of the industrial mechanics who worked at either the local Gale Manufacturing Company or the newly formed Albion Malleable Iron Company. Construction of new homes on Mechanicís Street began in September, 1890, and many of them are still in existence today. This includes the house of yours truly which was constructed circa 1893 when the address was known as 301 Mechanic St. The original street name was one of just two in town that ended with an "apostrophe-s" or "s-apostrophe," the other being Hannahsí Street.

Mechanicís Street was originally part of the property of Samuel V. Irwin, president of the First National Bank of Albion. He died in February 1890, and his widow and son began selling off some family property for development. The area was first nicknamed "Oklahoma" by local residents because the long street and narrow block (in comparison with nearby blocks) resembled the Oklahoma panhandle. When the original Albion post office building of Jesse Crowell was moved here in 1891 from downtown, a local news article stated that it was being moved to "Oklahoma." That house still sits near the top of Mechanic Street today.

New trees were planted over the next decade, and today these same trees are those sugar maples which are now decaying along the street. A cement sidewalk was laid on both sides of Mechanic Street by contractor George E. Dean in 1901, and remained until recent years when it was replaced. The names of streets were even impressed in the sidewalk at intersections, a custom throughout Albion in the early 20th century.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a June, 1890 drawing of the area around Dalrymple Woods and Mechanic Street. This is taken from the 1890 "Birdís Eye View of Albion" by artist Clemens J. Pauli. Notice how vast was the area this forest once covered. All that remains today is the extreme right-hand portion. The bare area in the foreground is how Mechanic Street looked two months prior to its being platted.


* Photo Credit Information Below

Bird's Eye View showing Mechanic's Street

Next: THE FLOOD OF 1908


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* Photo Credit Information: Images with this code are from the
"Albion Historical Society Collection / Local History Room / Albion Public Library Collection"