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.

HARRINGTON CEMETERY URN

Morning Star, April 23, 2000 pg. 3.

It certainly was sad to see the theft (again) of the numerous antique cast-iron cemetery urns in Riverside Cemetery. The same thing happened about a year ago and apparently the same thieves went in for "seconds." Money appears to be the motive, rather than destruction which occurred several years ago just before the Memorial Day weekend when the Gale family lot statue named "Flora" was destroyed.

Not only are there antique urns in Riverside Cemetery, but antique markers also. Various organizations had flag markers made, such as the Grand Army of the Republic, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Gleaners, Masonic Orders, and others. These are found throughout the cemetery for easy pickin’s. There used to be a fence that surrounded Riverside Cemetery 100 years ago (there are historical photographs of it). Perhaps it is time for a replacement fence to be erected to keep live people from getting in. Otherwise, look for another "harvesting" of these urns at this time next year.

One historic urn that was recently taken was that of Albion Public Schools Superintendent Donald Harrington (1874-1961), who served as superintendent from 1919 to 1939. After retiring in June 1939, Harrington continued to live in Albion and remained active in community affairs. He was on the city library board from 1919 to 1932. He was an active member of the local Rotary Club, and in 1952 was named its Man of the Year. During WWII Harrington served as chief clerk of the Albion Office of Price Administration. In 1952 he was elected as Justice of the Peace, and served until 1957. Harrington was also very active in the local Boy Scout movement, and went on scout hikes well into his ‘70s. It was in 1957 that Harrington Elementary School was named in his honor.

This writer featured Harrington’s gravesite at his 1994 Riverside Cemetery tour. At that time we took a photograph of yours truly standing next to this urn. From our Historical Notebook we present this photograph showing the Harrington urn that was recently stolen. The urn had a small plaque that read something like "Presented by the school children of Albion in memory of a beloved teacher." Perhaps funds could be raised for a replacement urn.

This large urn, like the others, is probably being prepared right now for some posh antique store in upstate New York or a not so posh one in New Jersey along a two-lane state highway. No matter where, it will no doubt bear a high price tag. We know our Albion citizens like to travel. If you come across a flea market or dealer that has an unusually high number of antique flower urns for sale, or of some turn up at Shipshewana this summer, give the Albion Public Safety Department a call at (517) 629-3933. Clip this article out and take it with you on your vacation this summer for easy reference.


Frank showing us the Harrington Urn

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