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.

A VIEW FROM 1939

Morning Star, May 14, 2000. pg. 23.

Last week in this column we featured the first three buildings in the 100 block of the west side of S. Superior St. which are 100 years old this year. Weíve got another photograph this week of the same stretch of buildings, taken in 1939, which we will feature this week in our Historical Notebook.

First on the far left in the Loomis Block is the Albion Bakery, a favorite place of many growing up in Albion. They used to put the rolls on trays right there up front in the window and the clerk would walk in the narrow space to retrieve the scrumptious pastries. Upstairs we see the sign of the Russell Insurance Agency of Harley W. Russell (1893-1940) which began here in 1919. Next door below is Bradfordís Barber & Beauty Shop. This was operated by Nial Bradford.

In the Sweet building we see the Sugar Bowl (no pun intended) operated by Nick Kavalaris (1898-1984). The neon Soda sign hangs out front. A native of Greece, Nick purchased the confectionery store in 1935 and operated it until the end of 1946. Upstairs was Lucy Deanís Optometry business. Next in the Perkins Block is Clement F. Wickens Appliance Store.

Of course on the corner is Van Gordenís Drug Store. It was owned by Louis C. Van Gorden (1870-1939) who purchased Homer Blairís Drug Store in April, 1912. Van Gorden had worked for many years as a traveling representative of the wholesale Michigan Drug Company, and lived in Eaton Rapids. He purchased the Palmer Montgomery Dearing home at 519 E. Michigan Avenue and moved his family here in May, 1912. Dearing of course, had just been incarcerated for his involvement in the Albion National Bank failure (January, 1912) and the family lost their home and moved out of town among many other things.

Van Gorden continued the "Rexall" brand of drugs that had been carried by his predecessor. Van Gordenís son Howell L. Van Gorden became a partner in the firm in 1923, and became sole owner in January, 1939. He ran it until 1945. It was then known as Brownridge Drugs from 1945 to 1965, and was operated by Joseph G. Brownridge.

Notice the angle parking in this photograph. This was all changed after Superior St. was re-bricked in 1940, although enforcement was delayed through World War II.


The Western side of Superior Street in 1939

Next: G.A.R. CANNON


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