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.

MAHER PLANING MILL

Morning Star, November 26, 2000, pg. 3.

In the September 24 issue we mentioned that the Hurley Block on N. Superior St. is 100 years old this year, and that it replaced the old Maher Planing Mill building. The firm was a major source for windows and sashes, doors, lumber, and related items in Albion in the late 19th century. If your house was built before 1888, chances are some of the materials came from the Maher operation. George Maher (1823-1896) came to Albion from Concord in 1847, and began his lumber and trade here.

George Maher was also a contractor, and built such buildings as the Callahan Block (the building presently housing Subway in downtown Albion) in 1868, Central High School in 1872, and the adjoining wings of the school in 1885. He also built the present St. James Episcopal Church, and numerous houses in town. The last brick house Maher constructed was at 611 N. Superior St. on the southwest corner of N. Superior and W. Pine Sts., which is still standing today. For many years it was the home of Albionís 1917-1920 Mayor E. Floyd Hoaglin. You can still see an original decorative oval Maher window in front.

Maher lived on E. Michigan Avenue on what became the site of the Parker Inn. When the Inn was built in 1925-26, his former house was cut in half and moved to 314 Burr Oak St. to become an apartment house where it remains today.

Maherís location in downtown Albion was in an old warehouse building that had been erected by Jesse Crowell, and was one of the landmarks of Albionís early history. It was demolished in 1900 to make way for the Hurley Block which still stands on the site today. In its heyday however, Maherís Planing Mill produced hundreds of doors, sashes and blinds made of Michigan white pine lumber. The finished products were shipped by rail car to New York. Some even were shipped to England by ship for use in homes there.

Workers of all ages participated in the production. Adult workers were paid $2.00 for 10 hours of work, but minors doing the same work received $1.25. Mr. Maher scaled back his operations after the Gale Manufacturing Company building on N. Albion St. was built in 1888 (several of his workers quit to work at the Gale) and subsequently sold his machinery. The building was used for storage in the 1890s, and even housed the old "Alert 1" fire pumper of Albionís first fire department.

From our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of the Maher building on N. Superior St., demolished in 1900. A reminder: thereís still time to ponder over several of my Albion history books and materials, and books by other people, too. These are available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce as possible Christmas gifts for your relatives and friends. Give them something they wonít forget this year.


Maher Building

Next: PAVING THE WAY FOR A SUPERIOR FUTURE


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