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.


Morning Star, April 21, 2002, pg. 13

This past winter Michigan History magazine published a special issue dedicated exclusively about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In it was an article about Daniel and Lucena Brockway who settled on the Keweenaw (“rabbit ear”) peninsula in 1843. Geographically, Brockway mountain at Copper Harbor is named after Daniel. The article also mentions Daniel’s oldest brother Rev. William H. Brockway (1813-1891) who worked with Methodist Indian missions in the UP in the 1830s and 1840s. Rev. Brockway moved to Albion and served as the official agent for Albion College for many years. William erected several buildings in downtown Albion and the land where the Albion College athletic field sits today as well as Victory Park was once part of his property holdings here. The article notes that Daniel lived here in Albion briefly during 1855-56 due to health reasons of his wife.

There is another “Albion connection” however with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. That’s because there is another Albion! It is located just south of Calumet and west of Laurium. The origins of this Albion is of course connected to the copper mining industry there. The Albion Mining Company operated a mine in the UP Albion in the late 19th century, and a small community named Albion Location subsequently sprang up. Perhaps the name “Albion” might have been chosen because of the connection of the Brockways to our Albion. Although the mine was closed, the community remained and appeared “on the maps” through the 1960s as Albion. Sometime in the 1950s before zip codes were invented, one of my neighbors purchased some furniture which was shipped from the factory by mistake to the UP Albion instead of our Albion before the error was discovered.

From 1902 until 1932 there was an electric interurban line operated by the Houghton County Traction Company. Albion served as a junction transfer station for people going three different directions. The “Albion Streetcar Station” was built in 1902, and it was surrounded by a triangle of tracks. It was operated by August Buralli, who made and sold ice cream (Peninsula brand), and sold confectionery and tobaccos from the site. Behind it was the Albion schoolhouse which burned in the late 1920s.

After the streetcar line folded, the Albion Station building became a neighborhood grocery/candy store from 1932 to 1978. In 1978 it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Dana and another couple and turned into an old bottle shop. It was expanded into a museum in 1979 and into a glass blowing shop in 1982. It still operates today. When planning your summer vacation this year, why not visit “the other Albion” as part of your itinerary? The address: Albion Station Old Bottle Shop and Lake Superior Glass Works, 98 Rockland St., Calumet, MI 49913. (906) 337-1263. Hours are 9 to 4 daily. Today, Mr. Dana serves as the sole proprietor and glass blower. He is also president of the Coppertown USA preservation group that operates a mining museum in Calumet, and was an officer of the Keweenaw County Historical Society for many years.

Here is where the irony begins. Mr. Dana attended our Albion College from 1961 to 1963 and played football for the Albion College Britons! He wrote me that Morley Fraser and Fritz Shurmur were his coaches back then. Furthermore, Mr. Dana purchased a house in the Albion-Calumet area and in the attic he found Albion College memorabilia from the early 1920s, showing that a family member from some previous owner had attended Albion College and belonged to the same fraternity that he had! Found were copies of the Albion College Pleiad from 1920 and 1921, a 1920 picture of the ATO Christmas party, and a 1920-21 student handbook. Living in the UP had its advantages. The December 22, 1920 Pleiad stated: “Upper peninsula students will be allowed two extra days vacation in order that they may get the ferry which crosses Mackinaw Straits twice a week.”

From our Historical Notebook this week courtesy of Hank Konkle we present a photograph the Albion Station Bottle Shop in Albion, Michigan, Upper Peninsula, and an old map of the area showing the location of “the other Albion.”

Albion Station Bottle Shop


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