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.

AUSTIN SCHOOL, 1935

Morning Star, January 12, 2003, pg. 3

Some good news. My latest book “Albion in the 20th Century” was sold out locally just before Christmas. However, I’ve been able to get a remainder supply from the printer’s warehouse and have replenished them at the Albion Chamber of Commerce, where you may obtain autographed copies. Thank you for your support.

Back in October, 1935 there was a 30-minute 16 mm. black & white silent film made of some of the classes of the Albion Public Schools showing students in their everyday activities. The filmer went to the elementary schools: Austin, Dalrymple, Washington Gardner Grade School, and West Ward; as well as to some of the Junior High and Senior High classrooms at Washington Gardner High School. This film was shown at various events (including at one of the first Festival of the Forks) and in some classrooms through the years. The film scenes moved quickly and therefore it was hard to identify people.

The film eventually fell into the hands of long-time retired Albion Public Schools teacher Jerry Sacharski, who transferred the images onto video and made the film available to yours truly. A portion of this 30-minute film has now been transferred directly from its original 16 mm. size to DVD, and is now being dissected frame-by-frame by yours truly for identifications. We hope to present some selections from this very historic film in the future in this column this year. Special thanks to Cliff Lance of DKM Film Studios for making the DVD version a reality for us.

This week we will be featuring Austin School on N. Clinton St. Austin School serviced the “west end” of town. Many of its students were the children of European immigrants that came to Albion to work at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. Students were supposed to keep their heads down in the film and were instructed not to look at the camera, but there are numerous “peekers” throughout this 30-minute masterpiece, especially in the “older” classes.

There were three classrooms that were filmed at Austin: 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. The 5th grade class (subsequently part of the Albion High School class of 1943) was taught by Miss Lena Gross. That was her name, too--pronounced just like it is spelled. In the film we see the class being led in the “Pledge of Allegiance” by student Sam Markovich. One memorable scene from this section is to see the students’ hands come up several times in a “hail/heil” salute. That of course eventually became “politically incorrect” with the rise of Adolph Hitler, and students in our school system were later instructed to instead put their hand on their heart during “the pledge.” [ON THIS INTERNET VERSION WE ARE PRESENTING THAT SCENE: Left to right: Bernard Knisley, Sophie Horosko, the head of Dorothy Smith above, Leada Veramay, unidentified boy, Eddie Giluk in a white shirt, and my mother Pauline Kulikowski with the finger/hand of Chrissie Whitehead in front.]

I’ve copied numerous individual frames onto my computer and have had prints made in order to show them around town in an attempt to identify people in the film. Here are some of the persons who have been positively identified in the film from this particular Austin School 5th grade class: Teacher Lena Gross, Lillian Chopper, Edward Giluk, Sophie Horosko, Charles Knickerbocker, Bernard Knisley, Ernest Kulikowski, George Kulikowski, Pauline Kulikowski, Sam Markovich, Dorothy Smith, Alex Rudick, Leada Veramay, Chrissie Wimberly, Fred Zatalokin, and Ivadene Zenoniani.

Another scene shows the class being led in jumping jacks by my mother, Pauline Kulikowski. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a “jumping jack” scene from the film. From left to right: Pauline Kulikowski, Ernest Kulikowski, Sam Markovich (striped shirt and smiling), Bernard Knisley wearing suspenders, Sophie Horosko in front, the head of Dorothy Smith behind her, Leada Veramay with flowery dress, Ivadene Zenoniani with hands on hip, an unidentified boy behind above her, and Edward Giluk on far right. Giluk’s father Joseph operated the “Vienna Bakery” (formerly the Star Bakery operated by the Branoff’s) located just west (left) of the Russian Baptist Church on Austin Avenue. This bakery served the immigrant “west end” population for many years until it was closed just before World War II. Does anyone have a photograph of that bakery? I’ve been looking for one for years.

If anyone was in the fall, 1935 Austin School 4th grade class (AHS 1944) of Mrs. Hart, or the 6th grade class (AHS 1942) of Miss Harger, take note that I have captured individual frame photos of those classes, too. Feel free to contact me if you think you can help with identifications. (517) 629-5402. My e-mail address: albionfp@hotmail.com.


Jumping Jacks!


Pledge of Allegiance

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