Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

Return to the Frank Passic
Home Page  

Return to the Albion Michigan Home Page

Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

SOUTH ALBION’S HOWELL SCHOOL

Morning Star, March 9, 2003, pg. 5

We go “on the road” again this week and feature the area historically known as “South Albion.” Although the boundaries were never definitely defined, South Albion is generally accepted to be the southern part of Albion Township from both sides of 28 Mile Road (M-99) on the west eastwards to the county line, and south to M-60. 29 Mile Road (once known as South Albion Road) has generally been accepted as the central road of this area, as several landmarks were located here through the years.

South Albion contains rich farmland that was settled in the 1830s by settlers from New York or Pennsylvania. A sampling of some pioneer pre-Civil War family surnames include: Benham, Kinney, Sheldon, Howell, Holmes, Angevine, Houck, Anderson, Ansterburg, Knowles, Fabrique, Farley, Ostrom, and others. Historian John Kinney once wrote, “Once linked by the invisible ties of kinship, church and school, there is here a sense of community separate from that of the township that persists to this day.”

South Albion once had three rural schoolhouses: Benham, Holmes, and Howell. Our focus this week concerns the Howell School (Fractional No. 2), a building which still stands today in the center of South Albion on the northwest corner of 29 Mile Road and H Drive South. It was named after 1835 pioneer settler Ashbel Howell (1793-1870) who donated a 1-acre corner of his 160-acre farm for educational purposes. Albion Township’s first supervisor and school inspector James Sheldon, Sr. put up the $200 to erect a schoolhouse there in 1838. Classes were held here through the Civil War at which time the structure burned.

A replacement Howell School was built in 1867 at a cost of $1,500. Here the children of the farmers and residents of the area were educated continuously for 99 years. Classes were held up to the 8th grade, at which time students had to take a test to continue their education at one of the three area high schools. Improvements were made during the Great Depression which included indoor plumbing, a basement, and furnace. Funding was by the Kellogg Foundation, and labor was provided by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Final classes were held in June, 1966. On July 1, 1966, the Howell district was officially annexed into the Albion Public Schools, but not before the southern chunk of its boundaries across the road were “transferred” to the Homer Public Schools. The remaining 15 Howell students thereby attended Bath Mills School (which had also been acquired by Albion) during the subsequent 1966-67 school year, before everyone went to Albion after that.

Despite its closure, the Howell schoolhouse continued to be used as a South Albion community meeting center and was responsibly maintained by loyal members of the community there. It was used by the Albion Public Schools beginning in 1976 as a Crowell School “Open Classroom” project, and through the 1980s as a learning example of a “country school” which was the mainstay of public education for over a century.

Today South Albion community members are requesting that their historical Howell School be returned back to them. The South Albion community built, paid for, and maintained their schoolhouse for 99 years before it was acquired by the Albion district. It surely should be returned back to them for only a nominal cost. Many years ago the Albion School Board sold the large Dalrymple School in town to a group for only one dollar. Call or write your Albion school board members today and encourage them to let Howell School be returned back to the community from whence it came.

From our Historical Notebook in this internet version we present a March 16, 1993 photograph of Howell School. We’ll feature more stories about South Albion in the future in this column.


March 16, 1993 photograph of Howell School

Next: INTERURBAN OFFICE BUILDING 100 YEARS OLD


Back to the Top of this Page

All text copyright, 2014 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

Did you enjoy this page?

If you've enjoyed learning about Albion history from this site, please write us a note in the Albion Guestbook. We hope you will take the time to share your interest and stories related to Albion history, especially if you have any ancestors from Albion, please let us know.

Learn more about Albion Michigan!
Visit the Albion home page.

Search the AlbionMich.com website

Albion History Articles

Historical Notebook  |  From the Archives  |  Subject List  |  100 Years Ago


Kept current by: Robin James

Indices Unlimited Indexing Services


And now a word from our sponsors

See prints of Albion Michigan , by Maggie LaNoue, the owner of the Albion Home Page.

Help to sponsor these web pages and this site.

Albion Design and Carlson Craft have worked together to offer an amazing selection of wedding invitations online. From invites, to rsvps, gifts and more, Carlson Craft has an outstanding 60 year history of creating wedding stationery packages designed to the personal tastes of each bride and groom. With their easy online ordering service and quick turn around, you will appreciate the ease of ordering and the prices also! You can order a sample card of any invitation to see the quality, and proof the wording of the invitations online.
View wedding invitations online: Design.carlsoncraft.com

wedding invitations michigan