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.

TELEPHONE OPERATORS

Morning Star, September 5, 2004, pg. 16

A bit of history was removed the week of August 22 in the 800 and 900 blocks of S. Eaton St. The 1901-laid George E. Dean sidewalks accommodated thousands of soles over its lifetime. The city certainly got its money’s worth at the cost of 7½¢ per square foot when it was laid. A descendant of the contractor, Rick Lange, had one of the sidewalk squares containing the imprint “G. E. Dean 1901” salvaged for his family. It will be placed in his yard as a memorial to his great-grandfather. We wrote about these sidewalks in the June 14, 1998 edition of this column. This article, as well as my others are re-published on the www.albionmich.com website.

My Albion History booth at the new and improved Festival of the Forks will be located in the Alumni tent on W. Porter St. this year. Come and visit me. I’ll have a display of various Albion history photographs, as well as my Albion history books and materials available. I will be accepting donations of Albion history items, directories, school yearbooks, memorabilia, photographs, etc. Thank you for your continued support which helps make my research and these articles possible. If you have something for me, give me a call at 629-5402.

The other day I received the new 2004 edition of our local Albion telephone book. While browsing through it and making comparisons with those of recent years, I discovered the following tidbit of information: the number of “white page” number listings in our phone book have been steadily changing each year. In 1999 there were 28½ total pages of residential and business listings. I’m missing the 2000 book. But here are the page numbers from recent years: 2001: 25½; 2002: 25½; 2003: 25; 2004: 24½.

Even though our phone book is small, we can be thankful we have one published separately for our town. It helps us keep our identity. If the telephone company ever decides to put us in the Jackson County, phone book (as they did Homer which is in Calhoun County and should have been put in the Albion book instead), then they should make it so it is not long distance to call Jackson.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present the Jolly Albion telephone operators, posing on January 17, 1921 during a party. Back then the Michigan Bell Telephone Company switchboards were located above 110 S. Superior St., and your calls were personally handled. From left to right: Mrs. Marion Beer, chief operator; Vivian Baker, assistant chief operator; Jenny Burkwalt, Ida Starks, Florence Leavy, Elsie Finnigan, Mildred Edwards, Margaret Finnigan, Mildred Turner, Irene Power, Beulah Weidner, Grace Quinn, and Rhea Smith.


The Jolly Albion telephone operators, posing on January 17, 1921

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