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.

THE GARDNER FAMILY

Morning Star, November 21, 2004, pg. 2

The passing of Gardner Lloyd at age 90 on November 9 marked the end of a local era of over a century of community involvement of the family and descendants of the Hon. Washington Gardner (1845-1928). Lloyd was a grandson of Albion’s famous Congressman who was the namesake of our local high school. Gardner Lloyd mirrored the family’s commitment to our community, as reflected in the long list of accomplishments and memberships that were printed in his obituary.

It was through the help of the Gardner family clan that the Albion Malleable Iron Company grew into a major manufacturing concern here and brought hundreds of persons to live in our community through the years. Rev. Washington Gardner was one of the original stockholders of the company. His son Raymond Gardner (1884-1954) served as vice-president and chairman of the board of the firm. Gardner Lloyd’s uncle by marriage was Harry B. Parker (1871-1936) whose step-father was Warren S. Kessler (1845-1933), the founder of the Malleable. Parker was married to WG’s daughter Mary Theodosia Gardner (1873-1928). Parker served as vice-president and general manager of the Malleable. He donated the land for our City Hall among other things, and was a major contributor to Albion’s new Hotel erected in the 1920s--the Parker Inn which bore his name.

When Gardner Lloyd and his brother Tom Lloyd (1912-1978) came to the Malleable in the 1930s, they continued the family tradition during their many years of managing the Company. It was money earned at the Malleable that became the basis for the original investment of funds Tom Lloyd used to start the Albion Civic Foundation in 1968, now known as the Albion Community Foundation. Tom served as executive vice-president at the Malleable, and Gardner Lloyd was the secretary-treasurer.

When you drive past the old Albion Malleable Iron Company today, you can see the plant is in the process of being demolished for scrap iron. A good portion of the south end is now dismantled, including the old Albion Malleable emblem which once proudly hung in full view of passing trains and motorists. That sign was removed without fanfare a week or two ago as work progressed.

From our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of that sign which contained the company’s recognizable “Circle A” trademark logo. As our community reflects upon the passing of Gardner Lloyd, we also reflect upon the industry that he and others ran which meant so much for the growth and vibrant health of our city.


Albion Malleable Iron Company “Circle A” trademark logo

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