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.

CHARLES ENSIGN HOUSE

Morning Star, July 10, 2005, pg. 8

It is good to see certain houses in Albion being repaired and updated by local entrepreneurs for future use and taxpaying occupancy. We have many historical houses in town worth saving which help contribute towards our rich heritage. Occasionally I like to feature one in this column.

Did you know that Albion once had a “home tour?” It was called a Pioneer Tour which was part of the big Centennial Celebration in July 1935 exactly 70 years ago. The tour consisted of visiting a variety of sites, buildings, and homes in town. In looking through the list of houses on the tour, several are still standing today. We wonder if in the future someone could plan an historical home tour, and include those on this 1935 list? Perhaps an Albion home tour would be appropriate for the Festival of the Forks.

One house on that 1935 tour which is currently undergoing renovation following a fire last year, was the former Charles Ensign home at 212-14 W. Erie St. It is one of the oldest houses still standing in Albion. It has remarkably retained some of its original features despite renovations through the years. This brick house was erected in 1841 by Enos B. Frost (1812-1876), who came to “the Forks” in 1835 and was a partner in the firm Jesse Crowell & Company. Frost later moved to Eaton Rapids in the late 1850s where he became involved in the mineral water cure concept there. He is interred here in Riverside Cemetery however next to his wife Harriet who passed away in 1845.

The house was eventually sold to Charles Ensign (1828-1904) in 1867, a major farm landowner in our area who also operated a farm implement business here in town. He came to Albion in 1844 from his native New York. After working as a molder in Albion’s first foundry owned by James Monroe, he traveled west as part of the California Gold Rush from 1852 to 1855. Returning to this area, he married Emily Fairchild. Their daughter Mary married local shoe store merchant Walter Rogers (1865-1941) in 1892, and that couple eventually took over the house in 1903. Walter’s shoe store was located at 102 S. Superior St. An 1885 graduate of Albion High School, he was president of the Albion Business and Professional Men’s Association, and also served on the local school board.

The 1935 Centennial Program lists the house as the Walter Rogers house, and states that “Beebe Frost” (sic) erected the house in 1841. The house stayed in the Rogers family until after the 1978 death of their daughter, noted dental hygienist Ruth Rogers. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of this historical house at 212-14 W. Erie St.


Charles Ensign house, 412 W Erie Street

Next: STREET SIGN ABNORMALITIES


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