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.

STREET SIGN ABNORMALITIES

Morning Star, July 17, 2005, pg. 2

With street reconstruction being undertaken each summer here in Albion, one of the benefits is the replacement of street signs at the intersections. Having good signage in a community is a positive thing, whether it be for emergency services, or for deliveries, U.S. mail, or just plain directions. In recent years however, new signs have been placed that are missing information which correctly describes a particular street.

Most streets end with one of these suffixes: “St, Ave., Blvd, or Ct.” In big cities these suffixes are important, because you can have a common named street, and the suffix will determine where the street is. For example, here in the Albion area we have Orchard Drive, and just east of town by the Nazarene Church is Orchard Knoll. There is also a Haven Lane and a Haven Road.

Some changes occurred here because streets did not develop as intended, such as Dalrymple Boulevard which was changed to a street because no boulevard (a divided piece of land in the center) was built. Of course the oldest-running saga of a street suffix change here concerns Broadwell Avenue, named after a New York Senator. Through the years signs have been added during various re-paving projects, re-designating this thoroughfare a “St.” Both “St.” and “Ave.” signs can be found along this major residential avenue.

Wilson Drive was named after U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. When Hannah St. was repaved a few years ago, Wilson Drive was turned into a “St,” without a vote of the Albion City Council, at least according to the sign at the intersection with S. Hannah St. Relatedly, some new Hannah St. signs are missing the directional prefix. Moving west along E. Erie St., we find that Allen Place (named for Albion banker Sylvester Allen 1837-1903) is no longer a “Pl.,” but just “Allen.” South Ionia St. is now just “Ionia St,” with no directional prefix. The latter two were a result of the re-paving of E. Erie St. several years ago.

The most blaring example of a street sign abnormality in Albion however does not concern a suffix. It involves a directional prefix. Eaton St. was named after John Eaton (1790-1856), the U.S. Secretary of War under U.S. President Andrew Jackson. Arthur St. was named after Bradford J. Arthur (1805-1900), who owned 100 acres of land in the vicinity of the street that bears his name. Eaton St. is divided north and south at Cass St.

Where these two streets meet is near the offices of Albion City Attorney Charles Robinson, and near Albion City Councilman Ron Gant’s house, both prominent Albion notables. The street sign here states Arthur St. and S. (SOUTH!) Eaton St. (instead of the correct North Eaton St.). This sign could create some interesting situations, particularly for delivery services or for a repossession team. How this sign was allowed to be placed and remain here as long as it has is probably indicative of Albion’s budget woes, or the lack of someone passing a geography class at Albion High School. In any event, drive by slow past this sign and glare at it next time you are on South, oops, I mean NORTH, Eaton St. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of this amazing street sign, which helps guide the way along our busy I-94 business route through town. [NOTE: Postscript: the sign was replaced with a correct N. Eaton St. sign at 8 a.m. on Monday morning, July 18, 2005, the day after this article appeared.]


S. Eaton Street and Arthur Street signs

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