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 OSBORN

Morning Star, September 18, 2005, pg. 14

Be sure and mark your calendars for Sunday, October 9 at 1:30 p.m. That’s the afternoon of my annual guided tour of Riverside Cemetery. The event is FREE (tour programs will be available for a nominal fee) and is open to all ages. We’ll meet at the Cemetery office to start. This year’s tour is entitled “The Terrace View Tour of Riverside Cemetery,” and will focus on the hilly section located above the letters “RIVERSIDE” that are placed in the side of the hill. We will also visit some graves in back corner lots by the maintenance garage area, and the original “Stranger’s Grounds.”

Here’s a “quick list” of the people we will be featuring on this year’s tour: Martha Stuart, Otto Rohwedder (the inventor of the commercial bread slicing machine), Philip Weitzel (an “Orphan Train” child who grew up here), William and Eval (Torrey) Wakeley, Permelia Rice, Edward Edwards (grandson of famous clergyman Rev. Jonathan Edwards), Dr. Edwin Wilbur, Mrs. Elizabeth Brand, James Leland, John & Daisy (Dean) Landenberger, William Fox, Octavia Bradbury, Terrie Yankie (an Albion Public Schools teacher), Richard Nethercott, Charles Reed, Rensalaer Elwood, Gustave Kilian, George Barry, Matilda (Parmeter) Mann (an early settler of Spring Arbor), James Lynch, Rev. George Jocelyn (president of Albion College), Charles Osborn, Thomas Pray, Dorastus Green, Louisa (Blodgett) McGee, Billy Banks, James Delbridge, Renssaelaer Baker, and Peter Westfall.

With the price of gasoline as it is lately, I’ve seen more and more persons traveling around town on bicycles. Albion used to have bicycle shops of its own where residents could purchase bikes and have them repaired. One of Albion’s early 20th century bicycle dealers will be featured on this year’s Cemetery tour: Charles Osborn (1865-1917).

A native of Fort Ann, New York, Charles came to Albion as a baby. The 90-acre family farm was located along D Drive North halfway between 27 and 28 Mile Roads. Growing up here, Charles graduated from Albion High School in 1885. For the next ten years he worked as a clerk in the Austin & Smith Hardware in downtown Albion until 1895. He then secured a job across the street at George Dean’s Hardware and bicycle shop, located in the building where George Caines once had his paint store that was demolished last year.

Learning the bicycle trade, Charles went into business for himself in 1900 when his boss went into the cement contracting business. Charle’s store was located at 405 S. Superior St., just north of the alley, where attorney offices are now located. In addition to selling and repairing bicycles, Charles also sold Edison records and phonographs. Being in the bicycle business was great for his three sons: they each would receive a new bicycle at Christmastime every other year. Charles also became one of Albion’s first automobile dealers and gas station operators at his establishment. He would give driving lessons to those purchasing their first “horseless carriage.”

From our this week courtesy of Charle’s granddaughter Betty Hicks is the classic 1890 photograph showing Charles standing by his high-wheel bicycle. If you think you’ve seen this contraption pictured someplace before, it is found on page 62 of my book “Albion in the 20th Century,” where Charles’ son Maurice Osborn (1902-1980) is shown riding it in Albion’s 1944 railroad centennial parade.


1890 photograph of Charles Osborn and his bicycle

Next: LEWIS PRYOR WAGON


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