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.

ARBOR DAY

Morning Star, April 16, 2006, pg. 17

Have you noticed all the trees that were cut down this past winter in Riverside Cemetery? This includes a prominent maple tree that once graced the front entrance drive for probably a hundred years. It’s not just in the cemetery. If you take a drive around town, you can easily observe that Albion is missing “hundreds” of trees that are supposed to be there. Just last week a series of trees were removed on the west side of N. Eaton St. going down the hill north of the railroad tracks. Our streets were once lined with beautiful shade trees that gave our city character. We were once known as the “Maple City,” and businesses such as Maple City Auto, or Maple City Dairy picked up on that theme.

The trees once lining our streets were not the “quick decorative” substitute trees like crab apple or ash, but were real trees like maple, elm, and oak. Our elm trees, sadly, succumbed to the Dutch elm disease during the 1960s.

Trees of course have a normal life span and eventually die. The sad part in our town is that they are not being replaced. Take a look up and down our city streets between the sidewalk and the curb, and you’ll see numerous “empty” spaces where a tree once grew. Albion is not the “tree city” it once was, and the tree farm that used to be in the cemetery has been discontinued.

With the various new regulations concerning “Miss Dig” and utility wires and other restrictions (like no sappy “messy” trees allowed), trees are harder to legally plant in this town. Even with that, the main culprit is a lack of funds. It’s too bad that our city couldn’t purchase some bankrupt tree nursery somewhere and plant their remaining stock of maple trees all over town, to replace the hundreds we’ve lost here. Some people have resorted going to Lowes or other places that sells trees and purchasing trees for themselves for their front yards.

If ever our city needed a massive Arbor Day, it’s now. Arbor Day was once widely celebrated here, and was an annual event for our local Camp Fire Girls organization. Each Arbor Day the girls would plant ceremonial trees around town, usually in Victory Park or along Superior St. as a good example to follow. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a group of Camp Fire Girls planting a flowering crab tree in Victory Park on April 29, 1966. Front row, left to right: Jan Fierke, Patty Newsome, Lisa Stone (with shovel). Back row: Program chairperson Jane Pesch, and Julia Vidich.

As Albion makes plans for its future, it would be treemendous if those plans included replacing our “lost” natural resource of beautiful maple trees throughout our city. Are there trees missing along your street, too?


Camp Fire Girls in Victory Park on April 29, 1966

Next: FROSTY FREEZE


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