Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

Return to the Frank Passic
Home Page  

Return to the Albion Michigan Home Page

Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

RED ARROW HIGHWAY

Morning Star, May 21, 2006, pg. 12

We continue with our theme this month of “Remember our Veterans.” How can you designate something, and then several years later “un-designate” it? That’s what happened to the Red Arrow Highway through Albion. Our story begins in 1917 during World War I, when National Guard units from Michigan and Wisconsin were combined to form the 32nd Division. It fought bravely in the battlefields of France on five fronts and in three major offensives during the “War to end all wars.” Their insignia was the Red Arrow which they carried into battle, and its soldiers were honorably nicknamed “Les Terribles” by the French.

Two members of that Division were future Albion High School principal William C. Harton who served in the 119th Field Artillery, and future VFW commander Vernon Van Meter. Other members serving in the 32nd Division included: Harvey Mills, John Sweeney, Carlton West, Ben Hewitt, J. J. Craft, Charles Hughes, and Harley Transue, Sr. The most remembered Albionite serving in the 32nd Division was Corporal Patrick Leo Hanlon (1894-1918), the first Albion soldier killed in World War I. Our local American Legion post was named in his memory when it was organized in 1919.

During World War II, the 32nd Division was the first to go overseas following the attack at Pearl Harbor. It fought in the South Pacific theater of operations and racked up an impressive list of victories and accomplishments which is too long for us to print here. Albion members included: Sam DeMaggio, Max Wilkinson, Bernard Boyd, John Wyre, Fred Gillette, Robert Fischer, Kenneth Ross, Raymond Everett, and Arthur Gospill.

Following World War II, a plan was devised to designate U.S.-12 through southern Michigan, and U.S-32 in Wisconsin the “Red Arrow Highway” in honor and memory of the sacrifices made by “our boys” of the 32nd Division. These were the days before Interstate-94 was built. The route would be connected together via roads in Indiana and Illinois. In March, 1953, Red Arrow Highway dedication ceremonies were held across Michigan in such communities as New Buffalo, St. Joseph, Paw Paw, Kalamazoo, Galesburg, Battle Creek, Albion, and Jackson. Signs were posted, including in Albion, officially marking this route as the Red Arrow Highway.

When Interstate-94 was completed in 1960, the U.S.-12 signs along Michigan Avenue came down, and with them went the Red Arrow signs, too. However, the Red Arrow route along Lake Michigan by New Buffalo, St. Joseph, and east all the way to Paw Paw was allowed to keep the Red Arrow designation, and it remains so today. How did Albion allow the Red Arrow Highway designation to be stolen away from us? Our soldiers served in the 32nd Division, too.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a picture of the Red Arrow Highway dedication ceremony held on Sunday, March 22, 1953 at “Gold Star Park” at Five Points. Left to right, beginning on the left under the lamp post: Hal Fry of Potterville in his WWI uniform; Captain Donald Harris of Charlotte; Lt. James Nichols of Albion; Captain Carl Oberleiter of Battle Creek. In front is speaker William C. Harton of Albion, followed by: Vernon Van Meter of Albion; Albion Mayor Norman H. Wiener in the dark jacket; Ernie Fry of Battle Creek, Nylie Sayers of Marshall, and WWI veteran Floyd Van Sickle.

How many of our readers remember the Red Arrow Highway through Albion? Do you think it should be re-designated here as such again?


Sunday, March 22, 1953 “Gold Star Park” at Five Points

Highways around the nation, as well as roadways of all sorts are renamed in honor of various military units, philanthropists, and contributors to the community. The Red Arrow Highway is an example of historically preserving the legacy and history of those who served. The naming of the roadway allowed future generations who may not have know about the brave 32nd and their contribution to the Great War to ask questions and learn of the history. Today many major roadways are sponsored by businesses who help to maintain and keep the roadways clean. Major corporations set aside funds for roadway maintenance, community outreach as well as the standard contributions to 401k business funding and other retirement and investment portfolios. Their contributions and sponsorship of roadways are important, however, so it the historical and educational opportunities in including the designation of these roadways in honor of units such as the 32nd.

Next: ELLIOTT WOODBRIDGE HOLLINGSWORTH

Back to the Top of this Page

All text copyright, 2014 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

Did you enjoy this page?

If you've enjoyed learning about Albion history from this site, please write us a note in the Albion Guestbook. We hope you will take the time to share your interest and stories related to Albion history, especially if you have any ancestors from Albion, please let us know.

Learn more about Albion Michigan!
Visit the Albion home page.

Search the AlbionMich.com website

Albion History Articles

Historical Notebook  |  From the Archives  |  Subject List  |  100 Years Ago


Kept current by: Robin James

Indices Unlimited Indexing Services


And now a word from our sponsors

See prints of Albion Michigan , by Maggie LaNoue, the owner of the Albion Home Page.

Help to sponsor these web pages and this site.

Albion Design and Carlson Craft have worked together to offer an amazing selection of wedding invitations online. From invites, to rsvps, gifts and more, Carlson Craft has an outstanding 60 year history of creating wedding stationery packages designed to the personal tastes of each bride and groom. With their easy online ordering service and quick turn around, you will appreciate the ease of ordering and the prices also! You can order a sample card of any invitation to see the quality, and proof the wording of the invitations online.
View wedding invitations online: Design.carlsoncraft.com

wedding invitations michigan