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.

POLL PARROT TEA ROOM

Morning Star, August 27, 2006, pg. 13

It certainly is nice to see all the college students back from summer vacation, and especially the new freshmen who will be living in our town for the next four years. We wish them much success in their education, and hope that they will have fond memories of Albion throughout their lifetime.

In addition to “hitting the books,” one vital part of campus life at Albion College has been eating. College students have to be fed in order for them to learn. Historically, students have been fed at College dining facilities. There were also various rooming houses in the vicinity of the College, and popular eating establishment such as the College Eat Shop. College administrators, likewise, had to find a place to chow down during the noon hour if they weren’t in walking distance from home.

This week we are featuring one such “feeding facility” which operated during the 1920s. Called the Poll Parrot Tea and Lunch Room, it was located in a very old single story house at 801 E. Cass St., on the site of today’s Bobbitt Art Center, west side. It was operated by Charles (1858-1929) and Nancy (1861-1954) Stevenson, and their friend Anna Adams, who came to Albion in 1923 from Indianapolis, Indiana. The Stevenson’s first lived at 1006 E. Michigan Avenue. At the time the Parrot was located next door to the College Eat Shop at 711 E. Cass St. which had been well established at that location for many years under various names.

The outside sign featured the image of a parrot hanging between two poles at the side of the house. The name “tea room” gave it some class and no doubt attracted hungry College administrators from time to time. In the 1928 Albion City Directory, the business had moved to 803 E. Michigan Avenue located on the NE corner at Burr Oak St. This was the old Henry D. Smith house, which is still standing today. The Stevenson’s moved there and operated their tea/lunch room out of the house at this new location.

Charles passed away in August, 1929, and his widow continued the business for a year or two before closing it and selling the house. Nancy continued to live in Albion and subsequently moved in with her daughter Gretchen Oeschger before moving away in the mid-1930s. Both Charles and Nancy are interred in Riverside Cemetery here, and the couple had been members of the local First Presbyterian Church. Charles’ funeral was conducted by Rev. Frederic Goodrich of the Albion College faculty.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the original Poll Parrot Shop at 801 E. Cass St. as it appeared in 1925. This comes to us by a descendant, Nancy (Oeschger) Hill, who lives in Lake Orion. Notice the parrot hanging just to the left of the house. On the right is 803 E. Cass. St. on the corner with N. Hannah St."


1925 Poll Parrot Shop at 801 E. Cass St.

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