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.


Morning Star, March 18, 2007, pg. 4

Oh, for the record, remember that $10 banknote (circa 1890) from the First National Bank of Albion which we wrote about in the January 21 edition of this column? It went on the auction block March 10 near Chicago and sold for a whopping $13,000! Plus there was a 15 percent “buyers fee” tacked on to that price. I don’t know who purchased it but it sure wasn’t me.

I’ve been going through old postcards of Albion recently, and came across this one from 1911. It shows W. Porter St. looking west from S. Superior St. We are featuring this card this week in our Historical Notebook, courtesy of Essie Morgan. This is a Pescha photo, a Michigan photographer who went around the state taking fantastically detailed photos in various Michigan cities. With the use of a magnifying glass, I can even see the lettering on the signs and other markings on this postcard.

On the left side, we first see the corner of the Postal Telegraph Office, which offered cablegrams. In the front are two fire hydrants, which meant no waiting for the dog who is standing just to the right. Moving further back, we see the elaborate barber’s pole of the Snug Barber Shop, then operated by Chester Robinson (1882-1961), a familiar Albion barber at that site for several decades. Next with no signage, would be the McGuire Brothers Saloon, with a horse & buggy waiting out front. Next would be the Albion Leader newspaper. Further back, in the distance under my loupe I see a sign stating “Sewing Machines,” which was part of William C. Kopp’s Electric Shop at 105 W. Porter St. Finally in the distance is a sign stating “Banner Laundry” at 109 W. Porter St, operated by Albion Mayor Charles H. Burnett. Being in the laundering business was apparently popular for politicians, even back then.

On the right side of the card, of course is the huge four-story Eslow Block. A sign painted on the brick wall states “J.C. Eslow & Son Insurance.” Below it is advertising for the various entertainment events which were held upstairs in the Eslow Hall. This particular bill advertises “The Fighting Parson.” If you look in very lower right portion of this card, you’ll see the sidewalk is recessed, and there is an elaborate drinking fountain on the corner. There also is a small mailbox just to the right of the telephone pole.

Sitting in the street on cement blocks is the well-known “popcorn stand,” where local residents could purchase popcorn, as well as purchase tickets to events and excursions. The advertisement on the door states, “Excursion, Cleveland, Buffalo, Sept 27. Lake Shore.” This of course, was the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad which was purchased by the New York Central Railroad.

Behind the popcorn stand sits a horse and buggy, diagonally parked. Next is old Commercial Hotel building, then called the Hotel Hermitage, signified by the sign that appears out front. The following year it became known as the Dowling Hotel, named after Clarence Dowling who operated the saloon at the Hotel. Today of course, this historic building is the site of the Moose Lodge.

How many of our readers have old Albion photo postcards like this? Remember to visit the www.michiganpostcards.com website to view old Albion postcards.

1911 Postcard showing West Porter Street


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