Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, July 8, 2007, pg. 10.
The new Kalamazoo River trail goes through a very memorable area to this writer. Just west of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad trestle, the trail follows the old railroad bed all the way to the west end of Harris Field, where it curves south to meet Gale St. North of the old railroad however and paralleling the Kalamazoo River, was once the Gale Street extension. This was an east-west road that curved eastwards from the south end of Gale Street, just north of the tracks. My maternal grandparents, Mike and Theodora (Barvydaite) Kulikoswki (originally Kulikauskas) lived there at 906 N. Gale St.
This area was demolished during the 1970s as part of the Urban Renewal project. With the opening of the River walk here, we took a memorable tour recently. There is a truck path made by a construction crew that just about runs where the old road ran. We went to the place where my grandparents house used to stand, walked to the river and found the “evidence” of old bottles (I won’t say what kind of bottles...) deposited in the riverbank where the dock used to be. It was quite a secluded neighborhood back then. My grandparents raised over a dozen children here. They also had chickens and goats, and raised their own garden food.
My grandparents had moved to this location in the early 1940s from elsewhere in town, and continued dwelling here until the Urban Renewal project made them leave. Who lived along this unique stretch of land during the 1940s? At the big “curve” just south of the tracks was the Joseph and Agnes Baskevich family at 210 N. Gale St, on the east/north side of the street. They were also Lithuanian immigrants like my grandparents had been. The Baskevich’s had moved here from Cicero, Illinois, and were related to the Tautkus family. Next was the home of Ward and Bessie Swan at 907 N. Gale. This house later became home to the Saldana and Flores families.
On the north side of the street beginning at the curve was the home of Pearl Nash and her sons Patrick and Frank, 902 N. Gale. Next of course was my grandparents home across the street from the Swanns. Finally there was the home of Archie and Elsie Harris at 908 N. Gale St. The road then ended just before the tracks. Through the years however my uncles “added” a shortcut to N. Albion St. by crossing their vehicles over the railroad tracks, and this eventually became an unofficial road extension. I remember this area well as I went there many times as a child to visit my grandparents. Some Albion people I’m sure have other stories about this neighborhood they could tell you about, some which I probably would decline to print here. When you walk the River walk in this area, look north towards the Kalamazoo River to where my grandparents and the others used to live along this unique area of the Gale Street extension.
We’ve got numerous 1940s-era photographs of the family and neighborhood in our family album, and it was hard to pick out just one photo for our readers this week. From our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of a Gale St. extension neighborhood gathering held during World War II. Front row, left to right are the children: Sophie, Lawrence (“Boom-Boom”) and Casper Kulikowski, and Josephine Harris. Back rows: Ward Swann holding his grandson George Swann, Jr.; followed by Bessie Swan, Ethel Swann wife of George, Mike and Theodora Kulikowski, Pauline Kulikowski my mother, George Swann Sr., Victor Kulikowski in uniform, Marion “Tony” Harris, and Mrs. Elsie Harris.
A Gale St. extension neighborhood gathering held during World War II.
Next: DUCK LAKE BOAT OFFICE
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic