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.

CONSUMERS POWERHOUSE

Morning Star, August 19, 2007, pg. 12

With the demolition of the Consumers Power Company powerhouse building on August 10, another landmark reminding us of the days of water-generated electric power in town is now gone. It was on this site in 1837 that the Brown Mill was constructed by Jesse Crowell, to process grain into flour. The falling waters of the river raceway turned the wheels which ground the grain. It burned in 1883 and its replacement, the Red Mill, was constructed on the site. It was closed around 1900.

In late 1902, the Albion Electric Light Company purchased the facility and in the following weeks transformed (no pun intended) the facility into an electric generating station. The firm was purchased by the Commonwealth Power Company in 1905, which became Consumers Power in 1910. This was a major local electrical source in the early 20th century. The Red Mill was destroyed on June 30, 1913, in a spectacular blaze caused by lightning.

Its replacement was the powerhouse (constructed in 1913) that was just demolished. This building continued to produce water-generated electricity until just after World War II. 1948 is the closest year I can come up with unless someone else can supply me with a more exact date. The abandoned raceway which led to the powerhouse was subsequently deeded over to the City of Albion, and includes the Victory Park waterfall area and Rieger Park. The raceway was filled during the summer of 1953, and part of it became Rieger Park.

From our Historical Notebook this week we observe the passing of another Albion landmark, the site of which goes back to the beginnings of our history. This photo of the Consumers Power Company powerhouse building was taken by yours truly in 1993, the year the structure was closed as an electrical facility.


Consumers Power Company Powerhouse Building 1993

Next: LAKE SHORE & MICHIGAN SOUTHERN RAILROAD TRESTLE


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