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, August 26, 2007, pg. 9

Our busy history season is about to begin. I’ll have my Albion history booth at both the Festival of the Forks on September 21, as well as at the new A-Maizing Corn Harvest Festival on October 6. My Riverside Cemetery tour will be on Sunday, October 14 at 1:30 pm., and we will be featuring the Catholic Section (the list of names I will be featuring was published in this column on July 29).

Part of the work being done on the new Kalamazoo River Walk through town is on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad trestle that crosses the River just west of N. Albion St. Recently city crews removed unsightly trees, limbs and debris from the River so you can now see the trestle again from the N. Albion St. bridge. The River Walk continues using the old railroad bed all the way to just before the old Brown’s Welding building, where the walk then curves south to hug the west fence of Harris Field. The tracks once continued southwest to Homer.

The LS & MSRR was the railroad which ran from Jonesville to Lansing and included the communities of Jonesville, Litchfield, Homer, Albion, Devereaux, Springport, Eaton Rapids, Dimondale, and Lansing. Opened in 1872, the line was intact until 1940, at which time the tracks from Springport to Lansing were abandoned. The tracks between Albion and Litchfield were abandoned in 1943, but were left in town here to service the Gale Manufacturing Company. The tracks from Albion to Springport were abandoned in late 1968 and removed to a point just east of N. Clark St. in Albion.

After the Gale closed in 1968, the tracks were allowed to remain for the use of any potential future industry on the site. However, on March 31, 1976, the Penn-Central System entered into a contract with a construction firm to dismantle its branch line tracks in Albion. On April 1, 1976, the Penn Central became part of the Federal Conrail system, and the new Conrail officials were unaware of the contract that Penn Central had made the day before Conrail had taken over.

One month later in May, 1976, workers began tearing up the remaining portion of old LS & MSRR tracks here through Albion. This was an unannounced operation, without first consulting the Albion city officials. They were stopped by the city before the tracks could be removed to what is today the Guardian plant in the northeast part of the city. Unfortunately, the line leading across the trestle to the former Gale plant was removed. The sad and ironic part of the situation was that the city had at that time obtained a potential buyer for the Gale property which would have made generous use of the tracks--it was a manufacturer of railroad ties!

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1910 postcard photograph of the LS & MSRR trestle, looking west from the N. Albion St. bridge. On the left is a weigh station building for the Gale Manufacturing Plant.

1910 postcard photograph of the LS & MSRR trestle


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