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.

ALBION WATER WORKS

Morning Star, January 27, 2008, pg. 16

When Albion became a city in 1885 (we were previously a village), one of the first things that was undertaken was the construction of a municipal water system. $55,000 was spent to construct the original water system. A pump house was erected on the north side of E. Cass St. on the northeast side of the river. The plant was operated by two steam-powered pumps which pumped water from two six-inch wells. In 1906 the plant switched to a single-stage electric pump, and in 1909, to a two-stage electric pump.

After the water was pumped from the ground, it had to be stored someplace before it went into the water mains. A brick reservoir holding approximately 80,000 gallons of water was constructed in front of the pump house as part of the original water system. In 1909 the City of Albion replaced this original reservoir with a new reinforced concrete one, and upped the capacity to 250,000 gallons. The 1909-built one was demolished on November 8, 1961. A standpipe was also erected in Washington Park (presently Crowell Park) to provide water pressure to the municipal system.

When erecting the new reservoir in 1909, it was discovered that the casings to the two original wells had deteriorated to the point where they had to be plugged. Three new 8-inch artesian wells were thereby drilled 100 feet deep to supply the City with its water. By 1912 a few years later, the City was pumping an average of 13 to 19 million gallons a month from this site.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph circa 1905 showing the original Albion Water Works and reservoir. Notice the smokestack with smoke coming out from the coal-powered steam engines. In the distance on the right is a sign for the nearby Albion Lumber Company. If the pump house looks familiar to you, let me remind our readers that for many years this was the home of the Albion Recycling Center. The building, still standing today, is now privately owned. How many of our readers remember the reservoir that used to sit in front of this building?


Photograph circa 1905 showing the original Albion Water Works and reservoir

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago: February 1908


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