Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, February 24, 2008, pg. 6
The summer of 1908 was a busy one for the construction business in downtown Albion, as contractors had to replace the buildings and bridges that were destroyed over the Kalamazoo River by the Great Flood of March, 1908. The Albion City Council met following the flood and the Council minutes record the following Resolutions:
“On motion of Alderman Watson the Marshal was instructed to serve notice on Fred Young to pull down the front of his building by 10 o’clock tomorrow morning and if he fails to do so the Fire Chief is instructed to pull down the same. Alderman Griffin offered the following resolutions and moved its adoption: Whereas, the recent flood has seriously damaged many of the bridges in and along the streets of the city and, Whereas, the public safety demands that the following bridges be closed to public travel until such time as suitable repairs can be made, therefore, Resolved, that the public safety demands that the Superior St. bridge of the Kalamazoo River north of Cass St., the bridge over the Kalamazoo River on E. Erie St., the race bridge on said E. Erie St., the bridge known as the River St. bridge near the fairgrounds be and they hereby are condemned as unsafe for all travel and that the Albion St. bridge be and it hereby is condemned as unsafe for travel for any but foot passengers. Carried. On motion of Alderman Watson the Marshal was instructed to employ a competent mason and repair the Albion St. bridge at once.”
First to be replaced was the N. Superior St. bridge. This was a major undertaking, and the bridge lasted until itself was replaced in 1993 as part of Albion’s downtown re-bricking project. Although the damage to Albion’s bridges was major in 1908, the city’s finances were in good shape and only $30,000 had to be raised via a bond issue to help finance the replacement of the bridges.
Albion Mayor Daniel McAuliffe ordered extra pilings installed on the new N. Superior St. bridge as an added precaution, and as a lesson learned from the example of Mayor Samuel Dickie in 1896. Dickie had ordered extra pilings for the E. Cass St. bridge, which was the only one in town that survived the flood unharmed.
A wooden footbridge was placed across the east side of N. Superior St. enabling pedestrians to cross during the summer of 1908, while the new bridge was constructed. Workers diligently proceeded with their project, and the new bridge was completed. A rectangular dedication plaque as placed on the sidewalk containing the names of the contractor and city officials. This plaque is now stored at Albion City Hall.
This week from our Historical Notebook we present a photograph taken in July, 1908 looking south, showing the new bridge being erected. A large construction shed can be seen on the left on the corner of Cass & Superior Sts.
1908 Reconstruction after the Great Flood
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic