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, May 11, 1908, pg. 2

Each year at this time we feature the Albion High School class of 100 years ago. This particular class had a whopping 35 members, a record at that time. 13 were boys, and 22 were girls. The commencement exercises were held on Thursday, June 18, 1908 at the Methodist Church on E. Erie St., customary of that time. The commencement speaker was the Hon. Lawton T. Hemans of Mason, who spoke on the subject of “Getting Rich.” The diplomas were presented by Superintendent William J. McKone. Principal of Albion High School was L. A. McDiarmid, who was completing his term.

The Class of 1908 was the first class to graduate from the new High School “Central” building, which opened in September, 1907. It was constructed in 1906 and 1907 to replace the original 1872-built one that was demolished in June, 1906. The memorial donated by the class of 1908 to the school was a bronze tablet containing Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photograph of the Class of 1908 to present to our readers this week. In lieu of that, pictured is an unusual item in my collection: A small porcelain toothpick holder. This shows a black & white photograph of the new Albion High School building, surrounded by green colorized trees. The text at the bottom states “HIGH SCHOOL ALBION. MICH.” Postcards produced circa 1908-1911 have this same scene on them. This holder features a gold-colored border design, with the rest of the outside being violet in color. The inside is porcelain white. It measures approximately 2˝ inches high, and up to about 2 inches in diameter at the top. Does anyone else have one of these?

Regarding the individual members of the Class of 1908, class valedictorian was Margera Howard Moore. In looking through the class list, there were several persons who went on to prominent positions in life. Most notably was William Canniff Harton, (1890-1959) who reigned as principal of Washington Gardner High School from 1924 to 1955. Another, Alpheus Tisdale Hafford (1889-1947) became a prominent Albion physician. Jay J. Ganka (1887-1952) became a restaurant owner and a baker. He was most remembered however as a star baseball player who played in the minor leagues and with the Albion Independents team for several years.

Here listed are the members of the Albion High School Class of 1908. How many of our readers are related to any of them or remember them? Robert Charles Baker, Henry Dana Bedford, Clarence Willard Bemer, Laura Ethel Bosserd, Elsie Grace Choate, Fred Emerson Clark, Edna Vesta Doolittle, Mable Eleanor Doty, Jay James Ganka, Frederick Allen Hadley, Alpheus Tisdale Hafford, E.L. Carl Hart, William Canniff Harton, Hazel Gregg Hill, Edward T. Hoaglin, Anna Elizabeth Howell, Morley Jennings, William Fred Kopp, Inez Emma McCarty, Nellie Elizabeth Meeks, Margera Howard Moore, Ethel Mae Pettibone, Bessie Lu Reed, Elva Lucretia Richardson, Lella Barney Rollins, Lillian Anna Ruff, Theo Louise Schultz, John Stoughton Strong, Loretta Irene Slowey, Anna May Sykes, Mildred Ione Welch, Julia Wickham, Jesse Russell Widerwax, Ida Lena Wright, and Mary Etta Wright.

Albion High School porcelain toothpick holder, circa 1908-1911

Next: Jacob Harson Perine (1840-1942)

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