Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, September 20, 2009, pg. 15
This is the weekend of the Festival of the Forks. Our Festival was originally designed to be a celebration of our ethnic diversity. For various reasons including heath department food preparation laws and fees, the days of grandma making golumkis for the Festival in her oven are over with. The Festival has pragmatically adapted to a new era and has shifted to a new emphasis in its promotions. It is good to see the flags of the various countries still line our utility poles during Festival week as a recognition of Albion’s ethnic heritage.
A new book has just been published entitled “Lithuanians in Michigan,” written by Marius K. Grazulis. This is part of the “Discovering the Peoples of Michigan” series published by the Michigan State University Press. ISBN #978-087013813-3. E-mail: www.msupress.msu.edu. The book is soft cover and 103 pages long. Perhaps you’ve seen other books in this series at bookstores, such as Hungarians in Michigan, Latvians in Michigan, Mexicans in Michigan, Poles in Michigan, etc.
This particular book gives the reader an introduction to the Lithuanian history and the reasons and circumstances they settled in Michigan. It also takes pride in listing the contributions this ethnic group has made in Michigan, and highlights some of their important organizations here.
Of special interest to our readers is the section about Albion. Yes, Albion. Albion is mentioned on pages 33 to 35 as an “out-state” town with a Lithuanian community, and gives a history of the local population. It mentions that most worked at the Albion Malleable Iron Company, and in the case of John Shimkus, the coal mine north of town. It also mentions that Lithuanians are included in the State of Michigan historical marker in front of Riverside Cemetery.
My maternal grandfather was Mike Kulikowski, originally Nikodemas Kulikauskas (1890-1975), a native of Lithuania. He came to America in 1911 and settled in Chicago/Cicero. He came to Albion in 1918 with his family to work at the Malleable. Other early Lithuanian families in Albion includes these surnames: Shimkus, Skridulis, Tautkus, Jasenas, and Baskevich. Others came later, such as Simaskevicius, Knyburys, Prigun, and Powaga.
On page 34 of the book is a classic photograph of my grandfather holding a perch he caught which won a fishing award at the Albion Malleable Iron Company in 1955. From our Historical Notebook we present that photograph. I encourage our readers to get a copy of this book which is available at Books and More, or at other bookstores. You might also like to check out your own nationality heritage book in the series.
Nikodemas Kulikauskas holding award winning perch in 1955
Next: DONALD DUNGEY
All text copyright, 2014 © all rights reserved Frank Passic