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.

WASHINGTON GARDNER HIGH SCHOOL, Part 1

Morning Star, November 22, 2009, pg. 28

For your information, the U.S. Census Bureau has just begun testing for Census jobs here in the Albion and other areas for the big 2010 Census count next spring. If you'd be interested in a Census job, call 1-866-861-2010 for further information, and to reserve your seat at a local Census jobs test being held here in Albion. There is a practice test you can download on the www.2010censusjobs.gov website.

Since 1872, a school has sat on E. Michigan Avenue as a landmark where thousands of pupils have been educated and graduated. That may change. Recently it was announced that the historic Washington Gardner school may be closed due to various reasons. This school is older than you think—it was cobbled together in various stages. The oldest part dates back to 1885! During the next few weeks we'll review the history of this memorable facility.

In 1872, the Albion Common Schools erected a "Central School" building in the 400 block of E. Michigan Avenue. This first structure cost a total of $16, 826, including the property which was purchased for $2,500. Classes opened here in November, 1872, and included the high school.

In 1885, the Michigan State legislature granted the Albion district a special charter, and the name was legally changed to the Albion Public Schools. That same year, east and west wings were added to the Central School at a cost of $9,000. George W. Maher (a prominent Albion builder) was the contractor. The new wings meant that more space was available for curriculum expansion.

The capacity of both wings was doubled in 1893, by the construction of additions to the north ends of each wing. A central heating plant was also installed at the same time to replace the single large hot air furnace and a number of wood stoves in individual rooms.

Today, if you look in back of Washington Gardner, you'll see what is left of the original west wing, erected in 1885 and 1893. The top floor has been removed. Many of our readers will remember it as the band room behind the auditorium. From our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of the original Central School, with the 1885/1893-built east and west wings on the side. It was on this site that Washington Gardner High School eventually came into being.


Central School

Next: WASHINGTON GARDNER HIGH SCHOOL, Part 2

WASHINGTON GARDNER HIGH SCHOOL, Part 3

WASHINGTON GARDNER HIGH SCHOOL, Part 4


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