Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, May 9, 2010, pg. 3
If your Albion High School class is planning a reunion this summer, you might like to consider giving copies of my books “Growing Up in Albion” or “Albion in Review” away as door prizes. The books are still available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce. The unidentified ball player in the 1940 Union Steel Products city softball championship team in our April 11 article has been identified as Gerald Schumacher.
It’s the season for planting vegetables in our gardens. In Albion’s history, gardens were a necessity to help feed large families, especially during the Great Depression. Of course during World WW II, everyone was encouraged to have “victory gardens.” We are fortunate to have a farmer’s market in Albion where locally grown produce is still sold today.
One area of our city which was especially adapted to farming was land along the “Black Ditch.” This low swampy area was a tributary to the Kalamazoo River and ran from River St. to Oak St., through the Dalrymple property, towards Culver St. to Gale St. and back into the River. The ditch itself was transformed into a sanitary sewer line around 1910 but the rich and moist soil remained in the vicinity along the route.
One person who took advantage of this rich farmland was George Grenevitch (1893-1985), a native of Sudelovich, Russia. George came to the U.S. in 1910, and moved to Butler, Pennsylvania where he married his wife Bertha Fusick in 1922. The couple came to Albion in 1928 and had numerous children. George and family lived at 500 S. Pearl St. along the “Black Ditch” area. He was a member of the First Baptist Church. George worked at Union Steel Products as an inspector.
Many people knew George however, as the farmer who raised vegetables on his land and sold them to the public. He would have a sign in front of his house listing the various vegetables that were available for sale. George also had cattle and other farm animals on his property as part of his farming operations. At one point he was told zoning prevented him from obtaining any more farm animals. Those already there however, and their offspring, could remain until they died off.
Today this rich farmland has been overgrown for several decades, but sits as a reminder of the “greening” possibilities that could exist for residents in a post-industrial Albion. From our Historical Notebook this week in lieu of a photo of George’s vegetable sign, we instead present a 1941 photo of city farmer George Grenevitch. How many of our readers remember George?
George Grenevitch (1893-1985)
All text copyright, 2014 © all rights reserved Frank Passic