Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, June 6, 2010, pg. 3
This year’s Memorial Day parade on May 31 paused at the Riverside Cemetery bridge in order for John Geyer to throw out the memorial wreath into the Kalamazoo River, as has been the custom here. The Albion schools band played the Navy Hymn as the guns shot a salute. The procession then proceeded to the Veteran’s Memorial Stage in Riverside Cemetery for the remainder of the services.
Next year the custom will have to be interrupted, because the bridge over the Kalamazoo River will be gone. There is no “easy way” to access Riverside Cemetery without the bridge, other than driving to 29 Mile Road to D Drive South, or Irwin Avenue to D Drive South. No doubt parade plans will have to be altered.
Several years ago at a Memorial Day parade, I was walking on the bridge and noticed a hole on the deck, and looked through right down into the water! Over the past several years you may have noticed work that has been done on the bridge, such as a new overlaid sidewalk, or the addition of guardrails. Despite this, the State of Michigan has decided it is time to replace the bridge. Next year perhaps someone should erect a “Short Cut to Albion This Way” sign in Homer with an arrow pointing north at the M-60 and Webster St. (25 ½ mile Rd.) intersection by the PS Mart so traffic will come to Albion via Irwin Avenue. It is my understanding that the official MDOT detour will head traffic along M-60 towards Jackson.
The bridge was erected in 1938 at a cost of $45,000. It replaced an old iron span type that had been erected following the Flood of 1908. The 1938 bridge was erected to handle traffic on the M-9 state highway, later renamed M-99 in 1939. Previous to the 1930s, Irwin Avenue served as the official M-9 route that went to Homer. That’s why some people still refer to it as “old-9.”
The new bridge was dedicated on Thursday, September 8, 1938 at 10 am. by State Highway commissioner Murray D. VanWagoner. The ceremony was part of a weekend Harvest Festival held in Albion. Albion Mayor Norman H. Wiener assisted in the dedication, as the Albion City Band played at the event. It was followed by a luncheon at the Parker Inn Hotel.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1938 photo of Albion’s brand new M-9 bridge by Riverside Cemetery. Notice the light post on the right. There was an electric light on each corner of the bridge, with a globe on top. Very decorative. In the distance is a Consumer’s Power electric tower. Back then, the waters of the millpond were used to generate electricity at the plant on E. Erie St. until shortly after World War II.
1938 photo of Albion’s brand new M-9 bridge by Riverside Cemetery
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic