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, September 19, 2010, pg. 8

This weekend has been a time of celebration with our Festival of the Forks. I hope you were able to get out and enjoy one of the many activities being held. From our this week we present a present-day scene of the skating pond cleanup at Rieger Park, located near The Forks. The muck has been dug out and sand is now being spread as a base. The skating shelter is being modernized, and in the future both ice skating and swimming will become commonplace in this revitalized pond. Even the fish will be cleaner.

I would like to propose that the modernized shelter be named the "Joseph McCrackin Skating–Swimming Shelter" in recognition of the many hours this public servant spent there working with the youth who were growing up in Albion. Many of us think of Joe when we think of that shelter and the leadership he gave operating the skating program. It would be a most fitting recognition; I can‘t think of anyone better to name the shelter after. How about it, citizens? Let your city councilperson know your opinion.

With "going green being "in again, I‘d like to remind our readers that Albionites have previously joined movements to clean up pollution here at home.

If you go to the www.earthweek.us website, you‘ll see CBS anchor Walter Cronkite on a video. On Wednesday April 22, 1970, CBS ran a special hour-long report about Earth Day happenings across the United States. Part Four was about the clean-up efforts in Albion which occurred over several days. If you put your cursor at the bottom of the Cronkite video, you‘ll see a string of little images at the bottom. Choose the fourth (Albion) one. Click on that, and you‘ll get the Albion segment immediately. It is 3:20 minutes in length.

That Albion segment was narrated by CBS reporter Hughes Rudd, who began the segment with this spiel: "Albion, population 14,000, likes to call itself =manufacturing city USA.‘ But the city has a problem: Iron foundries.

Well, I have some good news. Today we have none of those "problems anymore: no large population, we‘re not "manufacturing city USA, nor do we have iron foundries. Hmmm.

Anyway, Rudd then interviews Albion College geology student Walt Pomeroy, who led the college student cleanup of trash and debris along the Kalamazoo River at Water St. and Highland Ave. Students are subsequently shown happily stomping on aluminum cans for recycling. The next segment shows local citizens hauling debris from the Kalamazoo River at N. Albion St. The final segment shows Crowell Elementary School students picking up trash in the school area. That was Albion‘s national claim to fame in those days: being featured on prime time television in a positive light.

I remember those times, as yours truly served on the Kalamazoo River Clean-Up Committee along with Robert Shegog while we were in high school. I encourage you to view the video and see if you can recognize anyone, especially the little children during the Crowell School segment.

Skating Pond Clean-up at Rieger Park (2010)


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