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, December 12, 2010, pg. 6

In the winter water tower photo published in the November 28 edition of this column, the children have been identified as (left to right): Chris Chopper, then the trio of Cynthia Chopper, Cherie Young, and Ron Bramble. Special thanks to Ruth Dean for those identifications.

Now is the best time to purchase my Albion history books as Christmas gifts at the Albion Chamber of Commerce. Youíll still have time to ship them to relatives across the country, or place them under the artificial tree in your home for Christmas morning. I suggest either "Growing Up in Albion," or "Albion in Review."

One popular hangout place for anyone who lived in Albion during the 1950s and 1960s was the Rainbow Dairy Bar, located at 100 E. Erie St. This ice cream parlor was more popularly known as "Sullivanís," known for the Sullivan brand of ice cream made at the prominent dairy in Battle Creek which owned it in the 1930s and 1940s. Sullivanís offered a variety of dairy products and dessert items such as sundaes, sodas, soft drinks, and lunch-grill items such as hamburgers and cheese sandwiches.

Sullivanís was located in the old original headquarters of the Commercial & Savings Bank in the Irwin Block. The dťcor included decorative leaded glass upper windows which ordained both sides of this corner location.

The local history of Sullivanís goes back to the early 1930s. It is first listed as "Dairy Store" in the 1934 Albion City Directory. In the 1937 Directory it is listed as the Sullivan Dairy Store; the manager was Loren Skinner. In the 1939 Directory, the manager was Edward Tessmer. The 1941 Directory lists Melvin Orwig as the manager. In the 1944 Directory the manager was a woman, Irene Podayko. The 1948-48 directory lists it as the Sullivan Milk Products, managed by Arden Longnecker. The yellow pages classified the business as a Confectionary, rather than a dairy or restaurant.

Nicholas Kalvalaris purchased the business around 1950, and changed the name to the Rainbow Dairy Bar. People still kept calling it Sullivanís, however. Kalvalaris had formerly operated the popular Sugar Bowl at 104 S. Superior St. in the 1940s before selling it to Charles Christner. Kalvalaris operated the Dairy Bar for five years. He then sold it to Gambles Store manager Bernie Steimel (1924-1969) in January, 1955. Steimel operated it until his death in December, 1969.

After Steimelís death, the business was purchased by Danny Earl, who operated it during the 1970s under the name of "Danís Dairy Bar." Earl also owned Frosty Danís on N. Eaton St. John Lautenslauger purchased the business in the 1980s and shorted the name to The Dairy Bar. It is last listed in the 1990 Albion City Directory. In 1992 the business was purchased by Roger Howard and renamed Franzonis. It was only in existence for a short period of time.

From our Historical Notebook this we present a photo of "Sullivanís" taken in May, 1956. Notice the Coca-cola sign above the door. On the second floor above the Coca-cola sign is the office of local attorney Theodore Van Dellen. During the 1950s when space was at a premium, many of Albionís professional practitioners had their offices on second floors of downtown Albion buildings.

How many of our readers remember "Sullivanís?"

Sullivan's Rainbow Dairy Bar in May, 1956


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