Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, January 30, 2011, pg. 5
I hope Albion citizens will attend the public meeting MDOT "big-wigs" will be holding regarding this year’s replacement of the M-99 bridge by the cemetery and the proposed "official" detour route. You might be surprised. Furthermore, downtown "bumpy brick" Superior St. is in dire need of repairs as the 1940-laid base has deteriorated significantly in many spots in recent months. We all know where. Since traffic will already be down because of the bridge replacement, this would be the logical year for MDOT to make these repairs so our merchants don’t suffer even more projects in future years. Let MDOT officials know your opinions. Call City Hall for more information about this public meeting.
Regarding our December 12, 2010 edition of this column about the Sullivan’s Dairy Store, we have discovered the original name of an ice cream establishment at this location. The 1934 Albion City Directory lists the "Jack Frost Dairy Store" at 401 S. Superior St., managed by Loren Skinner. When Sullivan’s took over the same location a few years later they changed the address to 100 E. Erie St.
Now for this week’s article. One prominent place where people went to get their automobile serviced, tires repaired, and gas for many years was at Woody’s Service Center, located at 101 N. Clinton St. (also known as 200 W. Cass St.) across the street from the Albion Fire Department. Byron Wooden (1904-1974) owned and operated this facility for over 35 years.
Byron was a native of Hanover in Jackson County, and a graduate of Hanover High School. He also attended the Augubright Business School. He came to Albion during the Great Depression in 1932, and located his business in the old wooden Rousseau Harness Co. building on the northwest corner of Clinton and Cass Sts.
In 1956 the wooden structure was demolished, and a new modern service station was constructed in it’s place. It’s location right across the street from the Albion Fire Department made it a convenient location. Here Woody fixed cars, sold tires (Firestone), mufflers, and gas. Also in 1956 Woody married his second wife, Bernice (1901-2000). The couple lived at 112 W. Erie St. Woody operated the station through the l960s until he suffered a dehabilitating stroke. The business was purchased by Duane Ruff, who continued into the 1970s until the property was purchased by Chemical Bank. Woody’s Service Center was then demolished for parking for its new Chemical Bank Branch office next door at 220 W. Cass St.
Wooden was an avid area bowler in the Albion and Homer bowling leagues. He also served as a president of the Albion Kiwanis Club. Byron was also known as "Gridiron Woody," and would post football scores at his establishment, as well as make predictions of winners. Following his death in 1974, he was buried in Hanover Cemetery as was his wife in 2000.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Byron Wooden, and the 1956-built service station many of our readers patronized. How many of our readers remember Byron Wooden?
1954 portrait of Byron Wooden (1904-1974)
All text copyright, 2013 © all rights reserved Frank Passic