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, April 24, 2011, pg. 11

We mention in passing the closing of the Snug Barber Shop at 101 W. Porter St. earlier this year. Did you know that here has been a barber shop at this location ever since the building was erected in the 1870s? For example, the 1885 Albion City Directory lists Asbury W. Harrison barbering there. For many years in the early 20th century, The Snug was operated by Chester L. Robinson. The final owner, barber Tom Powers, now barbers in Jackson, according to the sign on the front door. It is the end of an era on W. Porter St.

Letís now walk across the street there on W. Porter St. What is the history of the building next to the Moose that was recently demolished? The Lottie Eslow Block was demolished on Tuesday, January 25. Who? What? When Albionís downtown buildings were erected in the 19th century, they were given names, usually after the merchant who erected them. Traditionally, the first floor contained a business, while the owner and his family occupied the second floor. Another option was the second floor was used for rental offices, or for rental apartments.

The Lottie Eslow Block at 110-112 W. Porter St. was erected rather late in downtown Albion history, in the late 1890s. It was named in memory of Lottie (Pierce) Eslow (1840-1871), the first wife of Mr. James C. Eslow (1836-1918). Eslow owned and built the buildings on the entire north side of that block of W. Porter St. Lottie was an 1860 graduate of Albion College. The first business I find listed was in the 1897 Albion City Directory, at 112 W. Porter St., with Alexander Simpson, shoemaker.

One of downtown Albionís only minority businesses at the time, Frank Bennettís pool and lunch room and tavern, operated here in the Lottie Eslow Block from 1917 to 1945. Bennett lived upstairs at 112 Ĺ W. Porter St.

Following Bennettís departure, the main floor served became a laundry and went by various names under successive owners: Albion Self Service Laundry, Two-Hour Laundry operated by Ralph Case, and Tinaís Laundry. The business finally closed in 1995 and the building remained vacant until its demolition on January 25 of this year. From our Historical Notebook this year is a photo of the building shortly before demolition. How many of our readers remember the Albion Two-Hour Laundry?

The Lottie Eslow Block, Porter Street, shortly before demolition in 2011

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - MAY 1911

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