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, July 17, 2011, Pg. 16

We welcome members of the Albion High School Class of 1971 (class of yours truly) which is holding its 40th anniversary reunion this weekend. Gosh, has it been that long?

It has been one of Albion’s recent improvements that help make Albion a better place to live: the new, improved Rieger Park pond. While those of my generation remember it as a place to skate during the winter, our newer generations will be remembering it as a place to swim in the summer. What a 180 degree switch! Have you seen how popular this new swimming pond has become? It’s nice to see something this successful here in town.

I’ve purposely avoided doing a "then and now” series in this column. You know what I mean: Feature a picture from 100 years ago, and then show a picture of how the same scene looks today. Such a series could be highly controversial (especially in the vicinity of Albion College) as well as depressing in other areas of town where factories once employed hundreds of persons. It is interesting however to make comparisons of "then and now,” and this week we’ll do just that.

If you look northeast from the Rieger Park shelter towards the Kalamazoo River you’ll see a building that was built right over the river itself! This was a horse and carriage barn that was probably constructed (or rebuilt over) after the Great Flood of 1908. Of course no one could get away with building something like that over the river today, but in those days you could.

This barn, house and property at 406 Linden Avenue was owned by Andrew Emmons (1847-1916), a local music dealer in the early 20th century. Emmons sold pianos, organs, and musical merchandise from his establishment at 108 E. Erie St. He was also a city alderman. I featured Andrew in my 1999 "Musician’s Tour of Riverside Cemetery.”

I recently acquired a picture postcard circa 1910 (that’s the "then”) featuring this carriage barn, which we are illustrating this week here in our . The view is taken "about even” with the Rieger Park shelter, but on the east side of the main river. The view looks north towards E. Erie St. Notice the Emmons carriage barn. In the distance on the left is the tower of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which was demolished in 1960. In the distance center is the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union building on E. Erie St. which burned in December, 1944. Next is a photo taken by yours truly just last week (that’s the "now”) showing a similar scene. Which one do you prefer: then, or now?

Emmons Carriage Barn, Then (circa 1910)

Emmons Carriage Barn, Now


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