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, August 7, 2011, pg. 14

Is your Albion High School class having a reunion this summer? Don’t forget to have copies of my books "Growing Up in Albion” and "Albion in Review” on hand for your event, or as door prizes. They are available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce.

Just east of town is a short north-south road that goes from Michigan Avenue to Albion Road. Now officially known as 29 ˝ Mile Road, this is historically the Newburg Road. In the 1950s the County began standardizing road names into numbered designations, including Newburg Road. Residents along this stretch still continued to call it by its historic name.

What is the history of this area? In the summer of 1844, Marvin Hannahs (after whom Hannah St. is named) and a Mr. Johnson built Newburg Mills on the east side of the road, on the north bank of the Kalamazoo River. The mill complex consisted of a dam, and a very large structure. It contained a grist, flour, and saw mill. The iron used in building the structure was made and furnished by an Albion blacksmith, Augustus P. Gardner. Newburg Mills became a major processing center for area farmers during much of the 19th century.

In the early 1890s the firm of Amsden & Campbell, purchased the Newburg Mill in order to insure waterpower rights for it’s White Mill downstream on E. Cass St. in Albion. The Newburg Mill was closed in the late 1890s and sat vacant for several years thereafter.

At 1 am. on Saturday morning, April 18, 1903, area residents were awakened by dogs, and saw the entire Newburg Mills structure on fire. Nothing could be done to stop the conflagration, and soon only the dam and gates remained. The latter were eventually removed years later.

Newburg Mills became an attractive site for Albion College students to stroll about, and for young people to swim in the River. During the 1950’s the Newburg Road bridge which crossed the Kalamazoo River was replaced with large tubes, and remain there today.

In October, 1963 the Newburg area was "host" to a smoldering bog fire along Newburg and Erie Rds. which smogged the Albion area for several days. Winds from the east pushed the stinky smog into town which was very uncomfortable and caused many to have headaches.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the closed Newburg Mill shortly before it burned to the ground, courtesy of Duncan Lloyd. How many of our residents still refer to 29 ˝ Mile Road as Newburg Road?

Circa 1963 Photograph of Newburg Mill


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