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.

URBAN RENEWAL ALTERED LANDSCAPE OF ALBION

Morning Star, October 23, 2011, pg. 11

The Austin School 6th grade girls photo published in the October 9 edition of this column was taken around 1946. The girl in the center with black hair and her hands down at her sides is Barbara Nutt. Special thanks to Joyce Landenberger for her helpful information. Joyce told me these girls were members of the Albion High School Class of 1952.

It was good to see the County tear down several dilapidated abandoned houses in Albion in recent weeks. It has been interesting going through old city directories learning about who used to live in them when Albion had better economic times. Hopefully the removal of even more structural eyesores here will help towards revitalization attempts.

A more extensive major tearing down of houses in Albion occurred in the 1960s and 1970s as the Urban Renewal project targeted numerous substandard houses in the western part of our city. The project was very controversial, as entire neighborhoods were demolished. Many of them had formerly housed workers of the Albion Malleable Iron Company and their families. These persons were subsequently moved to housing projects in various locations throughout the city.

While many houses were torn down, not too many were constructed on the same location to replace those that had been demolished. The "urban development” part of the plan was only partially realized. If you take a drive through the western part of town between W. Erie and W. Cass Streets, you’ll see a significant amount land is vacant even today 40 years later, or has been turned into parks.

From our this week we present a 1967 photo showing an official Urban Renewal sign, and a crane demolishing houses in the neighborhood. The sign states in capital letters, "This slum clearance and urban redevelopment project is being undertaken with Federal aid under Title 1 of the Housing Act of 1949 as amended through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.” How many of our readers were displaced by Urban Renewal?


1967 Urban Renewal sign and crane

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - November 1911


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