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, February 26, 2012 pg. 14

In the early 1960s the Albion Public Schools made plans to erect a new high school to replace Washington Gardner High School, which was subsequently turned into a Junior High School. A series of legal battles ensued, and the process was delayed for several years until the summer of 1964. Those details can be found in my 1991 book "A History of the Albion Public Schools," page 57. This is a great reference book, and even contains the list of all graduates of Albion High School year-by-year through 1991. Have you got your copy yet?

On Tuesday July 21, 1964, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site on Watson St. where the new high school was to be built. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photo of that groundbreaking, which feature school board members and officials. Left to right: Albion Mayor-pro tem Lyle Johnson, George Matthews, Henry Dixon, Assistant Superintendents Earl Hogan and (behind him) John Schuring; Dr. Alice Campbell, principal Harry Williams, Pauline Chopper, Otis Myers, and Superintendent Carl Brautigam. In the front is board member Bob Geyer digging with the golden shovel amidst the tarp which had covered the nearby sign at this unveiling. Notice the sign looks like an Alex Chopper sign. How many of our readers were at this event?

Bids were taken in the summer of 1965. The construction contract was awarded to Miller-Davis Company of Kalamazoo, and the architect was the Warren Holmes Company. Construction commenced on September 1, 1965. The school opened for classes on January 9, 1967, and the Class of 1967 was the first to graduate in the new high school.

Using the year it opened as the reference point, our Albion High School building is now forty-five (45) years old! This is the "youngest" facility in our Albion Public Schools. What was the "shelf life" of some of our closed schools? (Note: dates given are those when regular classes were held) Austin School 1912 to 1968: 56 years. Dalrymple School 1918 to 1982?64 years. Washington Gardner building 1928 (final addition) to 2010: 82 years. For those that have remained open: North/Caldwell School 1952 to date: 58 years. Crowell School, 1955 to date: 55 years. Finally, Harrington School: 1957 to date: 53 years.

Tuesday July 21, 1964, Groundbreaking ceremony


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