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.

AWNINGS ONCE FILLED SUPERIOR ST.

Morning Star, July 22, 2012, pg. 12

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It has been interesting to observe the intensity of repairs being done to the 1940-laid cement base upon which the 1993-laid bricks lay on Superior St. in downtown Albion, short of laying a new base. Just compare it with the base on the first block by Homestead which was laid in 1993 to show how little it should have worn had a new base been installed at the time on the rest of the street. Remember folks, "It's as solid as a rock!" quoting an MDOT official in the paper last year.

With all this hot weather lately, the air conditioners have certainly been running up the electric bills. Years ago before air conditioning was available, more natural methods were used to help keep the heat down One method was the use of canvas awnings on the storefronts of Albion's downtown merchants.

Many of these awnings had the name of the merchant or establishment printed on the end. They were fastened with a metal mechanism above the first floor level. The merchant would use a pole which had a hook that was used to unroll the awning. For those merchants on the east side of Superior St., the hot sun would usually start shining directly on the front windows around noontime.

The awnings helped keep the heat down, and also protected shoppers from the rain. Many merchants a century ago would display their wares and produce on the front sidewalk. A display of fresh fruit was thereby protected by the awnings. Today the awnings are gone, but their use was certainly a part of historical Albion. For the record, the awning at the Albion Community Foundation/Albion Chamber of Commerce building was removed earlier this year.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1914 photograph of the east side of the 300 block of S. Superior St., showing various awnings that have been opened up and down the street. Nearly every merchant had them. The big building on the corner is the George T. Bullen Company, Albion's huge department store in the early 20th century. Today this is the site of Sander's Furniture. Notice that awnings are placed on both the Superior and Erie St. sides of the building. Notice also under the big awning that merchandise has been placed on the sidewalk for passersby to look at. This of course was before shoplifting was invented.


1914 view of the east side of the 300 block of S. Superior St.

Next: August 1912 -- Albion 100 Years Ago


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