Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, March 9, 2013, pg. 14
Spring is the season for severe weather. In Albion’s history we’ve escaped "killer" tornados unlike some other communities in south-central Lower Michigan. We have had a few however. One of the more significant one occurred one hundred years ago, on March 21, 1913.
On Friday morning, March 21, 1913 at around 8:30 a.m. a tornado struck the city, incurring the most damage at the Albion Malleable Iron Company plant on N. Albion St. on the western side of town. Fortunately, no one was killed. About fifteen men were working in the pattern room at the time. The two-story brick building began to shake, and the south wall collapsed. The twister lifted up the roof and propelled it to a railroad coal-car north of the building 80 feet away. Four freight cars were also badly damaged by the storm. The pattern room was completely destroyed, resulting in damage to the amount of $10,000. Ironically, the Malleable carried no cyclone insurance and the pattern department had to move elsewhere for several weeks until a replacement building could be erected.
At the nearby corner of Austin Avenue and N. Albion St., electric transmission wires were blown down in several places, including three spans of wire. This resulted in a loss of electric power to the plant. In order to keep the furnaces running and the furnaces going in order to keep the iron from hardening, other factories in town that still had electricity, shut down for the rest of the day. The city thereby was able do direct remaining electricity in town to the Malleable as a stop-gap measure, and electrical service was restored by the end of the day. Other damage occurred at the nearby Gale Manufacturing Company, where roofs of some warehouses were blown loose, and windowpanes were broken.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Malleable workers walking among the debris of the destroyed pattern room. Next week: Storm damage across town.
Malleable workers walking among the debris of 1913 tornado
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic