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, March 24, 2013, pg. 8

Last week we featured the damage done at the Albion Malleable Iron Company by the tornado which struck Albion one hundred years ago on Friday, March 21, 1913 at 8:30 a.m. Damage also occurred in other areas of the community. Service on the electric-powered Interurban (Michigan United Traction Company) was disrupted for several hours as electric wires and poles were down all along the route.

Several area barns were badly damaged and one was unroofed. These included a horse barn owned by Phil Van Buren on W. Erie St. which collapsed, a large barn owned by James Elliott (present site of Culligan on Austin Ave.), and a barn on the farm of Ed Kinsey which was unroofed. Fortunately, all three had cyclone insurance, unlike the Albion Malleable Iron Company.

At the Ellerby Greenhouse east of town on Michigan Avenue (then called Jackson Road) numerous panes of glass were broken, and five men held down the supports of the greenhouse during the storm in order to keep the structure from leaving its foundations. Further down the road at the "hot houses" of Carl Jacobs, seventy panes of glass were broken.

Various merchant awnings on Superior St. in downtown Albion were torn to shreds. These included those of the Frost Shoe Store, and Robinson’s Jewelry next door. At the nearby Stone Mill (presently the Citizen’s Bank building) the eave-trough was blown loose. The local paper stated, "ridge-boards, shingles and tin roofs galore were blown from their places all over the city."

We’ve had other tornadoes in Albion, particularly one in 1953 which took out trees in Riverside Cemetery and nearby Victory Park. The 1913 tornado was the worst one however. Our community has been fortunate in its history to have escaped the "killer" tornadoes. Some say it is because Albion is in a "hole" next to the forks of the Kalamazoo River; others say it’s because we’ve just been lucky. Whatever the reason(s) may be, the 1913 tornado was the most destructive one we’ve had.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the damage caused by the big tornado of 1913. The first photo shows workers walking amongst the debris. This photograph shows the remains of the pattern building. The second floor has been completely destroyed. Notice the crushed railroad car in front of the building.

The remains of the Malleable Pattern Building after the tornado of 1913

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - April 1913

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