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.

GEORGE W. PERKINS BLOCK

Morning Star, March 9, 2014, pg. 7

The fire in the building at 100-102 S. Superior St. on February 21 reminds us of that location and of the long tenure of drug stores that were once located there.

This building is known as the George W. Perkins Block. Construction began in May, 1900. The Albion Recorder reported in its local news on May 24, 1900: "Work on the trenches for the new Perkins block was commenced yesterday morning. Mr. Perkins will erect a brick block two stories in height, to consist of a wide and a narrow store fronting Superior St. and a third fronting Cass St. adjoining the city hall." Back then the fire department and city hall were located where the parking lot is today behind the building. The storefront on the side at 111 W. Cass St. (the storefront is still there) was for many years Hahn’s Shoe Hospital. I will need a close-up photo of that store in order to write about it, if anyone has one.

Mr. Perkins was a local coal, wood and fuel merchant and the local representative of the Standard Oil Company. George (1853-1920) was a native of Tekonsha. Perkins also owned a building over the Kalamazoo River which collapsed during the Great Flood of 1908. Look on the bottom of pages 52 and 53 and the top of page 54 of my latest book "Albion [Postcards]." You’ll see his name on the top side of the building.

George had been in the fuel business here since the 1880s, and in the 1890s was partner with Francis E. Steele until 1900 (Perkins & Steele). The latter year is when George erected his new building. In that same year his future son-in-law Louis McDougal (1874-1938) began working for him. George’s daughter Elizabeth (1875-1959) married Louis in 1901. Louis subsequently purchased the business from his father-in-law in 1907, and retained ownership of the building until his death. Elizabeth and Louis’ daughter Elizabeth "Betty" (1915-2002) McDougal was married to local industrialist Gardner R. Lloyd (1914-2004).

If you look in the lower right hand corner of the Perkins Block by the sidewalk you can see his name on the cornerstone which states, "G.W. PERKINS 1900." The chip of the corner occurred during the sidewalk reconstruction in the early 1960s when a back-hoe hit it.

Most of us remember the building as being the home of Brownridge Drugs. It was first the home of Homer Blair’s Drug-Book Store during its first decade of existence, succeeded by Louis Van Gorden’s Drugs in 1912, and later Brownridge Drugs in 1945. After Brownridge’s it became Carrington Drugs in 1964. After Carrington’s closed, numerous businesses have rented the downstairs through the years. The upstairs has been used for apartments.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a late 1940s photograph of the outside of the Perkins Block, featuring Brownridge Drugs. How many of our readers remember this building in this way?


Late 1940s view of the Perkins Block

Next: MICHIGAN CENTRAL DEPOT ORIGINALLY MUCH SMALLER


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All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

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