Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, March 23, 2014, pg. 4
Albion has had a number of motels/hotels in its history. This week weíre going way back in time to feature one of our earliest ones. The Parker House Hotel, also known as Parkerís Exchange, was located just north of the Michigan Central Railroad tracks along W. Michigan Avenue, where our Post Office parking lot now sits. It was owned by Charles T. Parker (1815-1882), a native of Mentor, Ohio who came to Albion in 1845.
The hotel was erected in 1839 by Enos Dutton who came here in 1836, and was purchased in 1849 by Mr. Parker. It was a wooden structure. The hotel was conveniently located right next to the railroad just a block from the depot, making it easy to transport people and trunks (suitcases) to and fro. An 1871 advertisement stated, "C. T. Parker, Proprietor. Nearest Hotel to the Michigan Central Depot, Hotel Hack runs Free for all patrons of this House, Horses and Carriages to let."
Historian Dr. Elmore Palmer wrote of him in 1908: "He was a typical landlord, clever and congenial by nature and accommodating to all." His wife was Sarah Beardsley who died in 1899. Unfortunately, their son Sylvester was one of Albionís Civil War casualties. He was shot dead at the battle of Irish Bend in Louisiana in 1863. Some day Iím going to have to compile a list of our Civil War casualties. If you know of any, please e-mail me with the information at Albionfp@hotmail.com which will be a big help. The Parkerís daughter Mary was the wife of Civil War Major Harrison Soule.
Following the death of Mr. Parker in 1882, the building was leased by Henry Van Atta, and became known as the Van Atta Hotel. It continued in operation into the 20th century, but was razed in 1915 to make way for the new U.S. Post Office which was subsequently erected just north of the site.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present an unusual item. It is a metal key tag Mr. Parker had produced advertising his hotel. It is oval in shape and measures 32 mm. long and 19 mm. wide. The obverse design features an American Eagle on top. Below is stamped the text, "C. T. Parker, Globe Hotel, Albion, Mich." The name Globe Hotel was used during the 1870s and is mentioned as such in the 1877 History of Calhoun County.
On the reverse is stamped "Albion Lodge No. 20. I.O.O.F." which was the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The Odd Fellows emblem appears in the center. It consists of three linked chain rings with the letters "F. L. T." standing for "Friendship, Love, and Truth." Albion had several I.O.O.F lodges. The first one was organized on January 22, 1847 and this apparently was that lodge which later disbanded. Other local lodge numbers were 44 (1931), 60 (1883), and 63(1874) . If you want to see the Odd Fellows building and their emblem, look above Dickersonís Music at 129 Ĺ N. Superior St. where Lodge 60 erected their building in 1910.
Parker Hotel tag OBVERSE view
Parker Hotel tag REVERSE view
Next: CALLAHAN BLOCK
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic