Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, July 6, 2014, pg. 9
With the remodeling of the building at 104 E. Erie St. into the new location for Subway Sandwiches, we are reminded that this site was for a long time associated with the automotive business. Those who grew up in Albion will remember it as the site of Arnold Tire & Battery during the 1950s and 1960s. That is why there was a driveway ramp and garage door on the right side. But this location was also once the home of Albionís Oldsmobile dealership in the 1920s and 1930s.
The 1926 Albion City Director lists Chester Yarger operating the Yarger Sales & Service at this location. He sold Star and Oldsmobiles. He continued at this location into the early 1930s. In 1927 a man named Dennis Benjamin (1878-1947) came to town from Willis with his wife Grace. Dennis was a native of Eagle, MI, and organized the Okemos consolidated school in 1922 which was one of the first consolidated schools in modern times in Michigan. He later consolidated the Willis school system. His home was at 600 Bidwell St., and later at 423 Darrow St.
Dennis purchased the Albion Reo Sales which he ran at 110-112 E. Michigan Avenue, as listed in the 1930 Albion City Directory. In the 1934 Directory however, he is listed as the owner of the local Oldsmobile dealership formerly owned by Yarger at 104 E. Erie St.
In the 1939 City Directory his dealership is listed a few doors away at 112 E. Erie St., next to the old G.A.R. Hall. In the 1941 Directory however he is listed as selling real estate at that address under the name of Acme Realty Company, with no mention of Oldsmobile at that time. Dennis operated his real estate firm until his death in 1947.
Arthur F. Smith (1891-1977) was a prominent part of the Oldsmobile business and was in charge of serving autos. He lived at 1005 S. Superior St., and later at 409 Irwin Avenue with his wife Ethel, and two daughters, Inez and Norma. The family later lived at 112 W. Oak St. Arthur began working at Union Steel Products beginning around 1917 and eventually retired from there in 1957 after 40 years of service. He is listed however as working at the Yarger garage beginning with the 1926 directory.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of a special Oldsmobile that was painted up for Albionís Centennial Parade in July, 1935, parked in front of the dealership. Some of the words on the car include: Hydraulic Brakes, All silent Syncro-mesh transmission, Knee action wheels, Center controlled Oldsmobile steering, Reinforced steel bodies, Style, and Leadership." The name of Dennis Benjamin appears on top. On the dealership windows are painted the words, "Oldsmobile. Dennis Benjamin Sales. A.F. Smith Service."
Also in this found partially in this photo on the right at 102 E. Erie St. is the Independent Meats & Grocery operated by Harry Warson, otherwise known as the "Warson Market." On the left at 106 E. Erie St. is the photograph studio of Harlan A. Ludwig.
A special Oldsmobile painted up for Albionís Centennial Parade in July, 1935
Next: WATCH BURNHAM
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic