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, January 25, 2015, pg. 3

Albion once had numerous shoe stores, especially in the days when shoes were made of real leather, unlike the "throwaway" molded-in-one-piece shoes we have today. These shoes eventually needed repairs, and local shoe repair shops would install replacement soles and heels to make them last longer.

One longtime early 20th century Albion shoe repair establishment was the Hahnís Brothers Shoe Hospital. Interestingly, in the 1917-18 Albion City Directory it is listed as the Hahnís Shoe & Tire Hospital, specializing in shoe and tire repairs.

Emil (1886-1978) and George (1884-1964) Hahn were sons of German immigrants Otto and Henrietta (Kunde) Hahn. They grew up in Albion, and George purchased his shoe repair business on January 13, 1908. Brother Richard Hahn (1887-1973) first worked with George for several years before leaving, and then in 1914 Emil joined his brother in the business. They put their soles into the business for many years.

Their shop was originally located at 103 W. Cass St. This is the storefront located on the side at the rear of the Perkinís Block on the southwest corner of Cass and Superior Sts. This building suffered an upper story apartment fire last year and is currently not in use.

In the late-1930s they moved down the block to 111 W. Cass St., which was next door to Ted McAuliffeís Tin Shop. The business remained there until it closed on August 26, 1960 after 52 Ĺ years in operation. Their building was torn down and the "Helpy Selfy Laundry" was subsequently erected on the site. Today that is the building that houses "Hungry Howies" Pizza.

George was quite active in the community. He promoted local wrestling matches, and was a baseball team manager for 35 years. He also was a city volunteer fireman until World War II. He was married to Alice Reynolds, and the coupleís two daughters were Georgia Garrison (mother of the late James Garrison who just passed away on December 31) and Nancy Simmers. Emil remained single, and was a member of the local Loyal Order of the Moose.

In addition to repairing shoes, the brothers had on display numerous model airplanes, ships, tanks, and boats made by their nephew, Herman Hahn. These were fashioned from blueprints that Herman had made earlier. The store had a six foot glass case displaying them, and attracted local youth who came into the place.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the Hahn brothers Emil (left) and George (right) standing above one of the model ships in their store. This photo was taken in January 1957, on their 49th anniversary in business. At that time, they estimated that during those 49 years, they had repaired about 147,000 pairs of shoes. Thatís a lot of feet! How many of our readers remember the Hahn Brothers?

The Hahn brothers Emil (left) and George (right)

Next: February 1915 -- Albion 100 Years Ago

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