Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, March 22, 2015, pg. 11
The replacement of the rusted Bohm Theatre marquee last year with a shiny new duplicate has certainly spiffed up the downtown Albion scenery. It certainly is an attractive landmark which serves as an example of what can be done to revitalize our downtown district.
With a new hotel scheduled to be built across the street this year, patrons will definitely want to find places to shop and eat within walking distance. They will also be looking at how Albion is improving the look of our downtown district.
There is one object near the Bohm Theatre marquee that also needs to be revitalized and spiffed up just like the Bohm Theatre marquee was. It is the old City Bank & Trust Company time-temperature sign. This sign was a landmark for many years and a dependable "old friend" to many Albion residents who relied on it for the latest time and/or temperature in Fahrenheit degrees. Many important decisions were made in downtown Albion through the years by persons who were guided by its information. The sign blinked alternating between the two, and you could always depend on it to tell you the correct time. The sign also proudly touted the drive-through service that the bank added in the 1950s.
Through the years the sign had some mechanical problems, and of course the bank underwent mergers. At one point the "Celsius" temperature was ‘snuck in there, which residents didn’t understand or like, since it was probably part of a conspiracy to get us to switch over to the metric system. Still, the sign kept on blinking back and forth with its glowing light bulbs, until it could blink no more. That blinking sign became blank.
It was covered over with a dull grey panel, and the name of the new First Merit Bank was plastered on the face along with an ATM sign. It certainly is not being utilized for the purpose it was intended for. People miss the time-temperature sign and want it back. It was part of Albion’s downtown shopping experience, and was a practical asset to those shopping, eating, and banking in downtown Albion.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present "Then and Now" photographs. The first photograph shows the City Bank & Trust Company time-temperature sign in all its glory, proudly displaying those 100 degrees on a hot summer’s day in August, 1964. Our "Now" photograph shows how that sign looks like today, covered up much like the second story windows of Albion’s downtown buildings have also been boarded up and painted over. That’s the "old" Albion.
With the "new Albion" in the making, surely the time-temperature sign should be included in the plans for the future. There must be an artist somewhere who could design a new time-temperature sign that meets aesthetic considerations, as well as practical uses for the bank itself. As the time-temperature is restored, it will be a reflection of the vibrant rebound our downtown district will be experiencing building-by-building in the months ahead. Albion residents have been waiting too long for this sign to be resurrected. It’s time to let the bank know and see if something can be worked out so they can join the "new Albion" that is in the making.
Next: PARKER-KESSLER BLOCK
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic