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, August 23, 2015, pg. 10

For many Albion residents, Wednesday is "garbage day" here in town, as those big blue plastic containers are hauled out to the curb for pick-up by a prominent regional provider. It is interesting to see how many days some individual containers are left "at the street" throughout the week once the garbage has been picked up. It can be impossible to take a photograph of some of Albion’s streets without having a garbage container included as part of the picturesque scene.

The 1939 survey and report by George G. Fassnacht entitled "Home Hygiene and Sanitary Survey in Albion, Michigan," sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the Calhoun County Health Department contains some very interesting information about our community, including garbage service in town at the time. Here is what the report states, beginning on page 18:

"Mr. Paul P. Nagle, City Clerk of Albion, states that there is one garbage collector licensed by the City, as provided by City ordinance. This survey shows one other white man who makes a business of collecting garbage. Numerous Negro trash collectors will pick up garbage and take it to the city dump, but the two men mentioned above transport their refuse outside the city and feed it to hogs."

"Mr. Frank A. Gross, the licensed collector, runs a sheet metal and furnace repair shop at 120 W. Porter St. He started collecting garbage in an effort to keep his men employed during slack periods. His service is priced at 15¢ per home per week if no garbage can is furnished, and 25¢ per week when he furnishes the can. If time permits, he manufactures the cans in his own shop. He has a new truck which he keeps covered and in good condition."

"After being emptied in the piggery, the cans are washed with hot water, then repaired or painted as required. They are supplied with "flytight" covers at all times. A clean can is left at the doorstep when a full can is collected."

"Mr. William Dopp, 800 N. Monroe St., is the other white collector. I am sorry to say that his equipment and methods do not compare with those described above. Perhaps we are worrying too much about the method of collection and not enough about the ultimate disposal of all of the garbage."

"Only 6.3% of the homes surveyed had their garbage collected at all, and not more than half of them patronized the licensed collector. About 35% of the occupants claimed to bury or burn their garbage, which we consider a "passable" method of disposal. And 58.4% of the people threw their garbage to the chickens, spread it on the garden, or put it on some dump."

From our Historical Notebook this week we present the photograph of Frank A. Gross’ garbage truck facing south along S. Eaton St., parked on the east side of the historic David Peabody house (demolished during Urban Renewal in the 1960s). W. Erie St. is to the far right with the historic Warner house in the distance. The sign on the Chevy garbage truck states, "GARBAGE SERVICE Phone 367." How many of our readers remember when instead of hiring a garbage collector, you could "do it yourself" and take your garbage to the "city dump (wherever it might have happened to be located)?"

Frank A. Gross’ garbage truck

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - SEPTEMBER 1915

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