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.

COMPANY HOUSING, Part 1.

Morning Star, October 11, 2015, pg. 4

During the 1900s and 1910s, the Albion Malleable Iron Company erected numerous houses to house its workers and their families. Many of these were immigrants from Eastern European countries who were recruited to work at the Malleable. A condensed settlement of houses were erected just north of the plant foundry, on the site which later became the Company office and parking lot on N. Albion St. and McAuliffe Park. Company houses were also erected along the 801 and 901 blocks of Austin Avenue north of the plant.

The April 5, 1906 edition of the Albion Recorder stated: "Mystery of Land Sale of 30 Acres just North of Malleable Iron Works. Several weeks ago, Fred Brown sold the land on Albion St., just north of the Malleable Iron Works. The buyers name was withheld and many rumors were started. It now develops that the Malleable Iron Company purchased the land and expect to use it for a settlement scheme. Ten new houses are being built and others will be added. These houses have 6 rooms and will be for working men. The difficulty has been to secure houses for the working men and the Malleable people are solving this problem by building their own. Monday, the plan of giving employment to girls as core makers was started and there are a number of women at work. Others will be added to the force. A new core room has been built, and the girls are out of the noise and dust of the factory."

The condensed group of houses north of the foundry became known as the "Foreign Settlement." In the 1917-18 Albion City Directory they are listed as "Factory Place." These houses were occupied until the early 1940s, when they were demolished to make way for a new Company office building and parking lot in 1944.

A year later in 1945, the West End Trailer Park opened north and west of the Malleable office parking lot. By the end of 1949, any remaining Company houses along Austin Ave. were moved elsewhere or demolished, as well as the trailer park being dismantled. McAuliffe Park was subsequently developed on the site.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present an illustration from a 1920 map of Albion showing the "Foreign Settlement." Each number represents a house. Here is the list of each house number and main employee occupant as printed in the 1917-18 Albion City Directory. Names (most are misspelled) are listed here as printed. How many do you recognize?

1. Mike Messina, 2. Mike Mohukalitz, 3. Joe Dimagio, 4. Vido Asaro, 4. Jacob Signorella, 5. C. Signorella, 6. Vacant, 7. Joe Kochuk, 11. Steve Stock, 11. Paul Zatolak, 12. John Scalski, 13. Fred Damski, 13. Paul Lasenewitz, 14. Dom Evala, 15. Jos Bomorita, 16. R. Goliga, 16. Mrs. E. Sowchuk, 21. Jno Mimokod, 22. Harry Swedonowicz, 23. Tony Stahoski, 24. Mrs. May Mikido, 25. Harry Veremy, 26. Mic Budka.


1920 map of Albion showing the "Foreign Settlement."

Next: COMPANY HOUSING, Part 2


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