Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, October 16, 2016, pg. 14
Across the street from City Hall is a municipal parking lot located between Hungry Howies on the west, and the Perkins Block on the east. This was once the site of Albionís Fire Station, located here from 1888 to 1936 when City Hall was completed.
The Albion "Engine House No. 1" as it was known, was a two-story brick structure located at 105 W. Cass St. The building was originally erected in 1886 as a plow-point warehouse for the Gale Manufacturing Company. The main Gale plant was located across the street which included land where City Hall now sits. When the Gale firm moved to its new location on N. Albion St. in 1888, they sold their warehouse site to the City, which transformed it into a new fire station. This was part of a $30,000 bonding deal which kept the Gale firm in Albion. Also on the property next door at 107 W. Cass St. was the Albion Police Department, and later, city offices until they too, moved to the new City Hall across the street.
The station held two horse drawn fire fighting wagons and two teams of horses. Sleeping quarters for the fireman occupied part of the second floor, with the other part being used as storage space for hay needed to feed the horses.
After the Fire Department moved into its new headquarters on the west end of the City Hall building in 1936, the old brick fire station was used as a city storage building, including the storage of old fire trucks and other materials. The bell in the belfry was later removed and placed across the street in front of City Hall on the west side in front of the Fire Department where it remains today. The old fire station building and the former city offices building next door were demolished in July, 1958.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a postcard circa 1910, showing the firemen with their horse-pulled wagon in front of the fire station. Notice the small "Police Station" sign on the right. Long-time fireman Fred Griswold is the driver. One horse was named Daisy. It was one hundred years ago in 1916 that the Albion Fire Department became motorized. The two teams of horses were sold were sold within two years, and the modern horseless era arrived. How many of our readers remember the old fire station building at this location where the parking lot now sits?
Albion Fire Station in 1910
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic