Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, January 15, 2017, pg. 9
Here’s another railroad article for our readers this week. Did you know that there used to be a railroad spur which serviced the Albion Elevator and the 1845 Stone Mill on S. Superior St? The railroad was once the major shipping method in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A spur track was laid around the turn of the century from the main Michigan Central Railroad tracks just east of S. Monroe St. by the Wilder’s Lumber Yard (later Citizen’s Lumber Company), and headed west across the “Gothic Mill”raceway which serviced the “White Mill”on E. Cass St., across the main Kalamazoo River. The tracks then ended between the two mill buildings. In 1917 the Albion Elevator building was moved back behind the alley and the old Stone Mill was turned into a bank, as the latter remains today. The Albion Elevator continued using the spur track until around 1940, at which time trucks began servicing the business. The track was last used in 1946 to serve the Service Caster and Truck Corporation, which had been renting the old Maple City Dairy building (later known as the Albion Meat Locker building).
The railroad spur bridge over the Kalamazoo River gradually deteriorated, and was torn up the first week of December, 1948, along with the tracks and spur line. The line remained at the Citizens Lumber Company, but was eventually abandoned there too and disconnected from the main line. You can still see a small section of what is left today of this spur in the Citizen’s parking lot. Take a look and give them some business as long as you are there.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1908 map of the Market Place area showing the route this spur line took. Note: The “extra River”on the left behind the Mill is actually the tail raceway flowing from the Commonwealth Power Company generating plant on E. Erie St. Water-powered electric generating ended here in 1948, and the race was filled in September, 1953.
1908 Market Place railroad map
Next: CHAIN DAIRIES
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic