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.

ALBION FIRE DEPARTMENT BUILDING

Morning Star, March 25, 2018, pg. 11

In recent weeks the Morning Star has been combined with the Salesman, and I have learned that my weekly articles here are now being carried in Jackson County. I welcome our new readers. Through the years I occasionally have written about Jackson County history; those and my other articles are republished on the www.albionmich.com website. In the search engine there, individually type in topics such as: Jackson Centennial medal, Parma Civil War token, Spring Arbor Seminary, Falling Waters Trail, and Lime Lake, and you can access some of my past Jackson-related articles.

Have you ever wondered what used to be located where the parking lot now sits between the Perkins Block on S. Superior St. and Hungry Howie's Pizza on W. Cass St? This used to be the site of the Albion Fire Department fire station, 107 W. Cass St.

The building was originally constructed in the early 1880s as a warehouse for the Gale Manufacturing Company which was located across the street on the present site of today's City Hall. When the Gale moved to N. Albion St. in 1888, the City of Albion acquired the structure as part of a bonding deal with that concern, and refitted the building into a fire station, a police station, and City Council rooms.

In 1896 a small separate building was erected adjacent to the west to house the police, jail, and city offices, which moved there. That building was remodeled and enlarged in 1917. An extensive remodeling of the Fire Station occurred in 1900 when the first floor was raised about two feet to match the level of the sidewalk, as well as raising the roof about three feet. The sleeping quarters for the firemen were located on the second floor.

When Albion's present City Hall opened in May, 1936, the Fire Department moved to its new headquarters, and the old Fire Station became a storage facility for the City for many years thereafter. The structure was finally demolished on July 9, 1958. The site was turned into a municipal parking lot as it remains such today.

From our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of the front of the fire station, circa 1908. Above the door is the sign "Engine House No. 1."The three firemen standing in front are (left to right) C. Earl Stark, Dan Connors, and Fred Griswold. Behind Connors is an outdoor advertising thermometer hanging on the door advertising Afton A. Dibbles clothing store.

This photograph was produced from a 5 x 7 glass negative, a process customary at the beginning of the 20th century. This writer has recently acquired several such negatives, which were graciously digitized by the Albion College archivist Justin Seidel. How many of our readers remember this building?


Albion Fire Department circa 1908

Next: ALBION 100 YEARS AGO APRIL 1918

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