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.

LIME LAKE MARL DISCOVERED BY ALBION MAN, Part 1

Morning Star, April 22, 2018, pg. 4

A mile south of Spring Arbor is Lime Lake, a popular water sports (including scuba diving) and walking/biking recreation area for area residents. The Falling Waters Trail goes through the middle of the lake. Along the Trail are historical markers giving the history of the area. Lime Lake is actually a dug-out lake, with the work being accomplished in the early 20th century for the mining of marl. You can read about it in the book "Spring Arbor Township 1830-2013"pgs. 60-62 which includes a drawn map showing what the contour looked like before the lake was dug.

The Albion Recorder reported on January 22, 1903, "A side track is being built at Spring Arbor station; buildings and machinery will soon be put up and in place for the shipment of marl for the manufacture of Portland cement."Thus began the digging of what eventually became known as Lime Lake.

But what is the background of the discovery of the marl at this site? The Albion Recorder published a very interesting article on July 9, 1919 pg. 2 entitled "Albion Man Discovered Valuable Marl Beds,"which we are presenting in this column in two parts.

The article begins: "A visit to the marl beds of the Peerless Portland Cement Company of Union City which are located at Spring Arbor station is of great interest not only because of the immensity of the beds themselves and the manner in which the company is handling the natural product, but because of Albion's connection with this enterprise. The story would read like an adventure or a romance were it not that it deals with such commonplace everyday stuff as marl."

"Commonplace, did we say? Rather quite uncommon, for nowhere else in Michigan is found marl so pure, so fine and so adapted to immediate use as is this from the Spring Arbor beds. Uncommon too from a viewpoint other than materialistic and this is where the romance of the story comes in."

"Carry yourself in imagination back ages and eons ago into the time of our world's creation. Picture the myriad colonies of crustacea that some glacial force swept into a shapeless mass, crushing and grinding beneath the debris of rock and earth until they were buried far beneath the surface to lie through countless years before science and industry should bring them once more to the light and utilize them for the pleasure and comfort of mankind."

"Pick up a handful and not the tiny shells that housed the tiny tenants. As the dredge goes deeper the shells are no longer distinguishable being crushed to a fine powder by the pressure from above. So much for the prehistoric part of our story. And now we come to the part where Albion enters."

From our Historical Notebook this week we feature an underwater photograph of "a mountain of marl" found in Lime Lake today in Spring Arbor. How many of our readers have been to Lime Lake recently? TO BE CONTINUED.


Underwater photograph of a "Mountain of Marl"

Next: LIME LAKE MARL DISCOVERED BY ALBION MAN, Part 2

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All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

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