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.


Morning Star, September 23, 2018, pg. 12

This has been a mystery for many years: Who designed the two musical sculpture reliefs on the Band Shell in Victory Park? Thanks to Brian Ewbank, Albion native and Facebook friend, that question has now been answered. It was Samuel Cashwan (1899-1988), a noted architectural artist who served as sculpture supervisor for the Michigan Works Progress Administration art program from 1935 to 1942. This included the time when our Band Shell was erected in 1941. A 1942 newspaper article specifically lists the Albion Band Shell as one of his works. Many public monuments were erected bearing his designs during the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Cashwan was born in Cherkassy (near Kiev), Russia/Ukraine on December 26, 1899. He immigrated with his family to New York City in 1906, and moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1916. Following his service in World War I, Cashwan studied architectural art and became a prominent architectural artist. He taught art at the University of Michigan and headed the sculpture department at the Detroit Society for Arts and Crafts. You can go on the internet and read of his many accomplishments.

A 1942 article about this sculptor states, "Represented in the Detroit Institute of Arts collection, he has executed a head of Mark Twain for the Michigan State Normal College and reliefs for the Albion band shell, Michigan State College music building and the Lansing municipal water conditioning plant." In 1942 Cashwan began working as a sculptor/designer for the General Motors Styling Division, but continued his architectural sculptures on a commission basis. He retired from GM in 1966, and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1971. He died there on August 10, 1988, and was interred in the Raleigh Hebrew Cemetery. His www.findagrave.com memorial listing is No. 90908750.

The band shell was completed in October, 1941, and the first concert was held there on Sunday evening, October 12, 1941. The first piece performed by the Albion City Band was "The Star Spangled Banner."Through the years we have all listened to numerous concerts held here and have always seen those two relief sculptures on each end of the Band Shell. Now we know whom the artist was!

This important sculptor information is definitely something that our local artists could use to perhaps design a plaque or recognition of Cashwan of some sorts to place on the Band Shell. We could become one of the official "sites"to visit for those who are interested in his works. It could be dedicated at Swingin’at the Shell next summer. We’ve got a nice piece of art history right here in Albion, and that would be a good project to work on over the winter months. Would anyone like to spearhead a project such as this?

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the two relief sculptures on the Band Shell in Victory Park, designed by Samuel Cashwan.

Band Shell Art

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - OCTOBER 1918

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