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.

CIVIL DEFENSE IMPORTANT IN THE 1950s

Morning Star, September 22, 2019, pg. 3

Civil Defense was a main theme across the country during the 1950s, as the possibility of nuclear war loomed in the minds of our citizens. Fallout shelters were established locally to protect citizens in case of atomic attack. These buildings were marked with a Fallout Shelter sign, such as at the U.S. Post Office, City Hall, City Bank & Trust Company, and others. In fact, the sign at our Albion Post Office is still there here in 2019, albeit a bit faded. These shelters were stocked with barrels of water, food, and other supplies. Up in Charlotte, there was a fallout shelter manufacturer that was in existence, and a small handful of Albion residents actually built their own shelters in their basements.

A Ground Observer Corps group was formed in July, 1952 as part of the nationwide Civil Defense program. Volunteers manned the roofs of the Parker Inn Hotel beginning in 1952, and the roof of Albion City Hall beginning in 1955 for the purpose of spotting Communist airplanes. If a plane had more than two engines, they were to call the Grand Rapids Filter Center immediately.

Yours truly remembers nuclear "drills" at Dalrymple Elementary School in the late 1950s. We practiced going into the basement and putting our heads under the desks there. That was supposed to protect us against the radiation fallout, I guess. There were also community drills held in downtown Albion, where participants practiced going to the fallout shelters.

National Civil Defense week was observed from September 9 through the 15th, 1956. All age groups were encouraged to participate. Locally, Albion Boy Scouts distributed Civil Defense awareness posters to local residents, as well as "register to vote" posters. From our Historical Notebook this week we show a photograph of scout Jim Sanders on the left, of Explorer Post No. 2 of the Bethel Baptist Church holding a poster that states, "Serving You in time of emergency. Support Civil Defense." On the right we see Alan Campbell of Boy Scout Troop No. 58 of the First Methodist Church holding a voting poster.

Also illustrated this week is that familiar Fallout Shelter sign, featuring the radiation emblem in the center. How many of our readers were ever in one of the community fallout shelters or served in the Ground Observer Corps?


Civil Defense Boy Scouts, Jim Sanders on the left, Alan Campbell on the right


Fallout Shelter sign

Next: WEST WARD SCHOOL PHOTO IDENTIFIED

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All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

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