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, August 1, 1993

With this article we’ll conclude our series on the 1890 Bird’s Eye View of Albion by artist Clemens J. Pauli of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This week we are featuring the northeast section of town, around Albion College. Of course in the lower right hand corner stands the college buildings at that time: North and South Halls, with the Central Building in the center. Central Building was later renamed Robinson Hall. It later burned and the present Robinson Hall was erected on the site. Immediately benind that is a small building, called the Bell House. The first college classes were held here, and this is where the Indian students boarded during the 1840s and 1850s. The Bell House was later moved to the Wilder’s Lumber Yard along the railroad track spur on the west side of S. Monroe St., and was demolished in the early 1960s. The other college building, the Observatory, can be easily seen by itself on the sparse college campus.

The magnificant Groff House can be easily seen on the corner of Ingham and Cass Sts. This home was demolished by Albion College in the late 1950s when Goodrich Chapel was built. The 1845-built Adobe House, also torn down by Albion College in the 1980s, can be seen here on the corner of Perry and Hannahs St. Notice that what is Hannah St. today has an “s” at the end. This is because it was named after Marvin Hannahs, Albion’s first banker who lived in the large white home just to the left (south) of present-day Bellemont Manor near where the street begins. Somehow the “s” was dropped around the turn of the century.

On the north side of Michigan Avenue, there are two large clumps of trees--one in the center, and one on the right. The one in the center shows, and one on the right. The one in the center shows a large home. This was the elegant Victorian home of Dr. Stephen Munroe, which was decorated similar to the Gardner House Musuem. The house was originally the home of Jesse Crowell, “Albion’s Greatest Benefactor.” This house, too, was torn down by Albion College. It was demolished in the 1920s to make room for Susanna Wesley Hall. Just to the right of it on the corner of Burr Oak St. is an Octagon house. This is an interesting topic which we hope to cover later sometime.

The right clump of trees features the home of Andrew Mason Ritch, Methodist Clergyman and an important figure at Albion College. Fitch Street is named after him. Later the home was purchased by College professor Delos Fall, and it was here that the hymn “The Old Rugged Cross” was written by Rev. George Bennard in December, 1912. The land had been originally owned by Paul Tenney Peabody, Albion’s first settler.

In the northern distance we can see the steam engine of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad heading towards Deveraux, Springport, Eaton Rapids, Diamondale, and Lansing. The tracks from Lansing to Springport were abandoned in 1940, and from Springport to Albion in 1969.

It is quite apparent that the northeast section of Albion was thriving in the vicinity of Albion College. If you live in this section of town, check to see if your home was there in 1890 by looking at this map.

* Photo Credit Information Below

1890 Bird's Eye View of Albion

More about the Birds Eye View Map of 1890


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* Photo Credit Information: Images with this code are from the
"Albion Historical Society Collection / Local History Room / Albion Public Library Collection"