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, November 21, 1993, pg. 16

Marshall has its fountain, Jackson has its Cascades. But soon, Albion will have its three--that’s right, THREE illuminated fountains in the Kalamazoo River--all thanks to the Albion Civic Foundation. The Albion Civic Foundation recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, and announced this $25,000-worth grant to the community at its gala event this past November 7.

The Albion Civic Foundation has funded nearly a half-million dollars in grants to the community in various forms over its 25 year history, including the sponsorship of some of this writer’s books. It was a privilege and honor to write the Foundation’s 25 year history, in a book just published by the Foundation, entitled, “Presenting 25 Years of the Albion Civic Foundation.” In it, I highlight the various projects the Foundationhas been involved in, and include a complegte list by year of each project the Foundation has funded. The book contains over 50 photographs, and is 60 pages in length. I encourage our readers to stop by the Albion Volunteer Center at 203 S. Superior St. or call the Albion Civic Foundation at (517) 629-3349 in order to obtain a copy for your own home library.

The Foundation was the brainchild of philanthropist Thomas T. Lloyd (1912-1978), a grandson of “Albion’s Most Distinguished Citizen,” the Hon. Washington Gardner (1845-1928). Lloyd served as vice-president of the Albion Malleable Iron Company for many years, a firm which his grandfather had helped found in 1888. He also served as executive vice-president of the successor firm, Hayes-Albion Corporation.

Lloyd was concerned about Albion, and wanted to see a nice-looking vibrant downtown district. He also envisioned the development of the Kalamazoo River as it flowed through Albion into parks and recreation areas. Lloyd envisioned a $10 million endowment fund for Albion, to be used for the enrichment of its people and the surrounding area. The original board of diretors of the Foundation were: Thomas T. Lloyd, Blair Bedient, James Boughter, Victor Burstein, Frank Costello, Paul Ewbank, David Farley, Tom Feldpausch, and Richard Weatherford.

Lloyd personally funded the early projects of the Foundation, and also dontaed shares of Hayes-Albion stock to help the Foundation begin its community endowment fund. Most importantly along this line however, was the $413,956 willed from Mr. Lloyd’s estate, given to the Foundation in November, 1981. As a result of this large donation, along with the donations of hundreds of Albion residents and supporters, the endowment fund of the Foundation has grown to over $1.2 million. The interest and dividends, earned each year represent the amount of money available in grants.

It has been said that Jesse Crowell (1787-1872) was “Albion’s Greatest Benefactor.” After all, he was the major force in the early development of our community, donated the land for what is now Albion College, laid the village plat, gave the land for the cemetery, brought the Post Office here, and so forth.

But perhaps we should now consider giving that title to the late Thomas T. Lloyd, who has left Albion with a permanent community endowment fund, for the benefit of all of its citizens. From our Historical Notebook this week, we present a photograph of Thomas T. Lloyd. I again encourage our readers to get a hold of a copy of my latest book, and read of the accomplishments and projects of this worthy organization. I know I was thankful that this group funded some of my books. You’ll be amazed at the wide variety of projects contained in the lengthy listing at the end of the book, and perhaps it might encourage you to make a donation to the Foundation to help increase it’s endowment fund.

Since we are approaching the Christmas season, you might like to consider giving Albion history books as gifts to your friends, and out-of-town relatives who moved away from Albion years ago. My books are available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce.

I would like to take the time here to thank those of you who have donated various photographs and historical materials to this historian for his Albion history archives. This helps me greatly when thinking up topics for this column, and to be able to have a picture to go with it. These items include old city directories, family photographs, downtown photographs, and other materials.

Thomas T. Lloyd


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