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, May 8, 1994, pg. 10

Albionís Post Office building was erected during 1916-17, and opened in June, 1917. It was built on the site of the F. M. Manning home, and the Van Atta Hotel, both of which were demolished for the construction of the new Post Office. Prior to that time, the post office was located in the Parker-Kessler Block, erected in 1900 on the northwest corner of Cass and Superior Streets, the present-day site of Albion Floor Covering.

It is a well-known fact that the funds for the erection of Albionís Post Office building were secured by Albionís most distinguished citizen, the Hon. Washington Gardner (1845-1928), who served in the U.S. Congress from 1899 to 1911. Gardner served on the Commission of Appropriations, and was able to have money allocated for Albionís post office.

While it is Gardner who is given the credit for securing the funds for our local post office, it was a black man who built it. Our Albion Post Office was constructed under the supervision of engineer Lowell W. Baker (1869-1933). Mr. Baker was at that time the only black person to ever hold the rank of government consulting engineer. He supervised the construction of our post office, and lived here in Albion during that period. This historical fact was overshadowed by the publicity and focus given to Washington Gardnerís financial success several years earlier. Perhaps it would be appropriate for a bronze plaque honoring Baker to be placed in the Post Office building today.

Lowell Baker continued in his position with the U.S. Government in other locations following the erection of our local Post Office building. He was killed in 1933, after falling from the roof of the new Federal building in Terre Haute, Indiana, which he was supervising under construction.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of our U.S. Post Office, erected under the supervision of Lowell W. Baker.

Albion Post Office


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