Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, May 15, 1994, pg. 8
Albion has a variety of old sidewalks throughout town that have the name of the contractor with the date stamped in the cement. The earliest cement sidewalks were laid at the turn of the century, and few remain today. One contractor was George E. Dean, who laid sidewalks on Mechanic and S. Eaton Streets in 1901. He later of course became the president of Union Steel Products.
Another early sidewalk contractor was the Lohrke Brothers, August “Gus” C. (1874-1950), and William (1865-1928). Both were German natives, the sons of Gottlieb and Wilhelmina (Radtka) Lohrke. The Lohrke Brothers laid sidewalks in the 1900s and 1910s in Albion, and impressed their names in the sidewalks they laid. They were also involved in other cement contracting work, including the cement Albion College Athletic Field wall.
Gus Lohrke was an original employee of the Albion Malleable Iron Company when it opened on the corner of Cass and Superior Street in 1888. With several children to feed, Gus worked as a molder at the Malleable, and also had his own cement contracting business with his brother William.
Mrs. Marion Sanford is a daughter of Gus Lohrke, and lives in Albion today. She has the original Lohrke Brothers 1912 “stamp” that was used to impress those letters in the wet cement. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Marion holding this stamp, and an ink impression of the stamp. [INTERNET UPDATE: Marion passed away on October 25, 1994.]
Are there any Lohrke Brothers sidewalks left in Albion today? We found one in front of 410 E. Cass St. recently. Perhaps there are others. When walking up and down Albion’s sidewalks, I encourage our readers to look at the names impressed in the cement, and the dates. Most of these are located at the beginning of property lines on each street. See how many different names of contractors and dates you can come up with.
Lohrke Brothers 1912 Cement Stamp
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All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic