Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, August 14, 1994, pg. 11
Those who have driven downtown recently have noticed a major construction project happening in the Market Place Alley behind the buildings on the east side of Superior Street. What was before a hodge-podge of property lines, right-of-ways, wires, and buildings, is now being transformed into a practical, functional, and thought-out professionally designed parking area.
A portion of this area will be erected on the site of where once stood the Women’s Christian Temperance Union building on E. Erie St. Albion took an active lead in the ever-growing temperance movement in the late 19th century. Much of Albion’s participation was due to the efforts of two Albion College professors: Samuel Dickie (1851-1925), and Frederic S. Goodrich (1865-1948). Dickie, an Albion Mayor (1897) and later president of Albion College (1901-1925) gained a reputation as a scholar and a dynamic orator. His scientific analysis of the liquor problem made him a nationwide authority. In fact, the Prohibition Party National Committee was headquartered here in Albion during the 1890s!
Goodrich of course, served on the faculty of Albion College for 43 years, and was an unsuccessful candidate for governor of Michigan on the Prohibition Party ticket in 1900 and 1942. Goodrich Chapel was named in his memory.
The W.C.T.U. building was erected in 1905 behind “Bullen’s Big Busy Store,” now Sanders Furniture. It served as the local headquarters of this national group, which succeeded in its goals of the prohibition of alcoholic beverages. The group also saw the failure of the enforcement of the laws, and the subsequent repeal of its efforts.
As the W.C.T.U. membership waned, other uses were also made of its facility. It was used as a meeting place for many Albion groups, such as churches and schools, which often held banquets in its basement, or classes during the week. It served as Albion’s Recreation Center during the 1940s, before it burned in December, 1944.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union building at 105 E. Erie St., on the site where the new parking lot is being built today.
Women’s Christian Temperance Union Building
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic