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.

Dr. LAWRENCE J. HEIDENREICH

Morning Star, November 13, 1994, pg. 15

The passing of Dr. Lawrence J. Heidenreich on October 16 at age 89, brought back warm and filling memories of this community patriarch in the minds of his generations of former patients--yours truly included. Many Albion residents, now grown, have childhood memories of walking up the long stairs to the second floor of 203 S. Superior St., with fear and trembling, hoping that the Bohm Theatre side exit door would open for a quick escape. The sound of each step would echo off the walls. You knew you were nearing your destination when you detected that unique "dentist’s office" odor at the top of the steps. The frosted glass doors hid what was going on behind, but the sound of the dental drill was ominously present in the waiting room, with the ever reminder of "I’m next."

To allay these childhood fears was the voice of Dr. Heidenreich’s trusted dental assistant, Marjorie Sauer, who worked for the Doctor from 1939 until their retirement in 1983. She had a special children’s section with small chairs and a table, some children’s books, and a small plastic toy duck which you could wind up and watch it walk/waddle. As years went on, this became familiar territory, as Dr. Heidenreich saw his patients grow up, have children of their own, and the process would start all over again.

The building housing Dr. Heidenreich’s practice, now known as the Thomas T. Lloyd building, was erected beginning in the fall of 1916, and was finished in early 1917. It opened as a "five and ten cent" store, Baumgardners, on March 10, 1917. The first floor contained inexpensive variety items, while the second floor contained larger and more expensive long-term items. After a decade of variety stores in this location, the building was purchased in 1929 by Albion Confectionary, operated by the Kostianes brothers Nick, Peter, and Demosthenes. The first floor contained a soda fountain, restaurant equipment, and the like. The firm became known as "Nick’s place."

The second floor was partitioned off by the new owner into office spaces. Contractor for the work was John Geyer. In August 1930, Nick Kostianes rented a portion of the second floor to the then 25-year-old Dr. Lawrence J. Heidenreich, who opened his dental practice in Albion on October 11, 1930, just as the Great Depression was descending upon Albion. "During the worst depression days, many people came with 50 cents--maybe all they had," he stated once during a 1978 interview. "Once a patient promised he would pay me for his dentures, as soon as he sold his pigs. He did."

The remainder of the second floor was rented to various businesses, especially during the years when Albion was experiencing a housing and office shortage. Dr. Heidenreich retired from his dentistry practice in May, 1983 and the office and building was vacant for several years. The Albion Civic Foundation purchased the building in 1987 from the Kostianes family, and today its offices are located in Dr. Heidenreich’s former dental facilities on the second floor. In fact, Beverley Crump is located in the drill room where many patients once sat "under the lights." The Foundation was careful to preserve the integrity of the office, and retained the original woodwork and frosted doors.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of one of the most memorable doors in Albion--the open door of Dr. Lawrence J. Heidenreich. He will truly be missed in this community.


The Open Door of Dr. Lawrence J. Heidenreich

Next: THE 1920 CENSUS


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