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, June 18, 1995, pg. 14

If you ever read obituaries of Albion people who had been married in the 1930s or so, you will notice a recurring theme: they had been married in Angola, Indiana. What’s with Angola? How come our residents flocked there in the 1930s to get married? You’ll find the answer in this week’s Historical Notebook.

Just south of the Michigan-Indiana state line sites the city of Angola, located in Steuben County. It is the county seat, and was the first community with a Justice of the Peace you arrived at in Indiana while traveling U.S. 27 south from Coldwater. Angola was named after a town in New York state, in the same manner as our Albion was so-named. It was settled in 1835. The city has a beautiful public square in the middle, with an impressive historic courthouse that was erected in 1868 nearby. Here also in the center of town was the county offices.

It was here that Albionites trekked to obtain their quick "no waiting" Indiana marriage license. This factor alone enticed many couples to drive to Indiana to "let’s get married--NOW." Indiana age requirements, parental permission, and other regulations were less strict, so off they went to Indiana.

In fact, even today, the First Congregational Church in Angola is known and used as the Marriage chapel. Located at 314 W. Maumee Street just down the street from the courthouse, many Albion citizens probably remember this as the place where they got married. Indiana, recognizing its marriage popularity, today charges $60 for an out-of-state marriage license, while those living in Indiana pay only $18.

Each family has their own circumstances as to why they got married in Angola. Perhaps your folks wouldn’t give their permission, or you were trying to get away from "her folks," or "his folks." Or perhaps that was "just the place" to elope. Whatever the case, why doesn’t someone plan an "Angola Reunion" dinner here in town, where everyone who got married in Angola would come one evening to eat and to share their experiences as to why they decided on Angola. I bet we’d have some very interesting stories. We could invite someone up from the Angola Chamber of Commerce for a talk, and tape the whole event on Hometovwn T.V. Channel 50. Just an idea. who would be brave enough to come? Any takers?

Angola, of course, is also the place where a local factory, Vestil Manufacturing Company, moved to after getting out of Albion in the early 1980s. And they are thriving there even today. But we won’t discuss that touchy subject here.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the "Lady Columbia" image with flag, that sits on top of the Soldier Monument in Angola’s Public Square. This is the cover page of a map printed by the Angola Area Chamber of Commerce, which supplied the map and information to yours truly. For more information, you can write them at: 307 N. Wayne St., Angola, Indiana 46703. (219) 665-3512.

The Monument in Angola's Public Square


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