Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, March 17, 1996, pg. 15
Once again we are going to see another Albion landmark restored and put in use again: The James W. Sheldon Memorial Hospital building. This is just one of a growing list of buildings that investors have renovated so that these buildings may remain a valuable part of our neighborhoods. We think of such edifices as the Parker Inn, the New York Central Freight Depot, the Five Points Branch of the City Bank & Trust Company, the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company building, and other sites in town that have been saved.
The James W. Sheldon Memorial Hospital opened on May 1, 1924. It was named after Albion’s prominent 19th century banker (1830-1894) who amassed a fortune here during his lifetime. His bank was located at 304 S. Superior St. and later became the Albion State Bank, which closed in 1931.
$50,000 of the money for the hospital came from the estate of Madelon (Sheldon) Leffingwell, daughter of banker James. The money was given by her son, James Sheldon “Don” Riley, who spent his childhood here in Albion.
The Sheldon family also erected the elegant Sheldon Block on the corner of Erie and Superior Streets, which currently houses Parks Drug Store. Banker James and his family lived upstairs. Now that would be a project to restore--the Sheldon living quarters above Parks Drug Store. The Leisure Hour Club building on S. Clinton St. was also funded by the Sheldon family, via banker James’ wife, Mary (Peabody) Sheldon-Ismon, a daughter of Albion’s first settler, Paul Tenney Peabody.
So as we see the Sheldon Hospital building turned into apartments, we are reminded this week of the historical significance of the Sheldon name here in Albion, and this week in our Historical Notebook present a photograph of James W. Sheldon after whom the building was named [In this internet version we also picture the “Sheldon Place” sign in front of the old hospital during the remodeling period].
Perhaps some enterprising persons could next embark on a project to restore second story Albion downtown buildings to “loft” apartments, to finally provide this type of living quarters to our community, and increase tax revenues. And of course we sure would like to see the Albion Opera House restored. All it takes is money...
James W. Sheldon
Next: THE CLIFT BLOCK
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic