Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, April 21, 1996, pg. 4
Exactly 100 years ago in 1896, Albion Mayor Samuel S. Dickie ordered $2,000 worth of extra pilings installed for a new bridge that was being constructed in town, driving the price up to a cost of $9,148.44. Now a century later, we are commemorating the 100th anniversary (how a about a ceremony before it’s destroyed) of the erection of the soon-to-be-demolished Cass Street bridge over the Kalamazoo River. This earthen-filled stone-arched bridge is one of only two of its kind left in the State of Michigan. It is 144 feet in length and is 29 feet wide.
Mayor Dickie received much criticism at the time for spending the extra money, and the bridge was nicknamed "Dickie’s Folly." When the floodwaters wiped out the other bridges in March, 1908 however, only the Cass Street bridge remained standing. The former Mayor was vindicated.
In a few short weeks this historic bridge will be demolished, and replaced with a new, wider and modern bridge that will have a stone facade placed on the sides to imitate the original. In reality, the Cass Street bridge has been crumbling, especially on the north side. Several of its stones have already fallen into the river, including the dedication marker stone which was recently spotted in the waters by yours truly. It is a wonder that traffic local limits were not already in place on this bridge.
From our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of the dedication stone marker, which was placed on the north side of the bridge by the center span. The incased text states, "S. Dickie, Mayor; J.D. Everts, Chairman bridge committee; H.K. Whitney, city engineer." This stone will be included in an historical section to be applied to the new bridge that is to be constructed, consisting of several of the original stones. Special thanks to the City of Albion for fishing this marker out of the river with a backhoe so I could take a picture of it.
Happy driving this summer again on S. Superior and Cass Streets in the downtown area. Wade on in to the Morning Star, located next to the bridge. I’m sure they’d appreciate your business.
The Cass Street Bridge.
All text copyright, 2014 © all rights reserved Frank Passic