Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, July 5, 1998, pg. 3
In 1935 during the first week of July, the City of Albion celebrated its centennial. Numerous activities were held and there was a large participation from not only our residents, but from neighboring communities as well.
One interesting feature of the week-long celebration was the Centennial Queen and her “Queen’s Court.” For two weeks prior to the big celebration, voting occurred in town to choose a Queen. The winner was Lucille Biggs as Centennial Queen. Biggs was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Orville L. Biggs, and was a 1934 graduate of Albion High School. In her “Court of Honor” were 2nd place winner Cecile Weeks as “Miss Columbia,” Mary Bastian in 3rd place, and Inex Smith in fourth place.
In addition to the local girls, there was included a court of eight other young women from the nearby communities of: Marshall, Parma, Litchfield, Springport, Homer, Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, and Concord. These women were housed in “Dean Hall” that week, courtesy of Albion College.
The queen was crowned on Wednesday, July 3. The program began with a banquet that evening at the Parker Inn. Music was provided by Bill McKay and his Ford Mountaineers of Detroit. The group then moved to the Washington Gardner High School for the coronation, with the queen marching up with a long robe behind her. The robe’s train was carried by Leota and Leona Inman. Mayor Norman H. Wiener congratulated “Miss Albion,” and a coronation ball was held in the school’s gymnasium. Music was provided by Gus Bohm and his nine-piece orchestra. A group of 16 pageant girls presented a ballet dance, and Chief Joe Panpoltrol, a Pottawatomie Indian from the Athens reservation performed two songs in his native tongue.
The Queen and her court attended the various parades, banquets, and activities the entire week. One of the big events was the 4th of July parade which was 3 miles long--our longest parade ever up to that time. It had over 125 units and the crowd along the route was estimated at 25,000 persons. The parade was a memorable experience for all who attended and participated. July 4 began that year in Albion with the detonation of “opening bombs” as they were called then, at the four corners of the city to start the day off with a “bang.”
Of special interest is the Queen’s float which rode in the July 4 parade that day. The float was financed/sponsored by Union Steel Products, carrying the Queen and her court. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of that float, taken by the Ludwig Studios in town. How many of our readers remember this Centennial parade?
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic