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, July 26, 1998, pg. 22

Recently you may have noticed that the City of Albion has been installing new street name signs at various locations throughout the city. These are one piece, painted on both sides, smaller signs. They have been replacing the larger street signs which had the names stamped and pained in large letters. It took two pieces which were riveted together.

The subject of street signs is interesting, as there have been many changes through the years. Eaerly in the 20th century, Albionís street signs were blue background with white lettering. Other names have been totally changed. For example, Sheridan Street is now Grace Street, West Division Street is now S. Dalrymple Street and Washington Street used to be W. Perry St.

There have even been changes in the street designations. Dalrympole Boulevard is now a street. Michigan Street between N. Superior and N. Eaton Streeet is now an "avenue" according to the signs just posted. In these days of rhyming and "cutsey" street names, the meaning of the terms: street, boulevard, court, avenue, and place have become somewhat muddled. These differences can be important, even in the Albion area. For example, we have Findley Drive and Finley Road; Eaton Street and Eaton Rapids Road; Division Drive and Division Street, etc.

One such example is Broadwell Avenue. Avenue, you say? Yes. Broadwell Avenue was once the northern boundary of our city and was intended to cross the northern length of our town, hence the avenue designation. Look at some of the street signs such as at Wiener and Broadwell, and you will still see "avenue" on the older signs today. The new signs the city has been putting up say "street."

Who was Broadwell? In Albionís history there was a Chalon Broadwell (ca. 1813-1856) who served as an early Albion mechanic and builder, and was a "Fire Alert" volunteer. Another source I read, however, stated that Broadwell was some state senator in New York where the wife of the developer of the area, Mrs. William H. Hartwell, Ellen (Clark) Hartwell (1849-1928) was from.

William H. Hartwell (1844-1930) was a farmer who lived in on the west side of N. Eaton Street where Hartwell and North streets intersect. Hartwell Street is named for him, and he platted the "Hartwell Addition" section of town. Williamís son Ernest Hartwell was the superintendent of the public schools in Buffalo, New York.

The first reference to Broadwell Avenue I have found is in the 1894-95 Albion City Directory. In that and in future directories, the designation is consistently "avenue." Some people who lived on Broadwell Avenue in the 1913 Albion City directory and their house numbers included: 311 Fred Rogenbauch; 312 Charles X Guyselman; 320 Homer W. Nelson; 321 Harry M. Wood; 323 Fred B. Mitz; 324 William L. Thomson (a local florist); 325 Don Hayes.

Regarding Broadwell Avenue, a lack of planning resulted in one block remaining private property and blocking the total route of the street in the vicinity of Caldwell School between Berrien and Maple Streets. Hence it is not an avenue anymore, but just a street. If Broadwell Avenue had been opened up to connect in that one small block, the street could have been a handy east-west connector. As a result, more traffic must flow across North Street instead. We all know that this is not the only street in town that is "cut off" from its logical connections, resulting in traffic being funneled onto other major arteries.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of one of the remaining Broadwell Avenue signs, and a 1918 map of the Hartwell Addition. Notice that First Street was originally N. Pearl, and that Second Street was originally an extension of Carson Street. Hartwell Street was just one block long and did not extend to Carson Street.

Broadwell Avenue sign and 1918 map of the Hartwell Addition


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