Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, August 9, 1998, pg. 2
Weíve all heard of Albionís "business incubator" building in the Industrial Park, but have you ever heard of Albionís church incubator? There is a church structure in town that has been used as the "incubator" home of several Albion churches, the Fitch Street Chapel.
The Fitch Street Chapel was erected shortly after the turn of the century by Rev. Henry Jordan (1831-1914), who had been conducting an afternoon Sunday School for neighborhood children who didnít go to regular churches. Jordan was a Methodist minister who was born in Canada and lived on Isle La Motte, an island o Lake Champlain in northern Vermont. Jordan served in the Civil War as a captain, and came to Michigan to serve as a Methodist pastor following the War. He lived his retirement years in Albion, but kept active in religious work. He often rented rooms at his house, 411 Fitch St. next to the church to poor ministerial students at Albion College.
As the Sunday School got bigger, Jordan decided to erect a structure next door on a vacant lot he owned at 409 Fitch St. The Jordans solicited $5.00 each from the parents of the children, and a wooden building was soon erected. It was one-and-a-half stories high, with the peaked roof area more of an attic inside with unfinished rafters. The building was heated by coal (customary of the day), and an Albion College roomer at Jordanís house was paid $1.00 a week to be the janitor.
Sunday School was held at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, and then childrenís church at 4:45 p.m. headed by Mrs. Melinda Jordan (1833-1924) Henryís wife. The regular evening service began at 6:45 with student Methodist minister apprentices doing the preaching. Jordan also invited Albion College sturdents who didnít wish to attend the "big established church" on E. Erie St. to come to the Jordan Chapel as it was then known.
Jordan kept a cow named "Cherry" at his home next to the church (Holy Cow). One of the student roomers would milk the cow and take it out to pasture each day. He also constructed a cone-shaped monument on the front lawn, made of petosky stones he had collected near his Bay View summer home. What a site that must have been. Does anyone have a photograph of that?
For the record, Rev. George Bennard, author of "The Old Rugged Cross," sang the hymn at the Fitch Street Chapel when the song was still in manuscsript form before it was officially published. The Bennardís occasionally attended the Chapel, as their home was just a block away.
Following the eath of the Jordans, the church became known as the Fitch Street Chapel, and was the home of the Church of God for three decades. The Rebekah Lodge was headquartered here in the 1970s. Following that, various church groups have used the Fitch Street Chapel for meetings, making it a church "incubator." The building is currently the home of the Holiness Church of Jesus Christ.
Today the Fitch Street Chapel stands as a reminder of nearly a century of service to the community. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photoraph of Captain Henry Jordan, founder of the Fitch Street Chapel.
Captain Henry Jordan
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic