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.

RIVERSIDE CEMETERY OFFICE

Morning Star, October 4, 1998, pg. 2

This Sunday, October 11 at 1:30 p.m., I will be conducting my annual guided tour of Riverside Cemetery, sponsored by the Community Enrichment Program of the Albion Public Schools. We will meet at the cemetery office and then proceed southwards. We will cover 37 selected interments featuring some very interesting people. The event is free (program tours will be available for a nominal fee), and the whole family is welcome. Mark your calendars and we’ll see you there. I will have free copies of the Natioanl Archives form to find out what ship your ancestor came to America on, as well as my Albion history materials. Extra copies of the tour program will be avilable at the Albion Chamber of Commerce beginning the day after the tour.

This week I’d like to feature some information found in my new book, "A History of Riverside Cemetery in Albion, Michigan," which will be available at my tour, concerning the cemetery office.

Although there existed a receiving vault and a small maintenance building in the late 19th century, there still remained the need for a cemetery office in which to conduct business and maintain the cemetery records. The cemetery commission of 1904 took on the project of planning a cemetery office building. The commission consisted of John Ott, chairman; Charles Raynor, John Finley, Fred G. Pahl, and George Barry.

The February 24, 1904 local newspaper reported, "The building as contemplated will be built of cement block, with dimensions of about 24 feet by 30 feet, and will contain an office, waiting room, tool room, closets and vault for the cemetery records. The proable expense involved will be about $1,000. The city has long felt the need of just such a building. In inclement weather much inconvenience is felt because of inadequate shelter. Then too, the desirability of having an office, with its records convenient to the cemetery , is apparent to all."

City Alderman Emmons made a motion in May, 1904 to the City Council that $1,250 be appropriated for the construction of the new office. The motion passed unanimously. Theoffice was erected at the top of the hill near the main entrance. The upper portion of the cement block walls, resembling stone, were made from blocks cast on site. Contractor of the job, August Arndt, had helped erect the nearby Receiving Vault in 1886. The construction mimics that of the vault. The blocks are the same size and shape, and similar pink mortar was used.

The office suffered a fire on October 15, 1992 as a result of a lightning strike. The fire destroyed a portion of the interior of the building, amounting to about $10,000 in damage, but the precious cemetery records suffered only smoke damage. The interior was subsequently restored in the following months.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the Riverside Cemetery Office. We’ll see you there for my tour this coming Sunday, October 11 at 1:30 p.m. Don’t forget.


The Old Riverside Cemetery Office

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