Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, October 25, 1998, pg. 18
Continuing with our theme about the renovation of Washington Gardner School, the school structure is actually the result of three separate construction projects. The 1906-erected "Central School" complex had become very overcrowed by the end of the 1910s, as Albion saw an influx of new students to the community as the result of incresed factory production. A lack of room had forced the school board to discontinue certain highs chool subjects in 1921, such as physical geography, biology, and others in specific grades, and the consolidation of other classes.
School board president George E. Dean (owner of Union Steel Products) recommended that a new Albion High School be constructed. The school board voted on December 12, 1921 to build a new west wing addition on the 1906-erected Central School portion for use as a high school. The board issued $150,000 in bonds. Bonds were purchased for investment by not only individuals, but also by agencies that included: the Republic of Cuba, the Swedish government, the government of the Phillippine Islands, the Swiss Confederation, the Public Service Company of Illinois and the Northern Iowa Gas & Electric Company. A contract was awarded in March 1922 to the DeRight Brothers of Kalamazoo, and construction began.
A cornerstone was laid which still remains today stating, "High School 1922." Try and look for it in the southwest corner when you drive by. Unfortunately, it is usually obscured by an officially-placed trash receptacle in front of it. I have always wondered: Was there a cornerstone box with "goodies" placed inside that cornerstone? Hmmmmm.
Although the date says "1922" signifying when construction began, the project was completed in 1923. The dedication of the new addition occurred on May 9, 1923. The west wing contained ten classrooms, three laboratories, a lecture room, an art room, a mechanical drawing room, a wood shop, a sewing room, and a cooking room. It was also part of this project that the gymnasium and the swimming pool was construccted, the former still being in use today.
Other specific items were also included as part of the deal, including the addition of a new heating plant capable of storing a years supply of coal. Two Hart & Krause down draft low pressure boilers with a capacity of 150 horsepower were installed.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present an artistsí drawing of the new Albion High School addition, attached to the Central School building as it looked in 1923. This was the first step in what was to become Washington Gardner High School.
Drawing of Albion High School Addition
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic