Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, December 19, 1999, pg. 2
A quick reminder: My Albion history books and materials are available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce, 416 S. Superior St. These make great extra "stocking stuffers" for Christmas. Check them out for "something different" to give as extra Christmas gifts.
I would like to take the time to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a prosperous Happy New Year. I thank you for your support of this column, especially those who have supplied me with photographs, old city directories, and other Albion history materials over the past year which have helped me tremendously in the research preparation needed to produce this column each week.
With the closing (again) of the Ponderosa Steakhouse, we wonder what type of restaurant that Albion can support. A McDonald’s, a Pizza Hut, and a Kentucky Fried Chicken, yes, but not a Wendy’s or a Hardee’s, or an A & W or a Ponderosa. Such are the realities of competition in a town with only so many mouths to feed, even with I-94 on our doorstep.
When the U.S.-12 bypass (now I-94) was opened on July 4, 1960, thousands of automobiles that used to travel through the center of Albion now drove north of town. Soon gas stations and other businesses either opened or moved close to the highway, along N. Eaton St.
One such business was the Enco Gas Station, owned and operated by the Humble Oil Company which had its offices on the second floor of the present-day Lloyd building, just down the hall from the dentist Dr. Heidenreich. The office of the oil company was located in what today is the center meeting room of the Albion Community Foundation. The Enco chain of stations were located throughout the country, and the Canadian counterpart was called Esso.
The Enco station was located where our Ponderosa Steakhouse building stands. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1965 photo of the site, showing the "Happy Motoring" slogan over the entranceway to service garage on the left side of the building. In the early 1970s, managers of the facility were Max Brown and Arthur Baty. The Enco Station was closed in the late 1970s, and the building was demolished.
Notice the rubber hose at the front of the driveway. For our newer generation drivers, when you ran over the hose while driving in, it rang a bell inside the gas station. That signalled the attendant to come out personally and put gas in your car (whether it be regular or Ethyl) at your direction, clean the windshield, check your oil, and check your tires. What a novel idea!
* Photo Credit Information Below
Albion Enco Station
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic
"Albion Historical Society Collection / Local History Room / Albion Public Library Collection"