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.

HOTEL ALBION STOOD WHERE SHELL STATION STANDS

Albion Recorder, January 12, 1998, pg. 4

With the demolition and reconstrution of the Shell Service Station on the corner of Superior St. and Michigan Avenue, we are reminded that this was once the site of Albion’s most popular hotel: the Hotel Albion. It was originally erected in 1855 by William Knapp under the name of the Knapp House.

Later this was changed to the Goodenow House, then to the Albion House, and finally to the Hotel Albion. An addition was built to the structure in 1879 facing south towards the Michigan Central Railroad Tracks.

The Hotel Albion contained several businesses, such as a barbershop run by Andy Whalen. The hotel also contained a restaurant, and it was here that the Boosters & Knockers Club was organized and held its first meeting in 1913. That club folded last year after several decades of existence.

The Hotel Albion was strategically located at the intersection of U.S. 12 and M-99 along the MCRR tracks, and one block from the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern R.R. depot. For many years the U.S. Post Office had a "hook" along the tracks next to the hotel where mail sacks would be "snagged" by the mail trains passing through town. This was used through the mid-1950s.

Being next to the railroad tracks however was one of the hotel’s drawbacks which eventually resulted in its demise. When trains passed by, the vibrations would shake the building and vibrate the beds and personal items of the patrons. No time for romance when you’re hanging on for dear life. My thoughts go back to the "I Love Lucy" program where they are off to California and spend their first night on the road in a rural hotel where the beds shake and move while the trains pass by.

This annoyance resulted in Albion businessmen getting together via the newly organized Albion Chamber of Commerce to raise funds for a new first class hotel in Albion. This was the Parker Inn (a hotel that didn’t vibrate) which opened in 1926. Take a look at the picture for the month of October in the Chamber’s new 75th anniversary calendar (which I hope you’ve all purchased) and you’ll see this group of businessmen who raised the funds gathered together for a picture.

Some of the managers and proprietors of the Hotel Albion in the early 20th century included: L. S. Pearson (1913), G. T. Finnell (1917), and J. A. Gleason in the early 1920s. Samuel P. Selby was the final manager. He began his tenure here in October 1924. Following the opening of the Parker Inn, business plummeted at the Hotel Albion, and it was closed.

In May 1930, the Shell Petroleum Company purchased the site for a gas station, and the hotel was torn down the following month. A Shell station was erected and has been located here since then, for nearly 68 years. That’s a pretty good longevity record for downtown Albion. This week we present an 1895 photograph of the Hotel Albion, an Albion landmark for many years.


Hotel Albion in 1895

Next: REMEMBERING THE GREAT FLOOD OF 1908


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All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

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