Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
FAVORITE HANGOUT IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY
Albion Recorder, June 9, 1997, pg. 4
The building presently housing the south half of Fedco at 219 S. Superior St., was once a long time ice cream and candy store operated by George Mitchell and later Sam Vafiadis. The name of George Mitchell Confectionery became a well know establishment in downtown Albion for over half a century. In the early 20th century Albion had several such ice cream, soda, and candy shops which were favorite high school and college "hang-outs" for many years.
Mitchell (1860-1933) was born in Smyrna, Turkey, and immigrated to the United States. He came to Albion in 1898. He opened his candy and ice cream soda store at 106 W. Porter St. in the back/side of the Eslow Block. You can easily view the arched door entranceway today on W. Porter St. which is now bricked over. In October, 1900, Mitchell moved to his aforementioned permanent location. In 1918 he went into partmership with Sam Vafiadis (1895-1963), who continued the business after Mitchell died in 1933.
Mitchell’s made its own candy and ice cream. There was a large freezer room, and much candy-making equipment. I have seen Mitchell candy boxes and other items which some area residents still retain in their belongings. In the 1910s the firm had a token-operated player piano which played tunes for the patrons as they sat and ate their ice cream. Mitchell’s issued a 19 mm. diameter bronze token which had a hole in the center. It is pictured here. The text reads, "GEO. MITCHELL & CO. ALBION, MICH. GOOD FOR 5¢ IN TRADE."
Sam Vafiadis continued the business until it closed on June, 16, 1956. The site then became the Water’s Shoe Store, and later the Weatherwax Drug Store before the Federal Discount Company moved in. How many area residents remember Mitchell’s Confectionery?
Our other photograph this week was taken in 1916, and shows George Mitchell standing in front of his establishment. Next door to the left would have been the location of the closed Albion National Bank. To the right (south) would have been the passenger station of the Michigan United Railways (Interurban) which was located here until a new station was erected on E. Erie St.
George Mitchell Confectionery, 1916
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All text copyright, 2019 © all rights reserved Frank Passic