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.

CORNERSTONE HOLDS CITY’S HISTORY

Albion Recorder, July 8, 1997, pg. 4

One historical anniversary that passed us by unnoticed in the past few years was the 60th anniversary of the completion of our City Hall (1936). Construction began in November, 1933. The City Hall building was vigorously promoted by Albion’s “go-gettingest Mayor,” Mayor Norman H. Wiener, despite warnings by engineers and state officials that the river retaining wall would collapse. There were numerous delays in the project, but City Hall was finally completed in May, 1936.

Did you know that there is a cornerstone box containing a variety of items that was placed inside the stone which sets next to the front steps which we walk up? The large stone states, “ALBION 1833-1933” which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first settler, Tenney Peabody and family, coming to “the Forks.”

A dedication ceremony was held on May 7, 1936. Part of the festivities included placing various items into a copper box which was placed in the cornerstone. What was placed in this copper box? I have obtained a list of items which our readers might find interesting. There was a copy of Miriam Krenerick’s book “Albion’s Milestones and Memories,” published in 1932, a copy of the 1894 pictorial souvenir booklet of Albion, two copies of the Albion Recorder June 29, 1935 Centennial edition, as well as a City Hall dedication edition published in 1936.

Also stuffed in the box were letters of greeting to future Albionites from such personalities as Mayor Norman H. Wiener; postmaster Daniel M. McAuliffe; Albion College President John L. Seaton; and Dean W. W. Whitehouse; Albion Public School Superintendent Don Harrington; High School Principal William C. Harton; Commercial & Savings Bank president Homer C. Blair; Albion Evening Recorder editor W. S. Kennedy; and Association of Commerce representative Lloyd F. Kusch.

There were also historical document which included sketches of city officials, a list of Albion High School graduates since 1878, histories of fraternal groups, social clubs, federated women’s clubs, patriotic organizations and high school clubs. Pictures included several city officials, the Albion City Band, and Jacob H. Perrine, Albion’s oldest resident. Also included were copies of the Albion College Bulletin, the Pleiad, the Michigan Christian Advocate’s Albion College edition, copies of musical programs of the high school and college organizations, the Darleen Wellington-Miller and Nema Phipps studios programs and programs of Miss Mildred Bastian and Clifford Herzer, prominent Albion pianists. Further documents included Albion church histories and biographical sketches of their pastors and a copy of the dedication banquet program.

For the record, the committee which prepared the cornerstone and its contents was composed of: Miriam Krenerick, George V. Mather, Mabel Kusch, and Emma Blanchard. Approximately 1,500 citizens and guests attended the dedication ceremony. This week we present a photograph of Mayor Norman H. Wiener placing the copper box into the cornerstone.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get a peek inside that copper box and see how the aforementioned items have survived all these years? I wonder what Albion’s leaders of past years had to say in their letters to future generations? Should there be a special opening date set, such as during the Festival of the Forks some year? Or should we wait until the year 2036, the 100th anniversary of the placement of the stone?


Mayor Wiener at Cornerstone Laying Ceremony

Next: IRWIN BLOCK WAS SITE OF NUMEROUS RESTAURANTS


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