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.

THE GREAT FLOOD OF 1908

Albion Recorder, March 01, 1999, Pg. 4

It was 91 years ago this month that Albion experienced the worst flood in its history, as the raging waters of the Kalamazoo River descended upon our community. Photos of the “great flood of 1908” are always popular, and this week I’d like to share a few more of them with our readers.

By way of review, the scenario began in February 1908, when over 60 inches of snow fell, followed by a heat wave. In early March came heavy rains, and the waters of the Kalamazoo River rose to record levels. An all-night rain on Friday March 6 raised the rushing waters to eight feet by Saturday noon.


Cass Street Bridge

At 3:00 p.m. that afternoon the Homer Dam broke, sending an additional five foot wave of water and ice chunks headed towards downtown Albion. By midnight the water over the Superior Street bridge was over a foot deep, and eighteen inches over the deck of the Cass St. bridge.

Our next photograph this week depicts a flooded Linden Avenue looking south from E. Erie St. The police chief, Fred Clark, transported stranded Linden residents by row boat out of their homes to safety. The water level reached to Dean Hall several doors eastwards.


Linden Avenue

Our third photograph shows the collapsing E. Erie St. bridge over the river with onlookers standing nearby. The view looks northwards.


East Erie Bridge

Pity the poor house in the center of the photograph where the raceway flowed into the main river. Notice the ice chunks that had flowed over the top of the Erie St. bridge.

This bridge was subsequently replaced with the one that is there today, now on a “target” list as a bridge that needs to be replaced again, 91 years later.

Our fourth photograph was taken from the roof of the Parker-Kessler Block on the northwest corner of Cass and Superior Sts. On the left is where City Hall now sits, At the time it was the site of a farm implement firm.

On the right is the old Darrow Boat Company building, which later became the site of a local bowling alley. In the distance is the Clinton St. bridge, which also was destroyed during the flood. Notice the water level has engulfed the adjacent buildings.


Superior-Clinton Street

Our final photograph shows the devastation left by the collapse of the Homer dam. On the left is what today is M-60, and to the right the viewer can see two places where the water broke through. There are still ice chunks on the top of the roadway in this photograph.


Homer Dam during flood

Next: THE ALBION HERMIT REVISTED

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All text copyright, 2014 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

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