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.


Morning Star, August 25, 2002, pg. 10

It sure is nice to have the business loop through town re-paved and the I-94 bridge finally completed. Did you notice that on the bridge there is a sign that states “Right Turn Lane for Territorial Road?” Territorial Road is the “real” historical name for C Drive North. It was upon this road that thousands of pioneers came across Michigan in the 1830s and 1840s, north of Albion. It was Jesse Crowell who built what is today the diagonal Michigan Avenue coming into and going out of Albion to the point where it meets C Drive west of town and Comdon Road in Jackson County. The road went into town diagonally and became Jackson St., and led to the intersection with S. Hannah St. at E. Porter St. When I-94 was being planned in the 1950s, it was announced that the new highway would be built just north of Territorial Road. Hence the highway department still uses that name in their records. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that the county standardized road names into letters.

Another area road that has a dual name is Newburg Road just east of Albion. Residents still refer to the original name of the road, while the county calls it 29½ Mile Road. It is interesting to note that at the intersection of Newburg and Erie (which the county calls Division) just down the road from Harrington School, the county has put up a direction sign stating: “29½ Mile Road and Divison.” Notice they don’t know how to spell Division correctly and left the second “i” out. Newburg Road received its name because of the Newburg grist mill that used to operate on the east side of the road during the 19th century.

One disappointment of the project was the fact that new curbing was not installed on Michigan Avenue. Have you noticed? The new pavement is so high in some places that there is no curb left, particularly in the vicinity of Albion College. The storm drain grates were left in place and not raised to the height of the new pavement, thus giving drivers dangerous “ruts” of several inches that would rival any in Chicago. It will be interesting to see how many accidents involve these holes in the months to come.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photo of what I consider the most historical “moment” of the massive bridge rebuilding and paving project: the sudden closing of the new cracked bridge in August, 2001 which resulted in the rerouting of I-94 traffic through Albion. It certainly put Albion in the spotlight, didn’t it? Orange road warning signs were placed on I-94, M-60, and I-69 warning drivers to in effect stay clear of Albion. We never did hear “whose fault” it was that those cracks appeared. But this photograph shows the result: a closed bridge and a closed exit to Albion which no doubt hit the pocketbooks of Albion’s businesses. Aren’t we all glad the project is finally over with?

Road Project Bridge


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