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, September 15, 2002, pg. 6

Coming up this Saturday, September 21 is our annual Festival of the Forks. Congratulations to Robert Parson of Family Life Radio for thinking up this yearís theme, ďIíll Be in Albion.Ē Letís follow his advice and skip the turkey sandwiches elsewhere. Come on downtown and enjoy a great day with your fellow Albionites. Yours truly will have his Albion History booth as usual in front of Citizens Bank at the Festival. Iíll have my new book ďAlbion in the 20th CenturyĒ for sale which Iíll gladly autograph for you, and other items. Drop by and see me.

I will also be accepting donations of Albion history books, photographs and postcards, city directories, Calhoun County 1873, 1894 and 1916 atlases, and other historical materials which I use in the preparation of my articles and books. Your support in this way over these past 11 years has helped this historian have easy unhindered access to historical Albion photographs for my articles. I thank you so much for your consideration. You may also send items to me at: 900 S. Eaton St., Albion, MI 49224. (517) 629-5402.

Our older population is getting excited about the new Burnham Brook center which will be opening soon in the basement of the old Parker Inn Hotel building on E. Michigan Avenue. It is always heartening to see some of our historic landmark buildings being put to good use instead of being demolished like the Albion Elevator was a few weeks ago. We wish the Burnham people success in their endeavor here in Albion--the greatest city in Calhoun County.

Years ago Albion homes and buildings were not demolished--they were moved. That includes the Albion Elevator building which was moved back from its original Superior St. location in August, 1917 to the Market Place along the alley where it remained until this past month. One prominent Albion house that was moved in the early 1920s was the George Maher (1823-1896) home at 305 E. Michigan Avenue--the future site of the Parker Inn Hotel.

Mr. Maher was a very prominent 19th century Albion builder and contractor who built the Central High School in 1872 and the adjoining wings in 1885, and the St. James Episcopal Church still standing today. See my article about Mr. Maher in the November 26, 2000 edition of this column which is found on the www.albionmich.com web site. I will be featuring Mr. Maher as part of my upcoming Riverside Cemetery tour (mark your calendars) on Sunday, October 6 at 1:30 p.m.

Mr. Maherís house was a very large elegant structure, decorated with Victorian-era embellishments and a large front porch. It sat on the hill overlooking Michigan Avenue. After his death it continued to be used as a residence, with the exception of 1916-17 when it briefly became the Zetalethian House, a fraternal Albion College group. When the Parker Inn Hotel was being planned in the early 1920s, Mr. Maherís former house was purchased as the site for the new community hotel. The house was sawn in half, and moved to 314 Burr Oak St. where it was pieced together and turned into an apartment house minus the porch. That house still sits there today.

From our Historical Notebook we present a fascinating photograph of the Maher residence as it appeared circa 1916. Notice the details on the window area, including the small overhang on each window. Iíd our readers to go to 314 Burr Oak St., and look at the house today. Surprisingly, youíll find that these same window overhang embellishments are still on the house today, although the porch has been removed.

Maher residence as it appeared circa 1916


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