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, November 28, 2005, pg. 10

We first pause here to remember Bishop W. Dale Cryderman (1916-2005) of Spring Arbor, who passed away on November 16 at the age of 89. He was pastor of the Albion Free Methodist Church from 1941 to 1943, and the family lived in the old Harry Oakes residence at 706 N. Monroe St. Dale had worked as a photographer for the Detroit Times newspaper during the 1930s, and brought his journalistic talents with him when he came to Albion. If you look at copies of the Union Steel Messenger from the 1940s, you’ll read that Dale was the editor of that factory magazine until 1949. His many photographs of people, places, events and even aerial photos found in that publication are a great historical resource even today. Dale still maintained his Albion ties through the years as a visiting speaker at church or at an occasional funeral. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.

In the many years yours truly has been writing Albion history articles, we’ve found that photographs of the west side of N. Superior St. in downtown Albion are hard to come by. The buildings here were erected in the early 1900s rather than in the mid-19th century, as were other buildings to the south. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a treat to our readers: a “head on” photograph of the businesses in this block, taken October 9, 1954. The event was the Albion College Homecoming parade. College Homecoming used to include a parade through downtown Albion. Notice that the parade float, is moving north, rather than south. Hey, that’s an idea. Next time we have a parade in Albion, perhaps it ought to move clockwise (from south to north), instead of the usual north to south.

The theme of this particular float coincided with the groundbreaking of the addition to Susanna Wesley Hall which occurred that weekend. The float states, “Susie Expands. Come to the SWH Acres Ground Breaking After the Parade.” A drawing of the project is displayed on top. Notice that this float doesn’t have a tractor pulling it. That is because it is a flat-bed truck that has been disguised as a float.

In this scene we see several businesses. On the very far left at 117 N. Superior St. we see the Wolverine Motor Supply, then operated by Russell Wiedenbeck and Edward Buist. Next is a stairway going upstairs to professional offices. During the 1950s, Albion was booming, and office space was scarce. Many doctors and other professionals had their offices on the second floors in downtown Albion. The sign states: Dr. P.J. Hill, Dr. J.F. Hill, Optometrists; Dr. D.E. Landon, Dentist; Hollywood Beauty Shop, Merchant’s Ass’n, Credit Bureau of Albion.

Next below at 119 is the Dickerson’s Dry Cleaners, which today is the site of the Books & More bookstore operated by Dorothy Dickerson. That’s Dorothy standing in front with her husband Gar Dickerson to the left of the pole. On the right is employee Delores Ozanich, followed by her nephews John and Matt Spears.

Of special interest to us is the next business at 121 N. Superior St. It is the Morning Star, then owned by Roland D. Davis. The words “Morning Star” are painting on the window. In the right half of the building at 123 is Andy’s Barber Shop, operated by long-time Albion barber Andy Whalen. Bob’s Used Furniture is next at 125, owned by Robert Taft. Finally we see Jack’s Sweeper Shop at 127 N. Superior St. run by Jack N. Taft. How many of our readers remember these businesses?

Albion College Homecoming Parade in 1954


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