Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, February 11, 2007, pg. 13
We’ve got another update on Albion’s “key to the city.” Duane Johns used to be in charge of the sample floor and prototypes at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. In the late 1960s, the Malleable was discarding some of its patterns in the pattern vault, including the one for the key. Upon inquiring, Duane was allowed to keep the original aluminum pattern for Albion’s “key to the city,” thus saving it from destruction. He’s had it for over 35 years, and is offering to let some foundry borrow it and manufacture more. Who might be able to accomplish this?
Have you seen the improvements made to the large brick building at 200 W. Center St? It was purchased by Robin Walters and Randy Smith this past October. New energy-efficient windows have been installed, as well as a handicap ramp. The owners have opened the Bellisima Bridal Superstore on the main floor, and each room is filled with bridal supplies of all types. We wish them success in their new endeavor. Visit them, even if just to look at the inside of the structure.
This building was originally erected in 1913 as the Eagle Temple. Back then, the local Aerie No. 1265 had a large membership when they moved here from their old headquarters above 410 S. Superior St. in late 1913. A large “Eagle’s Fair” was held on December 1, 1913 with hundreds of persons attending. Subsequently, the Temple was the site for many community meals and events. One memorable photograph connected with this building is that l-o-n-g picture taken in 1919 in front, to honor Albion’s World War I veterans.
Unfortunately, the start of World War I signaled changes for the local Aerie. Many young men in the community went off to War, and attendance declined. Subsequently, the Eagles found themselves with less members and a building debt burden which continued into the early 1920s. As part of their reorganization, they sold the Temple to the Masons in 1925. The Eagles thereby moved back to their old location where they remained for many years until moving to E. Michigan Avenue east of Albion where they operate today. The former Eagle Temple became known as the Masonic Temple, from 1925 until it closed in 2003. Rental units in the basement helped finance the maintenance on the structure for many years. The last renter had been the Albion Public Schools.
From our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of the Eagle Temple building. Notice the two electric lights in front of the building. Still standing today, these are all that remain of a new downtown “boulevard” lighting system that was installed in Albion in 1913. We hope that other nearby historic downtown Albion buildings can be remodeled and refurbished into viable businesses in the future, such as the old Eagle Temple building has been.
Eagle Temple building
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic