Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, March 25, 2007, pg. 12
We all know about the footbridge over the Kalamazoo River by Thompsonís Brakes which allows pedestrians from E. Porter St. to walk to the Market Place. Did you know however, that there used to be another footbridge just east of there? The raceway waters of the Peabody/Gothic millrace presently end at the small dam along S. Monroe St. The waters used to continue, however, northwards along what is now the parking area of the Riverside Apartments, all the way to the former White Mill on E. Cass St. before emptying back into the Kalamazoo River. The Peabody/Gothic Mill which stood on the site across the street from the Presbyterian Church burned on June 22, 1876. It was later replaced by the White Mill along E. Cass St. which utilized the same raceway waters.
In order to cross the raceway, a footbridge was erected at the intersection of E. Porter St. and S. Monroe Sts. The original one was replaced in 1904 with a decorative cement one. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a postcard photograph of that 1904 footbridge. The card is postmarked 1924, and was shot by local photographer Walter Grant. The photo is taken from the small dam (shown in the lower left), and looks northwards. The water below reflects the image from the bridge above it.
In the distance we see the house at 108 S. Monroe St. It was the residence of lumber dealer Allen J. Wilder, junior partner in the firm of Wilder & Son lumberyard. That firm later became Citizenís Lumber. The house was subsequently owned by Allenís daughter, Audrey K. Wilder, a prominent Albion personality for many years.
Water power ended in 1957 with the closing of the White Mill. The raceway here was filled from the small dam all the way to E. Cass St. in 1965. With that, there was no need for a footbridge anymore and it was also demolished. A cement sidewalk presently covers the site where this footbridge once stood. How many of our readers remember walking across the E. Porter St. footbridge and the raceway waters which once flowed here?
The Porter Street Footbridge in 1924
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic