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.

Albion 100 Years Ago - February 1908

Morning Star, February 3, 2008, pg. 14

We begin our countdown this month to the 100th anniversary of the Great Flood of 1908. This whole month we are featuring the “classic” photographs of Albion’s greatest natural disaster. Our special series about the Flood begins next week. This week in our Historical Notebook we present an unusual photograph. We’ve all seen the classic photo of the buildings on N. Superior St. collapsing over the River. But this photo was taken on Saturday, March 7, 1908 in the afternoon as the waters were still rising, BEFORE the collapse. Here we see several buildings in their final hours of existence. Notice the many people standing on the Superior St. bridge gawking at the rising waters. If I were to give this photo a caption, it would be “I wouldn’t stand there if I were you.”

Saturday, March 7, 1908: “I wouldn’t stand there if I were you.”

We continue with our theme of “Albion--100 Years Ago.” Week ending February 6, 1908: “The Davis School house in Clarence Township was opened Tuesday, and only two children will attend. This district at one time had a large number of children but now only two remain that are of school age. Miss Rolf of Augusta, will have charge of the school which will be continued for five months.”

“The electric road has been badly tied up this week by the heavy snow. There has been no travel west of the car barns...At noon today the snow shovel on the electric went west and it is thought by this evening that travel will be resumed. An accident to one of the snow plows yesterday delayed the work about twelve hours.” [Note, in February 1908, over 60 inches of snow fell, followed by a heat wave and then heavy rains in early March. This set the stage for the Great Flood of 1908.]

“The Model Laundry helpers went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Haeske, south of Albion, for a sleigh ride Friday night. They had a fine supper and returned at a late hour, praising the host and hostess for their hospitality.”

“The Albion Aerie Eagles will hold a special session this evening followed by a social hour. Five new Eagles from Springport will be taught to fly.”

“Albert Beilfuss was arrested last evening and will probably be charged with peeping through windows when Justice McCutcheon returns from Battle Creek this afternoon. Mr. Smith who lives south of the Episcopal Church will make the complaint.”

Week ending February 20, 1908: “One of the social events of the winter was the old time dance and farewell party given by the Albion Aerie of Eagles Monday in honor of one of their members, James T. McGuire. Mr. McGuire leaves on the 20th of this month to take up his managerial duties with the Boston American baseball team.”

“Murdered in the South. Colored College Student’s brother victim of Race Prejudice. Leon C. James, the colored student at the college who has been making his home at the residence of Rev. Henry D. Jordan on Fitch St., has been called to his home to the south owing to the sudden and most tragic death of his brother. James’ home is in Christianburg, VA, and his brother was comfortably located in a W. Virginia city where he was engaged in the retail business. At a recent election for alderman to the city council, the brother was elected from his ward over a white opponent. The election of a colored candidate in preference to a white man it is said to have aroused the light skinned residents of the ward, and race prejudice feeling reached such an intense pitch that a lively political shooting affair resulted in the death of the colored alderman. It is probably that Leon James will not return to College this year.”

“Socialist Kulp Gave Address. The Socialist Hall over Howard’s Meat Market was packed twice Sunday afternoon and evening, the attraction being attorney Frank A. Kulp of Battle Creek, who spoke on the principles of Socialism.”

“Marshall. The Burial service for the Rev. Dr. Peter A. Baart. [NOTE: Fr. Baart was an early Catholic priest here in Albion who purchased the land for the Catholic Section in Riverside Cemetery] was a ceremony of uncommon impressiveness, especially as the 100 priests, white robed and carrying blazing candles in their hands, chanted the solemn responses. For an hour this service, entirely in Latin, was participated in and then came the funeral mass, conducted by Very Rev. M.J. P. Dempsey, vicar general of Detroit. During the service, the remains of Father Baart reposed in a plain oaken casket, at the foot of the chancel, clad in purple vestments, the hands clasping a communion cup. At the completion of the sermon, the church was cleared, and preceded by the clergy in carriages, the funeral procession was formed and soon wended its way to the Catholic Cemetery [St. Mary’s, just east of Marshall] where the body was interred.” [NOTE: See our article about Fr. Baart in the March 17, 2002 edition of this column.]

Next: THE GREAT FLOOD OF 1908, Part 1

Next 100 Years Ago Article: March 1908

Read more Albion 100 Years Ago articles

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