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, April 12, 2009, pg. 14

Occasionally a special photograph comes our way to share with our readers here in our Historical Notebook. Pictured this week is a memorable gathering taken in front of “company housing” at possibly 907 or 911 Austin Avenue (south side) circa 1914. Across the street in the background appears to be 908 Austin Avenue which later became the home of Martin Rudick. That house is still there today.

This was a gathering of the family of Helen Egnatuk (1846-1946) and friends. Mrs. Egnatuk was the matriarch of the Russian immigrant community and was the liaison for the Albion Malleable Iron Company. It might possibly be a wedding party (one of many) Mrs. Egnatuk was hosting. Here we see people dressed well, with fancy drinks being consumed for this special occasion. The groom appears to be standing behind the Victrola (that’s an early record player). If anyone else has this photo with more information and/or identifications please let me know.

This photo is significant for two reasons. First, Helen’s oldest son Alexander Egnatuk and his family soon moved back to Russia. There Alexander fought in the Russian Revolution; he lived the remainder of his life there and died in 1954. Second, Albion would soon become “dry” in 1915 along with the rest of Calhoun County, and people to travel to “wet” Jackson County in order to purchase alcoholic beverages until Prohibition was adopted everywhere. This photo could therefore be alternatively captioned, “One final ‘cheer’ before Prohibition.”

Left to right, in the front row on the ground is Egnat Egnatuk (1895-1977), an unidentified man, then the boy Konstantin Egnatuk (son of Alexander) with his uncle Vladimir (Walter) (1893-1952) Egnatuk above. Next with hat in hand is Alexander Egnatuk followed by his brother-in-law Ivan Zalevsky. On the far right end standing with arm at his side is Grigori (George) Dubowik (1883-1956). In the top row of five men (L-R), the second person is Paul Basuk (1891-1958).

On the far left in the bushes is Alex Dmitruk (1887-1923). The woman holding her baby Nicholas Egnatuk (d. 1990) is Minadora (Zalevsky) Egnatuk, wife of Alexander. The woman with the large hat is Anna (Egnatuk) Dmitruk (1890-1969). Below her is Helen (Bleshinski) “Stararuska” Egnatuk (1846-1946) with her granddaughters Olga (daughter of Alexander), and Helen Dmitruk (1911-2002) below. All others are unidentified. Special thanks to Sergei Ignatuk of Kobrin, Belarus, a great-grandson Alexander, for supplying this week’s photograph. The baby Nicholas in this photo is Sergei’s grandfather.

The Egnatuk Family Gathering at 908 Austin Avenue, circa 1914


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