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, July 19, 2009, Pg. 3

Last week we featured Gus Vervaras, restaurant owner and long-time member of the Albion Conservation Club. This week we’d like to feature another sportsman in Albion’s history: Charles Kopp (1880-1960). Born in Manchester, Charlie came to Albion as an infant with his parents. At the age of 12, he lost his left hand in a hunting accident. He fell down and got snow in the barrel of his shotgun. Later when he shot at a rabbit, the barrel exploded and blew off his hand. He lived the balance of his life with a prosthesis, mainly a hook, but he also had an artificial hand with a leather glove on it which he could screw on in place of the hook.

Despite his handicap, Charlie became good at whatever he did. His nephew, Rex Barnes wrote me recently, “He could drive a car, dress himself, all the normal things, but the only thing I can remember that he couldn’t do was tie a necktie. My mom, Reta always tied it for him when he went out. He seemed to have a way of developing a way to solve all his problems. He loved to play cards and became great a shuffling a deck of cards with one hand. No one could figure out just how he did it but he could shuffle and deal like an expert.” Charles was an avid hunter and fisherman, and went on numerous trips.

Did his handicap prevent him from working? Of course not. Charlie was employed at the Albion Malleable Iron Company for a total of 61 years! Is there anyone else who can beat that record? He began work at the Malleable in October, 1896 at the age of 16 when the firm was still located in downtown Albion. Mr. Kopp worked as a coremaker and molder, and later as a foreman, serving a total of 35 years. In 1940 he became a plant guard, a position he held until his retirement in January 1958.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photo of Charles Kopp after having returned from a hunting trip to the Upper Peninsula circa 1927. How many of our readers remember Charlie Kopp? Special thanks to Rex Barnes for supplying the information and photo for this week’s article.

Charles Kopp, circa 1927


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