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 4, 2010, pg. 8

For the past 16 years or so I have conducted an annual guided tour of selected gravesites in Riverside Cemetery. In recent years these have been held the second Sunday in October at 1:30 pm. I have spent many hours of research preparing these annual programs as a public service to our community. It takes several months to prepare a tour program. In recent years however I have found that my personal time schedule is more crowded. Furthermore, there is no “Hometown TV” to record and air these programs anymore. I would be willing to hand over my tour responsibilities to some person(s) or group willing to produce one, and give them tips as to how to prepare such a tour. If you would be interested, please contact me at: Albionfp@hotmail.com or (517) 629-5402. My tour booklets from past years are still available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce next to Citizens Bank while supplies last.

Here are some “big words” to ponder. If 150 years makes a sesquicentennial, and 200 years is a bicentennial, what is 175 years? Why, it’s a demisemiseptcentennial, of course (or quartoseptcentennial if you prefer). Don’t feel so bad, I had to look up the words myself. In any case, Albion’s 175th anniversary has crept up on us this year unaware. I remember our sesquicentennial back in 1985 when I served on the sesquicentennial committee, and Rae Corliss and myself came out with a huge edition of the Journal of Albion to celebrate the event. My, how time flies. To my knowledge, there are no official community celebrations planned to mark this 175th milestone in 2010.

There are a variety of dates that could be used to celebrate Albion’s “founding,” but why 1835? It was in 1835 (that’s 175 years ago, folks) that “Albion’s greatest benefactor,” Jesse Crowell (1797-1872) arrived at “the Forks.” Secondly, 1835 was the year that what became Albion College received its act of incorporation charter from the Michigan Territorial Legislature under the name Spring Arbor Seminary. It of course moved here to Albion a few years later as the Wesleyan Seminary. As a side note, the year 1935 was chosen to celebrate Albion’s centennial, and thus those are the years to which we adhere.

There is a large State of Michigan historical marker on the south side of Michigan Avenue at Ingham St. imbedded in an Albion College monument detailing this historical College data. Unfortunately this neglected marker really needs re-painting/refurbishing along with the monument and is hard to read (hint, hint), otherwise I would have pictured it in this week’s column.

For those unfamiliar with Albion history, the first white settlers came to “the Forks” of the Kalamazoo River as early as 1832 and 1833. The first permanent settlers were P. Tenney and Eleanor (Thompson) Peabody and their family. It was Jesse Crowell who organized the “Albion Company,” a real estate firm which laid the plat to the village in June, 1836. Crowell gave Mrs. Peabody, the first white woman to settle here, the honor of naming our village. We could have been called Peabodyville (can you imagine having the name Peabodyville College, and it’s football team, the “pods?” , but fortunately sanity prevailed and we were named Albion--Not after Albion, New York near Buffalo, but after Albion Township in Oswego County, N.Y. from which Mr. Crowell came.

So, “happy birthday” Albion on our 175 years in existence. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a portrait of Jesse Crowell, after whom Crowell School, Crowell Park, and Crowell St. are named.

Jesse Crowell (1797-1872)

Next: Union Steel Softball Team 1940

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