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 - January 1911

Morning Star, January 2, 2011, pg. 4

Happy New Year, everyone! We continue with our theme of "Albion, 100 Years Ago." Week ending January 5, 1911. "The foremen of the Union Steel Screen company gave the employees of the company who have been in the employ of the company more than six months, a fine eight course banquet in the Woodman Hall Monday evening, with E. M. Mounteer having charge of the menu." "Sixty-five employees of the Gale Manufacturing Company, partook of an elaborate banquet Monday evening and dedicated the new building recently erected as the factory office of the company."

Week ending January 12, 1911: "Big Explosion at Gas Works. Residents in the central portion of the city were suddenly awakened Saturday about 2 o’clock a.m. by a loud report, and the shaking of doors and windows. It appeared as though the gas plant just south of the Michigan Central depot was enveloped in flames. The fire bell at the engine house gave the signal and citizens, slimly clad, made haste to the scene of the disturbance. Arriving there, the marks of a powerful explosion were everywhere manifest. The roof of the southeast room next to the black gas tank, was blazing brightly."

"Arthur Wheat, a mere boy of 17 years, is confined to the local jail on a most serious charge. Wheat is alleged to have passed forged checks to the amount of $40 on George W. Schneider and J. Leach within the past fourteen days. The young fellow is a resident of Springport; has served time in the State Reform School at Lansing and seems to think lightly of his offense."

"May Be Expensive Luxury. Some supporters Say there will be no prisoners to work on highways. Others think it is too expensive. Several members of the board of supervisors Friday voted against adopting the report of the committees to work the prisoners in the county jail on the public highways between Albion and Battle Creek."

Week ending January 19, 1911: "Could Have Started a Store. Young Arthur Wheat, check forger, was a purchaser of a healthy layout for himself and sweetheart. Under Sheriff Mallory has in his possession $101.74 worth of merchandise purchased by Arthur Wheat, Jr., the young lad who is awaiting the decision of the authorities. Wheat signed all of his checks in pencil. They were crude affairs, plainly the work of an illiterate person. Yesterday, until nearly the last moment, he held that a young lady friend of his, Miss Pearl Sargent, age 15 of Springport, had made out the forged notes. Luckily the Sargent girl happened to be in the city yesterday morning to meet a friend and Under Sheriff Mallory took her to Justice Watson’s court…The young lady in the case is guiltless. Wheat on the other hand has all of the earmarks of a young rascal. He told conflicting stories from the time he was arrested and seems to possess no idea of morality. He is plainly a degenerate."

"The North Ward Question. Between the hours of 5 and 8 o’clock on Friday afternoon, January 27th in the high school building on Michigan Ave, will take place the balloting on the proposition of allowing additional money for the construction of a new schoolhouse in this city. Last fall the citizens voted on the proposition of allowing $15,000 for a new building at the North Ward. With the 8-room building, it is the idea to relieve the oppression at the Central School, to take the pupils from the basement and to house all pupils in the grades who live north of the Lake Shore tracks and west of Maple. [NOTE: This was erected as the Charles F. Austin Elementary School]" From our Historical Notebook this week we illustrate the two "cornerstones" at Austin School found in the front arch.

Austin School 1911 Corner Stone

Austin School Corner Stone Name

2011 view of Austin School

Week ending January 28, 1911: "With the excavating for a cellar under the Albion National Bank building [Note: the north half of Fedco], the workmen are bringing bits of ancient history to light, morsels of Albion of 75 years ago. Remnants of a thriving industry which was the sole occupant of what is known as Superior St. Six solid oak logs were found by the men who are at work. These timbers were 12 inches square at the ends and several feet in length. In 1835 or 1836 the Albion Company constructed a saw mill in the rear of the stores extending from the alley south of the stone mill to the present location of the M.U.R. waiting room. The mill was in charge of Asahel Finch. The mill yard was to the west of the saws and the Albion National Bank now stands over the old yard where the logs were stored. The logs taken from the Albion national Bank cellar the other day are now being cut up and dried, and as far as is known, they are the last relics of Albion’s first industry."


Next 100 Years Ago Article: February 1911

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