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, August 21, 2011, pg. 17

We wish Albion College the best success in finding a practical use for the historic Washington Gardner High School building. Of course, I wish the $4 million still owed on the building’s bond issue could have been transferred, too. With all of their resources and networking on their side, maybe Albion College will be able to accomplish something positive for our community regarding this building. We will now wait patiently and see what the College can come up with.

Occasionally in this column we like to feature an historic Albion milk bottle, as I am able to acquire them. This week’s bottle is from the Sweeney Dairy. The Sweeney name goes back to the very beginnings of Albion-area history. In 1835, Jonathan Sweeney (1817-1898) settled 400 acres of land four miles southwest of Albion along 24 Mile Road. He built a home there in 1840, with an addition added later. The Sweeney’s were involved in farming at this location for well over 125 years.

Jonathan’s son George Sweeney (1869-1950) took over the family homestead farming operations upon the death of his father, and for over 30 years continued the work there. In the mid-1920s George turned the operations of the farm over to his son Donald (1895-1972), who subsequently became a long-time member of the Calhoun County Board of Supervisors, and the Calhoun County Fair board.

George and his wife Agnes (Shadley) (1872-1960) thereby moved to Albion, where they lived at 319 Lincoln St. beginning in 1927. For 18 years from 1927 to 1945 the couple operated the Sweeney Dairy from their Lincoln St. address. Also partner in the firm was their son John Sweeney (1893-1963).

The Sweeney’s would process, bottle and deliver milk to customers throughout Albion along a regular delivery route. In those days the milk was placed in a holding box found usually by the front steps. Each bottle had the name of the particular dairy molded into the glass.

In November, 1945, George retired and sold the dairy to Jesse Holmes and Lawrence Martin, who renamed it the Riverside Dairy. Riverside Dairy operated at 318 Lincoln St. for many years into the 1960s, and included a neighborhood grocery store which sold lots of candy to us kids.

From our this week we present a photograph of a Sweeney one quart milk bottle, dated 1936. How many of our readers remember the Sweeney Dairy?

Sweeney One Quart Milk Bottle from 1936

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - September 1911

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