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 14, 2013, pg. 12

Iíve made an interesting historical discovery. Question: How many Coffins are buried in Riverside Cemetery? 15,000? 16,000? No, the answer is just TWO! How can that be? The answer/reason is found at the end of this article.

As the weather gets warmer, more and more people go to Riverside Cemetery to tidy up their family burial plots in time for Memorial Day. We all experienced how important the bridge over the Kalamazoo River by the Cemetery was when it was closed for reconstruction a couple of years ago. People driving into our community along M-99 can see the beauty of the millpond, as well as the well-kept cemetery grounds. The "Welcome to Albion" sign and the Veteranís Memorial Stage with its proudly-flying flags are showpieces for our community.

That stretch of M-99 by the Cemetery wasnít always M-99. In fact, it wasnít until the 1930s that state traffic was routed that way. Beforehand "M-9" as it was called turned onto Irwin Avenue and followed the "back way" into Homer. M-99 by the Cemetery was once called Riverside Drive, aptly named by its location along the river millpond, and alongside Riverside Cemetery.

The road wasnít always paved, either. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a postcard photograph taken around 1908. It shows the unpaved road with the caption reading "View on Riverside Drive, Albion, Mich." This photo was shot at the Cemetery entrance and looks south. Notice the white wooden fence on the left marking the boundary of the Cemetery. This fence was in existence through World War I, after which it was removed. Notice also the dirt road and the buggy tracks. Just imagine how difficult it would have been to navigate this stretch during the spring rains.

Oh, regarding the number of Coffins in Riverside Cemetery. There are just two: Thomas Edward (1838-1899) Coffin, and his wife Laura (Aldrich) Coffin (1840-1907). They are interred in Block 93 and Lot 7. Thomas was a Civil War veteran, and served in Company D of the 21st Illinois Infantry. Now you know.

A postcard photograph taken around 1908


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