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, June 16, 2013, pg. 6

Harrington School was the last elementary school built in Albion. It was erected in 1956-57 to alleviate overcrowding at Washington Gardner High School building. It accommodated the post World War II "baby boomer" generation and the large influx of residents to our community that had come to work at Corning Glass Works in the early 1950s.

Here are the details: As the elementary school population increased, so did the number of students in the higher grades. The Washington Gardner High School complex was filled to capacity, and elementary students on the east side of the city went to the Gardner Grade School in the east wing of the building.

The need thereby arose for a new elementary school. The site chosen was just outside the east city limits at 101 N. Clark St. The location had formerly been the Albion City Dump, and such items as Albion's early street lamps, still lie buried underneath the school site. The area was annexed to the City of Albion, along with a strip of land purchased from the Bushong family which later became the school bus lot.

On January 25, 1956, the City Bank and Trust Company purchased $600,000 in bonds payable at 2.26% interest towards the construction of the school. On June 19 of that year, the school board awarded the construction contract to Miller-Davis Company of Kalamazoo, and work began shortly thereafter. The total cost of the project was $680,000.

The Harrington Elementary School opened for classes on September 5, 1957. The school was named in honor of retired Albion Public School superintendent Donald Harrington (1874-1961), who had been superintendent from 1919 to 1939. The Gardner Grade School classes were transferred to Harrington School, and congestion at Washington Gardner was temporarily relieved.

The first principal at Harrington was Deo Galbraith, who served in that position for four years. He was followed by Donald E. Reiman (1930-1988), who served as principal there for 25 years from 1961 until 1986.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the ceremonial groundbreaking and cornerstone laying of Harrington School, on October 19, 1956. It features members of the Albion Board of Education and dignitaries. Left to right: Superintendent George Walkotten, George Matthews, C. Reginald Smith, John Shuring, Harriet Harrington, Otis Myers, Mary Felisky, Dr. Alice Campbell, and of course, Dr. Donald Harrington himself. How many of our readers went to Harrington School? If you have one of those class grade photographs from the 1960s such as we've featured from time-to-time in this column in the past, let me know; I'd like to feature it here in this column in the future.

The final day of classes at Harrington School was held on Friday, June 7, 2013, after nearly 56 years of operation. Goodbye, Harrington School.

Ceremonial groundbreaking on October 19, 1956


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