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, July 27, 2014, pg. 16

The railroad has been around in Albion for a very long time. The railroad was a major means of transporting goods, services, and passengers for many years. It was a major connection to the rest of the world. The first train arrived in Albion in 1844. These early trains rode on top of "strap iron" that was fastened to the top of wooden ties.

Railroads were in the plans for Albion from the very beginning of our community. Proposed railroads appear on the very first plat map of the Village, in 1836. This plat map was drawn in the Territory of Michigan by members of the Albion Company, and dated May 12, 1836. It was validated by W. J. Phelps, the local Justice of the Peace, and subsequently registered with the Calhoun County Registerís Office in Marshall.

1836 Albion Village Plat Map

This is the map that laid out the streets of our community, gave them names, and made provision for parks and other special features. Oak St. was the southernmost street at the time. Our focus this week however are the two railroads that were envisioned for our community found on that 1836 map. They were envisioned just a few blocks west of "The Forks" of the Kalamazoo River, the latter of which was what attracted settlers here. From our Historical Notebook we present a portion of that map, showing the southern portion of town. Letís take a look.

On the left we see the corner of S. Superior and Oak Sts. where two dotted lines intersect. One line moves diagonally from the southeast and moves northwest. This is labeled "Survey of Rail Road from Monroe to Marshall." The other line moves diagonally from the east, turning southwest. It is labeled "Experimental Survey of Railroad from Detroit to St. Joseph." The latter of course was eventually built in 1844, several blocks northwards. Those would be where our present tracks run. How many of our residents have rode on a train originating from our local railroad depot?


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