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, February 22, 2015, pg. 10

When we think of borrowing money, we think of the banks, credit unions, and savings institutions our town has. But there was also another establishment here in Albion that people went to in order to obtain loans. The firm was the Liberty Loan Corporation of Monroe, a lending organization that established a branch here in Albion at 203 ½ S. Superior St. (upstairs above Nick’s Sweet Shop, same floor as dentist Dr. Heidenreich) in November, 1954. This was during Albion’s "boom" years when there was a shortage of housing, and loans were being made to build new housing. Liberty Loan specialized in small loans and sales finance operations.

The first manager was Gilbert E. Hill, Jr., who moved here with his family from East St. Louis, Illinois. Also employed in the office was Miss Dorothea Sawchuk of Burr Oak St. Liberty Loan went through numerous local managers however. Charles Ashley came in November, 1955. Donald Struve is listed as manager in the 1957 Albion City Directory, while Robert Wagner’s name appears in 1958. Some managers during the 1960s included Charles Deal, Dominic Paniccia, and William Spagnolo. The frequent change in leadership was in sharp contrast with Albion’s institutional banks, whose managers stayed around for many years. In 1960 Liberty Loan moved to 316 S. Superior St. where it remained until it closed in the late 1970s.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a November, 1955 photograph of the then-newest manager of Liberty Loan, Mr. Charles Ashley. Notice how cramped his office looks, with Mr. Ashley standing next to his desk. After seeing this photograph, one person wrote, "I wonder who his interior decorator was?" Take a close look at some of the décor and you’ll get his point. How many of our readers took out loans with Liberty Loan? For reference, we are also illustrating a 1960 photograph showing Liberty Loan’s location in the Sheldon Block next to Park’s Drug Store.

Mr. Charles Ashley, the newest manager of Liberty Loan in November of 1955.

The location of Liberty Loan on the Sheldon Block.

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - March 1915

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