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 28, 2015, pg. 12

We drive by it every day: the closed Washington Gardner High School building which takes up the entire block frontage on E. Michigan Avenue between N. Berrien and N. Huron Sts. Many communities across Michigan have similar situations, i.e. large high school buildings built in the 1920s that were later turned into Junior High buildings and now sit empty.

The Washington Gardner High School structure was a combination of several building projects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries which culminated in the present building in 1928. It was named after Albion’s Congressman, the Hon. Washington Gardner (1845-1928) who lived just up the street on E. Michigan Avenue.

Most photographs that I have seen of the high school were taken from the side street corners, or a close-up "head-on" photo of the front step area. I’ve never seen a "head on" photograph of the entire front before until this past year. This is because the building is so long. The distance required to take such a photograph was problematic because of the houses across the street got in the way for photographers.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a mostly-full front view image of the high school, taken from the corner at N. Huron St. This postcard photograph dates from the 1940s. It shows most of the front of the high school. Notice the cars parked out front. In the center across the street is a boy on roller skates! This of course was before skateboards were invented. This must have been popular back then, because the boy to the right of the fire hydrant is also wearing roller skates there on busy U.S.-12. On the right on the corner is a fire hydrant. It should be remembered that during the time this photo was taken, Washington Gardner held all grades.

How many of our readers remember going to school at the Washington Gardner High School building?

A mostly-full front view image of Washington Gardner High School

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - July 1915

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