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.

THEN AND NOW: 1911 And 2016

Morning Star, January 10, 2016, pg. 4

I’ve avoided the "Then and Now" theme in this column, as it would usually be "politically incorrect." You know what I mean: First featuring an old photograph of vibrant thriving Albion businesses, factories and schools, and next illustrating let’s say, a present-day photo of a vacant lot where an elaborate Albion College fraternity or an adobe house used to be, or an empty downtown Albion business location, or an empty factory site. We all can think of examples of this sort of thing. This year however we have some hope. A brand new hotel is scheduled to be built in the 200 block of S. Superior St. in downtown Albion, which includes the site where a hotel once stood in the 19th century (The Commercial Hotel at 108 W. Porter St.)

Let’s compare. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a "Then and Now" theme of the 200 block of S. Superior St. Our first photo is a 1911 picture postcard taken by the noted Michigan photographer Louis Pesha (1868-1912) of Marine City. Moving from left to right, this begins with the 4-story Eslow Block (218) on the corner of S. Superior and W. Porter Sts. The top story was destroyed by a fire in 1919. The advertisement painted on the side states "J. C. Eslow and Son Insurance." Note: A continuation of this photo by Pesha showing the W. Porter St. view (facing west) can be found on page 102 of my 2013 book "Albion [Postcards]" printed by Arcadia Publishing. The name on the awing on the corner states "The Albion Café." Isn’t it appropriate that the new proposed hotel will have a restaurant, too?

The next spot in the Eslow Block with no awning is the Bijou Theatre (216) which opened there in 1909. In the next building which housed George Caines’ paint store in the late 20th century, was the Kilian Furniture and Undertaking establishment (212). Those two themes "went together" well back then, as furniture makers often made caskets, too--sort of a "full service" business. Next in the building which housed Wilkings’ Office Supply in the late 20th century is pictured the Afton A. Dibble Clothing Store (210). Next, in the building which housed the Acme Quality Paint (208) in the late 20th century is shown an unnamed café with a small café sign above. In the 1913 Albion City Directory it lists the W. B. Clarke Billiards (208) at that location which in those days often included a café. Next, the Talmage & Bauer Meat Market (206) is shown located in the south half of the Howard Hall building, presently the closed Sam Friia law office, while the Ladies’ & Gents’ Café (Hoaglin & Ganka) is located next door (north, 204), where Foxy Nails is located today. A small sign stating "Billiards, Café" appears above the awning. The last two businesses, the George Schneider clothing store (202), and the C. S. Tucker Dry Goods store (200) are located in the building on the far north end of the block.

Our second photograph shows how this same view looks like today. What will this same view look like next year when the hotel is completed? We’ll all have to wait and see.

200 block of S. Superior St. NOW

200 block of S. Superior St. THEN


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