Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, August 14, 2016, pg. 14
Work is rapidly progressing on the newly named Ludington building at 101 N. Superior St, formerly known as the Parker-Kessler Block. The process of massively remodeling a building into something different in downtown Albion is not something new. It was exactly 100 years ago that one of Albionís most prominent and historic landmarks was reconstructed: The Jesse Crowell Stone Mill at 207 S. Superior St.
The Stone Mill was erected in 1845 as a water-powered flour mill, and was later converted to steam power. The firm built up a flour trade which was known nationwide. It discontinued business in the early 1900s, and was purchased by local investors, the Albion Holding Company, which sold it to the Commercial & Savings Bank in the fall of 1915. It was decided to reconstruct the bank on the site, using part of the old Mill stone walls. Work began on February 1, 1916.
The Albion Leader newspaper editor William B. Gildart (1848-1918) wrote an "obituary" for the Stone Mill as well as a lengthy poem (too long to publish here). In it he wrote: "Last fall the Old Stone Mill was sold to a syndicate, who decided to reconstruct on its site using part of the old walls, a modern bank building, and early in the winter, work of wrecking the mill began. A local junk man bought and broke up the machinery. The roof and front have been torn away, and today it looks as if it might have been the victim of a German Zeppelin raid. In reconstruction, much of the old stone taken out of the front will be used in the rear wall, and both side walls will be retained. The new building will be sort of Phoenix, rising from the ashes of its ancestor, a fitting successor to the Old Stone Mill."
As part of the reconstruction process, the large 1845 cornerstone of the Mill was removed and placed in Crowell Park. The new bank replaced it with a "1916" date above the front door. The bank moved from its 101 E. Erie St. location and officially opened for business at this new site on January 1, 1917.
From our Historical Notebook this week, we present a before, a during, and an after-reconstruction of the Stone Mill. For those who come to do you banking here, be sure and congratulate First Merit Bank on the 100th anniversary of the of their building.
The Stone Mill: Before
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