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 10, 2018, pg. 12

Over a hundred years ago, even the dogs had to pay taxes in Albion—at least you’d think that by the tags that were issued. An abundance of dogs was a problem at the turn of the century. It first was a local city, village, or township problem. Those entities were assigned the task of annually licensing dogs in their jurisdictions until around 1920. What was the penalty if you don't license your dog? The November 24, 1919 issue of the Albion Recorder answers that question: "The township and city treasurers will begin collecting the dog tax the first of December. Dogs on which the tax has not been collected by January 24, will be killed."

The article continued with an estimated "inventory"of dogs in Calhoun County as follows: "City of Albion, 110; City of Marshall, 250; Homer township 400; Marengo, 250; Pennfield, 175; Leroy 125; Convis 105; Lee and Sheridan, 110, Eckford and Bedford, 200; Newton, Fredonia, Marshall, Albion, Battle Creek and Tekonsha Townships, 100; Burlington, Clarence, Emmett, and Clarendon Townships, 150."

The payment was called a "tax,"rather than a license, although the terms were used interchangeably on the various tags that were issued. The January 21, 1920 Recorder reported, "Last Chance to Pay Dog Tax in Albion. Dog owns must pay their dog tax this week, says City Clerk Paul P. Nagle, or they will have to go to Marshall to pay it. At the end of the week he will return unused licenses and extra tags to the county treasurer."Dog tags were subsequently issued in the name of Calhoun County, rather than the names of the individual entities.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present two early 20th century Albion dog tax tags which were worn on the collars of dogs in town.

The first dog tag of the 20th century issued in Albion in 1900 was artistically shaped like a doghouse! It measures 36 mm. in width, and 32 mm. in height. The text stamped on this piece of bronze states "LICENSE ALBION CITY 1900"and is stamped with the numeral "08."At the top in the "roof"part is the image of a dog wearing a license, facing right. This particular piece was found by metal detectorist Kerry Schaller in 2017 under the water tower in Crowell Park while he was waiting for the Superior St. brick project down the hill to open up for detecting one summer evening.

Pictured next is a bronze Albion tag for 1911 is shaped like the numeral "1,’1 inch tall and 1 1/8"in width. Stamped on it is "DOG TAX, ALBION,"with the numeral "08."This was found in the garden dirt of Steve Mills at 508 Crandall St. How many of our readers have old Albion dog tags?

DogTagAlbion1911 DogTagAlbion1911


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