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, August 19, 2018, pg. 3

The old Pavluchik Grocery building at 606-608 Austin Avenue will soon be demolished after years of abandonment. This area of Austin Avenue, known as "hunky-town,"once served the immigrant population whose fathers worked at the nearby Albion Malleable Iron Company. The Pavluchik Grocery was a place to purchase not only food items, but dry goods such as shoes or household goods as well. The Pavluchik family lived in their house behind the store.

John Pavluchik (1888-1970) came to the U.S. in 1903. He was one of many men who were from Kobrin, White Russia that came to work at the Malleable. His wife Harriet Sedaruk (1886-1946) was also from the Kobrin area, and the two married in 1909. They came to Albion in 1920. John worked for the Malleable from 1921 until 1942, at which time he switched to Union Steel Products where he remained before retiring in 1946. The couple had three children: Mary, Helen, and Nicholas. Nicholas (1910-1944) was the first soldier from Albion to be killed in the service in World War II. He died in action in Italy on February 8, 1944.

The Pavluchik’s closed their store in the late 1930s, and rented the building to George Wright Recreation, a pool hall, as listed in the 1939 city directory. In 1941 it is listed as [Joe] Masternak Recreation. Area African-Americans also began to establish their own businesses along Austin Avenue. Moses Union moved his dry cleaner business into the Pavluchik building during World War II. He continued there for several more years before moving into the former Russian Baptist Church building a few doors to the west in the early 1950s. The Union Barber Shop is listed in the east side of the building (606) in the 1948-49 directory, operated by Theodore Kurtz.

As a reflection of the changing population demographics in the area during the 1950s, a series of restaurants then operated here. The 1955 directory lists the Austin Restaurant operated by Lila and James Green. This became the Westside Grille operated by Herbert Grice in 1958. In 1960 it was known as Maggie’s Luncheon, run by Maggie Womack. The building became vacant around 1962, until Super’s Bar-B-Que came in 1963. In 1965 the building housed a beauty parlor known as the Patterson House of Style, operated by Julia Patterson. It continued at this location through the 1970s. The building has since been vacant and will soon be gone forever, and with it will go a part of Albion’s ethnic history.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present "Then and Now."First is a 1939 photograph of the Pavluchik building with "Wright’s Recreation"painted on the window. Notice the interurban rail tracks in the street; these still remain buried under the asphalt today. Our second photo is how the same scene appears today. How many of our readers remember being a customer in one of the businesses that were once located in this building?

Pavluchik Grocery building Wrights Recreation, 1939

Pavluchik building, west side, Aug. 7, 2018


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