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, October 7, 2018, pg. 13

We continue with our topic about "hunkytown,"the early 20th century Russian and Eastern European immigrant business section of Austin Avenue designated today as the "Austin Avenue Corridor."Many of the fathers of their customers worked at the nearby Albion Malleable Iron Company. This week we are featuring the Paul Koroluk building at 610 Austin Avenue. Paul Koroluk (1888-1967) operated his candy store here from 1927 to 1948. He too, was a native of Kobrin, White Russia as were his neighbor merchants, the Pavluchik’s whom we featured in the August 19 edition of this column. Those persons who grew up on the "West End"in the early 20th century enjoyed frequenting this establishment. It was known for its particular brand of candy which he sold, as well as providing a place to sit and talk while enjoying a soda or an ice cream sundae. Children would literally purchase a "penny candy"for 1¢ each on their walk to school each day. Paul resided in living quarters behind the store.

Upon his retirement in 1948, Paul sold his business to his relative Russell Krusik (1921-1985), who turned the place into the husband-and-wife J (Julia) & R (Russell) Variety Store. Later, the Krusik’s hired a young man to operate it. The 1955 city directory lists John [S.] Klimkiewicz as the owner at that time. He was the son of Polish immigrant, John Klimkiewicz. John apparently only had the business for a short time before closing it.

Russell Krusik erected a cinder block addition onto the right (east) side of the Candy Store structure around 1950 and opened the Albion Laundromat. Harold C. Miller (1921-1975) purchased the laundromat from Krusik in 1953, and operated it until 1967. It had 12 single load washers, 2 triple load washers, 2 industrial dryers, and shirt pressing units. This was apparently quite popular with local factory workers. Miller also started pick-up and delivery for the Albion College fraternities, but had problems getting them to pay. How many of our readers remember the Albion Laundromat? I’m still looking for a photograph of it.

As the ethnic-European residents of the area died off or moved away from "hunkytown"following the War, African-American residents replaced them and they, too opened their own businesses. The 1958, 1960, and 1962 directories list Herbert Grice and Daniel Coney operating their G & C Recreation pool room in the old Koroluk candy/J & R Variety store location. Following that, a variety of businesses operated in these two buildings in the 1970s and 1980s, with the pool rooms in the wood frame Koroluk building, and the restaurants in the old laundromat. The 1971, 1972, and 1974 directories list Kris’Barbeque owned by Christine Jones. The 1976 directory lists Black’s Barbeque, as well as Eddies’Poolroom, with Black’s Restaurant listed in 1977.

The 1979 directory lists "Danny Sole (spelled that way) Food,"and Reynolds Pool Room. The latter continued in the 1980 directory, showing Curtis Reynolds as the owner/manager. The last listing for these buildings appears in the 1988 directory, listing Amos & Amos Barbeque, owned by Carolyn & Dwight Amos. Since then, the building has been vacant and has been deteriorating, as have the other buildings in this stretch which once contained bustling businesses of European immigrants.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present an inside photograph of Paul Koroluk inside confectionary store, shown standing behind the counter on the left. Notice the "Arctic Ice Cream"sign behind him. The two customers seated on the right are Ernest (1924-2014) and George (1923-1970) Kulikowski, uncles of yours truly. Our second photograph shows how the building looks like from the outside today. If you look closely, you’ll see a cement post in the middle where a small U.S. mailbox was once fastened.

Paul Koroluk inside his store in the 1940s with Ernest and George Kulikowski

Koroluk building, 610 Austin Ave. in August of 2018


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