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 21, 2018, pg. 9.

One hundred years ago (1918) the U.S. was in the midst of fighting in World War I. Albionís men answered the call to duty and enlisted in droves into the armed forces to serve their country. The War also affected Albion College, which saw many of its male students withdraw and join the branch of service of their choice, rather than being drafted. Those students who remained were required to take part in military drills on campus as part of their course work. Military drills began in 1917.

The Student Army Training Corps (SATC) was subsequently formed in 1918. The College worked with the U.S. War Department which approved a program designed to enlist students into the service, train them for active duty, and identify and train future officers.

Several Albion College buildings were transformed into an army military base. The Epworth Physical Laboratory was the headquarters; the Old North Building was turned into a barracks as was the Sigma Chi house, while the North Hall served as a business headquarters. The Womanís Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) building on E. Erie St. served as the Mess Hall. Robinson Hall was designated as the camp infirmary and saw unexpected use: The deadly Spanish influenza epidemic struck here in October, 1918. Over a hundred of the 250 SATC members were afflicted and treated at Robinson Hall. Several dozen Albion town residents died of that flu in the months to come.

Students were required to take two hours of military training each day, plus a "war course"class. The first fifteen SATC students were shipped to the Central Infantry Officerís Training Camp at Rockford, Illinois on November 15, 1918. With the end of the War occurring that same month however, the SATC members were discharged in the following weeks and the last man left on December 15. Thus ended the SATC and military training at Albion College until March, 1943 when Army Air Force Cadet training began during World War II.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present Albion College SATC soldiers marching on the main campus of Albion College in 1918, with the Epworth headquarters building in the distance. How many of our readers had ancestors who served in World War I?

World War I Albion College soldiers on campus

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - NOVEMBER 1918

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