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, March 24, 2019, pg. 5

We continue with our topic about "hunkytown," the early 20th century Russian and Eastern European immigrant business section of Austin Avenue in Albion. Many of the fathers of their customers worked at the nearby Albion Malleable Iron Company.

The name Dubina was a prominent one in "hunkytown" in the early 20th century, as the family was involved in numerous mercantile enterprises which serviced the immigrant community. This week we are featuring the Dubina grocery, once located at 700 Austin Ave. on the northwest corner with N. Albion St.

Mike Dubina (1886-1959) was a native of Russia who came to the U.S. in 1906. Living first in New York City, Mike moved to Albion in 1910 with his wife Sophia (Billinska) (1878-1972) and obtained work at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. He first lived in company housing, house No. 25, in the so-called "foreign settlement." The Dubina's began boarding other Malleable workers, and subsequently erected their own boarding house in 1914 on Sheridan St. Mike opened his own grocery store in 1916 which he operated until 1920 when he sold it to Chris Petroff and it was renamed the Union Grocery Company. Later in 1927 it was purchased by the Tyzsko's and they built their legacy there over the following decades.

Mike purchased the building at 700 Austin Ave in the 1920s and started another grocery store, where he worked the rest of his working career before retiring in 1947. Upon his retirement he sold the business to his daughter Ann and her husband LeLand Carrigan, and the grocery was re-named Carrigan's. They continued operating the store until it was heavily damaged by a fire bomb on April 7, 1968 during a weekend of civil unrest in Albion. They did not re-open the store as a result. The names of those caught and arrested were published in the April 10, 1968 edition of the Albion Evening Recorder, page 1.

Many of our residents will remember that this building subsequently became the home of A to Z Sweeper Service for many years, owned and operated by Richard Weatherford. Today the building houses the T & T beauty supply shop, and is one of the few places that is still open along this stretch of Austin Avenue.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1939 photograph of Dubina's Grocery, and its namesake, Mike Dubina. How many of our readers remember when it was Dubina's or Carrigan's?

Dubina Grocery, 700 Austin Ave., 1939

Michael Dubina 1941 Citizenship

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - APRIL 1919

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