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, April 14, 2019, pg. 2

We continue with our topic about "hunkytown," the early 20th century Russian and Eastern European immigrant business section of Austin Avenue referred to today as the "Austin Avenue Corridor." Tomchak’s was a well-known "west end" business for many years. Michael Tomchak (1892-1947) came to the U.S. in 1911 from his native Leskova (Kiev), Czarist Russia, and to Albion in 1913. As was the case with many immigrants, he began work at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. He established his home at 612 Austin Avenue and opened a grocery and butcher shop on the west side of his building. The east side contained his dry goods store where clothes and shoes were sold. Mike the converted that side into Mike’s Tavern. He subsequently added pool tables, discontinued the grocery, and the whole building then served as the Tavern. When you won a game of pool you would collect a metal token which could be redeemed at the place.

After Mike passed away in 1947, his widow Katherine (1911-2002) took it over and renamed it Tomchak’s Tavern. It was a popular "west end" business establishment. Katie operated the tavern through the 1960s and sponsored area bowling and softball teams. After she retired, she sold the business and it became the Paramount Lounge, and later, Adkins Lounge which operated into the early 2000s. Like most other "hunkytown" businesses along Austin Avenue, the building has since been closed for many years.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present an August 18, 1939 photo of Tomchak’s Grocery, with the abandoned Interurban tracks out front. Also illustrated is an aluminum token used for pool games from the 1940s. How many of our readers remember Tomchak’s Tavern?

Tomchak Grocery, August 18, 1939

Tomchak token

Reverse side


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