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, July 7, 2019, pg. 5

Recently it was announced that passenger trains moving through Albion will be increasing their speeds through town this year as part of the plan to reduce the travel time between Detroit and Chicago. Trains will still have to slow down by the College however for safety, as the tracks make a big curve by S. Hannah and E. Erie Streets.

On July 8, 1944, Albion celebrated the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Michigan Central Railroad to town. (I previously wrote about the 1844 coming of the railroad to Albion on May 12). The local celebration commemorating that milestone was attended by numerous state railroad officials, as well as by other dignitaries. The activities were somewhat muted due to restrictions during World War II, but still several thousand persons showed up for the day’s festivities.

A parade at 2:30 pm. featured a 19th century theme, containing covered wagons, horses, and 19th century costumes. At 3:00 pm. a Centennial Program was held just north of the Post Office on the site of the old Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad Depot which had been removed several years earlier. There the railroad dignitaries as well as City officials gave their speeches, and the Albion City Band performed several numbers.

Unfortunately, the temperature that afternoon was 96 degrees and many attendees moved to shade under nearby trees where they listened to the ceremony over loudspeakers. The day concluded with a costume party at the Parker Inn Hotel at 8:00 pm.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of one of the entries in the 1944 Railroad Centennial parade. It shows Maurice Osborn (1902-1980) leading the way with his old fashioned high-wheel bicycle. His father, Charles Osborn (1865-1917) was an early bicycle and automobile dealer in Albion. Next is a bicycle-for-two driven for the Frost Shoe Store, in business in Albion since 1867. The riders are dressed in decorative leather outfits. On the far right is a bicycle driven by a man representing the Blaisdell Clothing Store in town. Many of our readers will recognize the Albion Pastry bakery in the background.

Now, years later, Albion is fortunate that it still has Amtrak passenger service stopping here at the railroad depot: One train in each direction each day. How many of our readers have ever taken a train from the Albion depot?

1944 Railroad Centennial Parade


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