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, August 18, 2019, pg. 3

The coming of Interstate-94 in 1960 and an entrance/exit on 28 Mile Road (N. Eaton St) offered business opportunities on the busy I-94 business route into town. In the mid-1960s, there was an iconic hamburger establishment that opened at 12883 N. Eaton St. which was in a class of its own. It was owned by Harold Harshbarger of Williamston, and was called the Satellite Drive-In. Williamston owned several restaurants in the Lansing area.

The Satellite offered the fast burger-fries-drink concept to our community, and became quite a popular place. Burgers were only 15 cents each, which brought in throngs of persons. The business was originally managed by Roy Wise of Lansing.

The Satellite had a character of its own. The early 1960s were the days of the U.S. Mercury space program which thrust our first astronauts into space. The Satellite had a plastic-looking red and white décor with a large satellite star perched high on a pole in front of the building. There was a large model Mercury space capsule in front of the place. This included a window in the space capsule you could look inside and view a plate containing a hamburger, fries, and drink. Kids especially liked this, and families came just to see the capsule up close.

In 1971 Betty Harris (1934-1994) became the manager of the Satellite, and an addition was built to accommodate inside seating. In the meantime, the major national hamburger chain, McDonalds, came to town in 1972, and significantly affected the business of the Satellite.

The Satellite Drive-In closed in 1976, and today’s Pizza Hut was subsequently erected on the site. The Mercury space capsule was rescued and ended up at Albion High School, where it was apparently stored for several years before its demise.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photo of the Satellite Drive-In with the Mercury space capsule out front. How many of our readers remember this place?

The Satellite Drive-In


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