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, January 26, 2020, pg. 3

Factory newsletters or magazines were once popular from the 1940s through the 1960s as a way to let employees know about not only company news, but news of their workforce family as well. There were photographs of high school graduates of employees, bowling and baseball teams, vacations, fishing contests, and birthday and anniversary lists for each month. Some of the local publications included the Albion Malleable Iron Company Circle-A-Tor, the Union Steel Messenger, Brooks Foundry News, and The Gale News.

Another magazine, the Gaffer News, was received by employees who worked at Corning Glass Works on E. North St., in operation here from 1950 to 1975. The Gaffer was published nationwide for all the Corning plants, and contained photographs and information about employees and events at Corning plants across the U.S. where Corning had a presence, including Albion.

The December, 1956 edition of the Gaffer contained a large 3-page story about Albion entitled "City of Over 12,000 Persons Is Pleasant Mixture of Industry, Education, Farming." The article gives a synopsis of Albion history and then continues with various positive aspects of our community such as Albion College, Starr Commonwealth, parks and recreation, area agriculture, churches, and of course, education.

The article describes Albion as "a pleasant city of spacious homes, wide streets and stately shade trees. Albion in mythology was the name of a giant, son of Poseidon, ruler of the seas." Somehow, today I think that the Kalamazoo River doesn't need ruling, but instead our millpond needs dredging again. In looking through various issues of the Gaffer, I find Albion amply mentioned here-and-there, including bowling photographs and local company picnic activities. It can be an alternative source of information about our community, especially during the 1950s.

Focusing on Albion's educational system, the article states, "The City of Albion is very school conscious. Since 1950 it has spent $2 million for new schools and additions, and in 1957 a $400,000 grammar school will be opened in the northern end of town [Harrington School]. The high school, under principal Harry Williams, has 1,070 students."

From our Historical Notebook this week we present one of the photographs from the article. It pictures North School principal Mrs. Frances Caldwell standing in front of the school, talking with some children of Corning employees. How many of our readers worked at Corning Glass and remember the Gaffer News?

North School principal Mrs. Frances Caldwell with some children of Corning employees

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - FEBRUARY 1920

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