Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, May 17, 1993, pg. 7
By this time in the reconstruction of Superior St. project, everyone has learned how to get around the project, and also more about the alleyways behind the downtown buildings. As you drive through you might notice some landmarks which you haven't paid much attention to until now. one is the Albion Meat Locker building, at 201 Market Place behind City Bank & Trust company. The building looks real old, but upon investigation I discovered it was not as old as I thought it might be. This site was originally part of the Eslow Mills complex featuringa lumberyard, saw mill, planing mill, sash & door factory, etc. The factory building used to sit where the Meat Locker building now stands, and was demolished in 1916.
Attached to the factory building on the right (south) was a large smokestack with the name "ESLOW MILLS" painted in white. This was an Albion landmark for many years, and often will be the centerpiece of photographs of the Market Place during the great flood of 1908. When the factory building was demolished, the smokestack with its small building was left standing. It was located where the road goes into Stoffer Plaza today, between the two buildings.
The Maple City Dairy Company was formed in 1913 on the site of the former Albion Creamery on the south side of the present-day Victory Park waterfall. The building was destroye by fire in 1916, and owner Dann S. Birdsall purchased the former Eslow Mills smokestack and adjoining property in theMarket Place. Foundations were laid on October on the site of the old Eslow factory which had been demolished, and the new Maple City Dairy Company was opened in December, 1916. This is the building which is the Meat Locker today.
The Dairy purchased cream and eggs from area farmers, and operated delivery truck routes in the Albion area in the era when mile delivery was at your doorstep. The firm was especially known for its locally produced butter and cheese products. The new creamery was erected attached to the north side of the Eslow Mills smokestack, the latter of which was incorporated as part of the new business and contained the boiler for the building and as a place to store coal. Coal was shipped via the railroad track spur which ran immediately to the north of the new building which formerly had serviced the Stone Mill.
The Eslow Mills smokestack was demolished around 1940, to allow more room for traffic into the Market Place. The Maple City Dairy Company ceased operations on September 2, 1944, and was sold to the Marshall Creamery Company. The building was then rented to the Service Caster and Truck Corporation as a storage facility for a short period. In 1948, the building was purchased by Joseph Doering, who opened the Albion Frozen Food Locker. The Albion Meat Locker, its successor, continues in business today.
In our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph taken in the early 1940s showing the Maple City Dairy Company buidling, with the attached Eslow Mills smokestack on the right. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Hileman, whose father, Dann Birdsall, owned the Dairy.
Maple City Dairy Company
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