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 18, 1993, pg. 1

For the next three weeks, we’ll continue and conclude our discourse on the historical 1890 Bird’s Eye View of Albion by artist Clemens J. Pauli, which we began in April. This week we are featuring the south central portion of our community, south of Erie St., and west of Ionia St. This is a particularly interesting section, as this writer lives here. Notice at the very bottom on Irwin Avenue, there is a house on the northwest corner at Eaton St., which is presently 300 Irwin Avenue. Behind it is shown another house, which is presently 812 S. Eaton St. Just shortly after this View was made, Mechanic St. was developed just south of that house, and later 900 (this writer’s home) and 902 (home of Sue Marcos of the Albion Chamber of Commerce) S. Eaton St. were built. Very few homes were in existence on S. Eaton St. at this time, as we can see from the illustration.

Going north on S. Eaton St. at the corner with Ash, we see a rather large building with a windmill on the side. This was the location of the produce and egg dealer Bernard Obertries. The brick house and carriage barn at 215 W. Ash St. today appears to be the remains of this structure. Obertries was only in business through 1895 at this site.

To the northeast of that, labeled “30” was the home of Albion Mayor Eugene P. Roberson, president of the Albion Exchange Bank (which was located where the Seeds & Sounds Bookstore now is), an elegant structure which is still standing today as an historic site. The St. James’ Episcopal Church shows up in the far upper middle, labeled as “10” on the map. Just to the right of the church, just to the right of “ST.” was the home of Tenney Peabody, Albion’s first settler. This historic home stood for many years before it was unfortunately demolished, and a dentist’s office was constructed on the site.

On the first block of Superior St. at the top, notice that on the west side, only the Peabody block where Lautenslager Lipsey is presently located, was in existence back then. The buildings which are presently there in the rest of the block did not exist in 1890. Immediately south of the Peabody block (next to it) is a small building. This was originally Jesse Crowell’s “Albion Company” store, where Albion’s first post office was located. This building was moved to Mechanic St. when it was developed, and is presently a home.

A large build of various structures is seen in the block of Superior and Erie in the upper right corner. This includes the massive Methodist Episcopal Church, labeled No. 7, which was in use until Goodrich Chapel opened in the late 1950s. It was torn down in 1960. On one of the roofs along Erie St. you can see the name of “WALDVOGEL.” This was August Waldvogel, a local saloonist.

Moving south on Superior St. where the Albion Public Library now sits, was the Richard Walsh blacksmith shop at 100 E. Ash St., and the George F. Barry tombstone monument works at 505 S. Superior St. Next to that of course was the home of Augustus P. Gardner, a local hardware merchant.

The German Lutheran Church is shown labeled as No. 11 on the map. A closer look will reveal that this church once had iron cresting on the top. Behind the church is a small house, that was the birthplace of Marge (Gress) Gorman, who celebrated her 100th birthday last year. Behind that is a small square structure all by itself in the middle of the block. This is the remains of the “Little Red Schoolhouse,” Albion’s first school which was used from 1837 to 1869. At the time this drawing was made, the old schoolhouse was being used as a barn. The school house had been moved from its original location to this site [in December, 1887].

Notice the house at the corner of S. Clinton and Irwin Avenue (west side). This is 202 Irwin Avenue., which was the birthplace of food writer, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher in 1908. Another spot to note is on the corner of S. Eaton and W. Erie Streets in the upper left. There is depicted the huge home of David Peabody, son of Albion’s first settler, Tenney Peabody. This home, erected in the 1860s, stood for many years as a landmark until it was pegged for destruction during the Urban Renewal projects of the 1960s, and demolished.

Next week in this column we’ll cover downtown Albion and the northern portion of our community here in our Historical Notebook.

* Photo Credit Information Below

1890 Bird's Eye View of Albion

More about the Birds Eye View Map of 1890


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* Photo Credit Information: Images with this code are from the
"Albion Historical Society Collection / Local History Room / Albion Public Library Collection"