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 23, 1994, pg. 5

Last June 20 here in our Historical Notebook we featured an article about Gwendolyn Dew-Buchanan, an Albion native, and noted journalist and world traveler. Ironically, Gwen (1903-1993) died just before midnight on June 17 in Phoenix, Arizona, just seven minutes before her 90th birthday. My article about her, written three weeks earlier, appeared here in the Morning Star the week she died. I did not learn of her passing until several weeks later, when my unanswered mail to her was returned marked “deceased.” Even the Detroit News was unaware of her death. I was able to notify them, and a fitting obituary appeared in the August 23, issue.

I have since been able to acquire some fascinating Dew family photographs and materials, including copies of Gwen’s articles, and photographs of her father, local florist Arthur H. Dew (1873-1950). Arthur Henry Dew as born in St. Johns, Michigan, and came to Albion in 1893. He built a small greenhouse and named his established “Dew’s Floral House.” Located at 407 E. Perry St., the establishment eventually grew to three times its original size.

Arthur married Jettie Robinson (1875-1906) in 1897. She was the daughter of Orton and Ida (Grover) Robinson, prominent citizens of our community. The couple had two children, Dorothy Genevieve (1900-1903) who died as a small child; and Gwendolyn Janet, Albion’s most famous reporter. Arthur’s wife Jettie died an untimely death in 1906, and Arthur remarried in 1908 to Eliza Wilson of Grand Rapids. The Dew family lived behind the floral house at 410 E. Michigan Avenue across from the Central High School (later Washington Gardner High School). In his retirement years, Arthur and his wife would enjoy sitting out on the front porch, inviting friends to come and chat, and to watch the youngsters across the street come and go from school.

Arthur H. Dew was in the floral business for over 50 years. Part of his business was selling “perpetual care” for gravesites at Riverside Cemetery. Many of the flowers that are placed in the spring on the graves of long-gone Albion families are the result of these “perpetual care” agreements purchased a three-quarters century ago at the Dew’s Floral House.

Arthur Dew sold his business to Stanley and Mark Sargent in 1946, and lived his final years in retirement here in Albion until his death in 1950. Today, Dew’s Floral House is now Clark’s Flowers.

One natural result of the floral business was Gwendolyn Dew’s appointment as the manager of the public relations department of the Florists’ Telegraph Delivery Association, Incorporated, otherwise known as FTD. The FTD at that time was run by Albert Pochelon, of Detroit. During the late 1920s, Gwendolyn publicized the FTD, and had a major part in the Detroit Flower Show, and other flower exhibitions. It was Gwendolyn Dew who thought up the FTD running Mercury logo. A 1928 article in the Detroit Free Press however, says it was Mr. Pochelon (it is not good to usurp your boss). In any event, from our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Albion florist Arthur H. Dew, and a 1928 photograph of his daughter Gwendolyn Dew at her Detroit desk in the Pochelon office building. It was Gwen who started the FTD publicity department. Shown on the desk is the FTD Mercury logo.

Albion florist Arthur H. Dew

Gwendolyn Dew at her Detroit FTD Office Desk in 1928

More about the Dew Family in Albion:


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