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 7, 1996, pg. 15

Continuing with our series on some early 20th century Albion industries, the recent demolition of the Kelsey-Hayes plant and office on S. Wisner and Ganson Streets in Jackson reminded me that the firm once had a plant in Albion. It was known as the Hayes Wheel Company, founded by C. B. Hayes in 1908, and which came to Albion in 1912-13. At one time, the firm manufactured 50% of all automotive wheel hubs in the U.S.

The firm was located on the corner of N. Clark Street and Edison Avenue, in a building formerly occupied by the T.C. Prouty Company which had manufactured locks. Today this is the site of the northern half of the former McGraw-Edison Company. Edison Avenue no longer exists.

C.B. Hayes also established another firm, the Albion Bolt company, which through time became the largest manufacturer of automotive nuts and bolts in the world. It first located itself just east of the Hayes plant, then moved to the SW corner of Clinton and Michigan Sts. in the former plant of the Albion Chemical Works (discussed in the September, 24, 1995 article).

The Hayes Wheel Company was a major Albion employer, and at one time had a payroll of 180 persons including women. The company was merged with the Kelsey Wheel Company in 1927, and the two local plants were merged at the Hayes Wheel location on N. Clark Street. Three years later in 1930 however, Kelsey-Hayes announced that they were pulling out of Albion, and all their machinery was being removed to the corporationís east end plant in Jackson. As a result, 150 local workers lost their jobs.

In 1925, the Waddington Studios of Pontiac produced one of those L-O-N-G photographs showing the workers of the Hayes Wheel Company. From our Historical Notebook this week we present [the entire photograph in this internet version]. The photo is remarkably clear, and now is the time to get identifications of the faces. Some of those in the full photo include: Paul Herman, Edwin Beer, J.B. Foote, Julius Rutz, Bruce Smith, William Hobus, Cleve Wolcott, Emil Kreger, Warren Baker, Bruce Smith, and Herman Bender.

Hayes Wheel Company 1

Hayes Wheel Company 2

Hayes Wheel Company 3

Hayes Wheel Company 4


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