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 4, 1998, pg. 3

If your house was erected in the 1880s or 1890s here in Albion, chances are good that it was probably erected by William M. Loder (1839-1924), a major late 19th century Albion contractor. Loder came to Albion from his native Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania in 1865. He began his building profession in the 1870s, and in 1880 purchased the Eslow Mills complex in the Market Place where the Albion Meat Locker sits today. He then went into partnership with John Groff in the lumber firm of Loder & Groff which was located on E. Cass Street where the Morning Star office is.

Loder then went into business for himself and established his headquarters at 115 N. Clinton Street, which was on the west side of the street north of the River. By 1895, Loder had constructed over 300 buildings and homes in Albion, as well as numerous houses in neighboring communities such as Concord, Jackson, Marshall, Parma, and Tekonsha. Loder erected several of the large business blocks in downtown Albion, as well as the Albion College Observatory (1884) which still stands today.

When he died in 1924, his obituary stated, “Hundreds of buildings of various kinds in and around Albion speak eloquently of his handicraft, and are the monuments he leaves behind of his long, useful and industrious life. His hammer and saw and plane are now forever laid aside, but his works follow and praise him.”

If you would like to view some of his work, observe the north side of the 100 block of Irwin Avenue. Loder lived on the corner at 922 S. Superior Street. From our Historical Notebook this week we present an 1895 photograph of this house, which is still standing today. Compare the photo with how the house looks like today, and you’ll see that some of the original ornamentation still remains. Loder also erected the houses at 110 and 116 Irwin Avenue on the same block, easily identifiable by the ornamentation designs about the windows on all these homes.

Albion has a rich heritage in its houses which were erected in the last century. In these days of vinyl siding, aluminum windows and pre-fabricated cement steps, we applaud those persons who have taken the time to preserve and/or restore their historic homes and porches. Well kept, painted and restored houses, porches, landscapes and sidewalks bring a favorable “first impression” of Albion to visitors to our community. Perhaps a “make Albion look better” campaign should be instituted block by block this year, with some of our talented painters, architects and designers providing suggested repairs, color-schemes and landscaping for various eyesores around town. We’re all probably thinking about some houses in town that sure need work on them in order to make them look better. Can you think of any?

Mr. William Loder, The Loder House, 922 S. Superior Street


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