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, November 8, 1998, pg. 11

We conclude this week our series about Washington GArdner High School. We left off during the fall of 1926 when the "east wing" was built. In late December, workers had been welding pipes for the new grade school near where the janitor had been storing paper and trash. A fire broke out in the 1906-erected Central School portion in the basement under the auditorium, on December 30, 1926 at 6:10 p.m. Through the efforts of the Albion Fire Department, the fire was contained to the auditorium, hallway, and basement areas.

Parents were concerned however about the condition of the Central building, and on January 5, 1927 the school board voted to abandon that portion of the structure. $100,000 in bonds were requested to build a replacement building, which was approved a few weeks later. Thus the third step of the building evolution commenced. The new central portion was designed to match the 1922-erected high school west wing, and the newly constructed elementary east wing. As previously mentioned, the third story of the 1885 and 1893-erected rear west wing was removed, leaving only the school library (presently the band room) today.

On February 2, 1927, the school board voted to name the entire facility Washington Gardner High School. Gardner (1845-1928) served as a local Methodist minister, was a Civil War Veteran, was commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, was Michigan Secretary of State during the late 1890s, and was a Congressman in Washington D.C. representing Albionís district from 1899 to 1911.

The new school was dedicated on February 8,1 928. Gardner, who lived just down the street was unable to attend the ceremony because of ill health. He died the following month. Albion High School moved out of the facility at the end of December, 1966, and Washington Gardner becaue a Junior High School. This later was changed to a Middle School, and also an Open School. The school administration moved into the building in January, 1980.

Local citizens should be pleased with the remodeling that has been done at Washington Gardner, which keeps the historic 1920s look and preserved the integrity of the building, while yet meeting the physical needs for the students of today and students of the future. In honor of the years it was known as Washington Gardner High School, the words "Washington Gardner School" have been placed in brass lettering in the tile floor in the entrance to the new atrium just left of the auditorium.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a drawing of Washington Gardner High School and its namesake, the Hon. Washington Gardner.

Drawing of Washington Gardner High School

Washington Gardner


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