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.


Albion Recorder, October 18, 2001, pp. 12, 19

If you would like to learn more about Albion’s history, feel free to read my articles from years past on the www.albionmich.com internet site. Enjoy the old photographs and information. This can also be an excellent resource tool for a school project for your child or grandchild having to write something about Albion.

Through the years I’ve looked at hundreds of 19th and early 20th century Albion photographs bearing the names of local photographers. Many of these were mounted on heavy cardboard. They prominently bore the name of the photographer which was embossed at the bottom or printed with gold-colored ink amidst decorative artwork. Called "cabinet" photographs, they generally measure 4 x 6 inches. They were placed in old family photograph albums that were passed down from generation to generation. I always enjoy these old photographs, especially if they are identified. They provide for us a link with the past. It is always thrilling to acquire a "new" photograph revealing how some building in downtown Albion used to look, or of some person who lived in Albion years ago, or of some group, club, or oganization. If you ever come across some old Albion photographs, be sure and let me know.

Albion had numerous photographers in the late 19th century. It was a popular profession at the time. One such photographer was Philip C. Hartung (1862-1916). Hartung was a native of New Jersey and came to Albion in the 1880s. A carpenter by trade, he was one of several Hartung siblings (William, Luther, Henry, John and others) that came to the Albion area. Hartung opened his photography studio at 118 W. Porter St. in 1897, and moved it to 414 S. Superior St. in 1900. He remained in business there until 1909, at which time he returned to the carpentry trade until his death in 1916 at age 54. Philip was quite a hunter, and enjoyed taking photographs of his family and friends on hunting trips.

From the Archives this week we present a photograph (courtesy of downtown Albion photographer Gordon Pahl) of the Hartung Photography wagon, horse and all, parked in front of the 414 S. Superior St. studios, circa 1907. Ironically, this is the same site where the Austin photography studios was located in the 1960s and 1970s. Imagine having one of these wagons pull up to your wedding ceremony and reception. The woman in the center is Louie (Finley) Hartung (1875-1963) wife of the photographer. Her parents, Theron J. and Martha (Mason) Finley and family came to Michigan from New York in 1894. They settled east of Albion where the old Albion Drive-In was once located north of Michigan Avenue and east of M-99 in Jackson County. Nearby Finley Road is named after the family.

In this photograph we can also see the original brick S. Superior St. pavement (laid in 1903), and the raised sidewalk under which coal was stored to heat the nearby buildings. Most storefronts at the time had a retractable awning bearing the name of the business as pictured here. The rest of the building looks much like it does today, nearly a century later.

Phillip Hartung Photography Wagon


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