Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Albion Recorder, May 27, 1997, pg. 4
What is one of downtown Albion’s longest continuing succession businesses? Several weeks ago we featured the Albion Recorder which dates back to 1868. This week we are focusing on another long-standing business, the Snug Barber Shop. The Snug is located at 101 W. Porter St., in the rear of the "Wright Block," which during the 1880s was the home of the John Peabody Exchange Bank of S. Superior St. In fact, the back part of the Snug was once part of that bank.
A survey of Albion City directories reveals that a barber shop was located in the Snug site back to the first directory which was issued in 1885. Most likely it existed before than, too. In 1885, it was known as A. William Harris, tonsorial artist. What do tonsils have to do with hair? Actually, they don’t. Tonsorial artist is the old name for barber. It comes from the Latin "tonsorius," or barber, from the word "tondere" meaning "to shear." I am reminded of the Bible verse, Ezekial 5:1, "An thou son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thy head and beard, and divide the hair." Kids: memorize that verse and recite it to your Sunday School teacher or minister and see the responses you get.
The 1894-95 directory shows Claude P. Long was at the site. His advertisement reads, "Tonsorial artists, ladies’ and children’s hair cutting a specialty. Bath rooms in connection." A few years later, the 1897-98 directory lists John Reed as the resident barber. The W. Porter St. site was convenient for those who boarded across the street at the Commercial Hotel, or at the nearby Hotel Allen (Park’s Drug Store building).
In 1901 the business was owned by Daniel O. Carpenter, who operated it until he sold it to L. C. Campbell in the late 1900s. In July 1911, the business was purchased by Chester L. Robinson (1882-1961) and renamed the Snug. Robinson was a well-known barber in Albion for several decades, who never fully retired but was barbering up to his death in August, 1961. For many years Robinson was in partnership with George R. Allen, another long-time Albion barber. The Snug was purchased by Marvin Deuel of Springport in 1960, who continues to operate it today.
This week we present a photograph of the Snug taken from a 1915 postcard of W. Porter St. Notice the sidewalk-mounted barber’s pole in the front.
The Snug, 1915
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic