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, June 16, 1997, pg. 4

The building presently housing Gina’s Pizza at 103-05-07 W. Porter St. was once the location of the McGuire Brothers Saloon during the 1910s. The firm was operated by James T. “Deacon” (1863-1936) and George W. (1858-1943) McGuire. James of course was the celebrated major league baseball catcher for 26 seasons, which included playing for the Detroit Tigers.

George originally came to Albion in 1878 as a carpenter, and helped erect several churches in town. George was involved in local baseball teams and also was a projectionist at the Bijou Theatre. Jim came to Albion in 1893. The duo first operated an ice business here from 1898 through 1905, having purchased it form John F. Burns. This was during the days when ice was cut in the winter from the Kalamazoo River and at Duck Lake and stored for use in ice boxes throughout the year.

The McGuire Brothers opened their saloon at 204 S. Superior Street in 1906, remaining there until 1912 when they moved to their W. Porter St. site. Jim would help his brother run the saloon during the off-season while the rest of the time he was making major league history, holding the record for most seasons by a catcher.

Inside the saloon there was a large life-size framed photograph of “Deacon Jim” which hung overhead, sporting his Detroit Tigers uniform. When Albion “went dry” in 1915, the business was transformed into a restaurant and a “sample room” before it was closed.

Our first photograph is an outside view of the McGuire Brothers establishment on W. Porter St. George McGuire is standing on the far right, with his employee next to him. The rest appear to be patrons. Our second photograph features an unusual aluminum “horse-head” token the McGuire Brothers issued, one of several tokens issued by the firm. The obverse text states, “I-O-U 5 IN TRADE.” The reverse bears the name of the firm, “McGUIRE BROS.”

Many Albion businesses issued various items such as tokens, rulers, key chains, calendars, pencils, etc. which today are historic reminders of their existence and contribution to downtown Albion of years past.

McGuire Brothers Saloon

Horse Head Token

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