Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Albion Recorder, July 21, 1997, pg. 4
Did you know that Albion once had a Chinese laundry for nearly 30 years? Our story begins in the early 1880s when Yo-Ke operated his Chinese laundry at 18 S. Superior St. This would be present-day 110 S. Superior St. Yo-Ke lived upstairs. His name first appears in the 1882 Albion Village Directory.
Ke’s name was gone from the 1885 directory, and in its place was listed a man by the name of Lee Cheung, who operated a laundry at 10 S. Superior St. This would be present-day 104 S. Superior St. Cheung soon established himself as a bonafide Albion businessman, and placed an advertisement in the 1885 Albion City Directory.
Lee Cheung Chinese Laundry Advertisement
Cheung moved to 115 W. Cass St. at the turn of the century, and stayed there for a decade. His name last appears in the 1909 directory, and does not appear in the 1913 directory. What happened? According to one story, Cheung had a regular habit of depositing his day’s receipts by walking to the Albion National Bank (present location of the north half of Fedco) at 9 o’clock in the morning. He was quite predictable, and would always leave his establishment unlocked for the brief time he was gone each day.
According to the story, one day Cheung left with his bag of cash, headed towards the bank, but never made it. What happened we do not know; his laundry door was unlocked as if nothing was wrong. He was never seen again. The story of Lee Cheung is one of those mysteries in Albion’s history which is hard to separate rumor from fact, but has become somewhat of a legend through the years.
This week we present a photograph of the Cheung Laundry, which was located in the [now demolished] building across from present-day City Hall, and his advertisement in the 1885 Albion City Directory. Cheung’s business was located behind the large elm tree and telephone pole which is blocking the photograph. A small sign states, "Lee Cheung, Chinese Laundry." To the right is Dan Connor’s plumbing at 117 W. Cass St.
Lee Cheung Chinese Laundry
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic