Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Albion Recorder, July 28, 1997, pg. 4
A familiar landmark in downtown Albion for nearly a century was the White Mill on East Cass Street, the present site of Lloyd Park. It was originally known as the Amsden Mill, and was constructed in 1876 by Manley Amsden and William Clark, after the Peabody Gothic Mill had burned on South Monroe St. Amsden and Clark continued in partnership until Clark died in 1889, at which time an employee, Homer Campbell, purchased the Clark interest. Amsden sold his interest in the firm in 1914. The mill changed ownership several times after that. The words “City Roller Custom Mills” was painted on the side of the structure. During the Great Flood of 1908, photographers took photos of the adjacent Cass Street bridge, which shows the White Mill in the background, in what has become one of Albion’s most historical photographs.
The mill specialized in whole wheat flour, pancake and muffin mixes, and types of pastry flour. In the 1950s, two silos with a capacity of 10,000 bushels were added to the west side of the structure, plus an extension to the mill for storing 5,000 bushels. The Albion Flour Mill, as it was then called, was the last of the water powered mills in Albion.
The mill operated continuously until August 24, 1957, when it was closed by its owner, Gladys Key, widow of Lloyd Key, who operated the mill from 1927 until his death in 1956. The building stood vacant for 17 years as a reminder of Albion’s water power era and the importance the Kalamazoo River had played in the history and development of our community. The mill race was filled in March 1965, and the Riverside Apartments were constructed on the site.
In May 1974, arson destroyed the upper story of the abandoned mill and it was subsequently torn down. The Albion Civic Foundation purchased the property and razed the old mill, retaining however, the foundation stones which were used in the development of Lloyd Park, erected in memory of Thomas T. Lloyd, founder of the Albion Civic Foundation. Lloyd Park opened in September 1980, on the site of the old White Mill.
This week we present a picturesque photograph showing the White Mill and the two silos, taken south of the mill along the mill race by Porter St.
The White Mill
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic