Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Albion Recorder, September 15, 1997, pg. 4
This is the week we have been waiting for: the Festival of the Forks. The name comes from the fact that in the early 1830s our geographic location was known as “the Forks” of the Kalamazoo River. The name Albion comes from the fact that “Albion’s Greatest Benefactor,” land developer Jesse Crowell, was from Albion Township in Oswego County, New York. We can be grateful because we were almost named “Peabodyville” after the first family to settle here. Can you imagine our local sports teams being named the Peabody Pods or some ridiculous name like that?
A few years ago when I was in the County Clerk’s office in Marshall doing research for my Riverside Cemetery historic site application, I came across the original hand drawn plat map of Albion. It had crumbled into a couple of pieces, but I was able to copy it for my files. The map is dated May 12, 1836. I have seen other maps introduced later, either professionally or handwritten, but this is the very first one.
The map was submitted to Henry J. Phelps, Justice of the Peace for Calhoun County in the Territory of Michigan by members of the “Albion Company,” Jesse Crowell, Daniel S. Bacon, Isacher Frost and Tenney Peabody. This week we illustrate a portion of that map, showing “the Forks” and the surrounding vicinity.
The area round the river is designated “Reserved by Proprietors,” which they used to harness the water power and constructed various mills. Notice that even at this early date plans were made for a railroad. The first would be a line running from Detroit to St. Joseph which was to bisect present-day Victory Park. The other route from Monroe to Marshall, was to follow the path of present-day Haven Road. The two lines were drawn to meet in the middle of Superior and Oak Streets.
Notice the “reserved” area at the intersection of S. Superior and W. Elm Streets. This was originally intended to be a park. In block 79, lot 11 we see the word “school” in small writing, which of course was the “Little Red Schoolhouse.” Just to the north of that is the word “church,” the present site of Faith Community Baptist Church. Our pioneers certainly made sure that room was made for the educational and spiritual needs of our community.
A reminder, come visit me at my Albion History Booth this Saturday at the Festival of the Forks in front of Citizens Bank. I’ll have lots of Albion history materials available, as well as forms you can send in to find out what ship your ancestor came over to America on. We’ll see you there. Pray that it doesn’t rain. Pray real hard.
Albion Plat Map 1836
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic