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, December 22, 1997, pg. 4

One familiar landmark in downtown Albion is the large brick Albion Elevator building located in the Market Place behind the east side of S. Superior St. This 1881-built structure was once located on Superior St. itself. It was part of a flour mill complex which also included the 1845-erected Stone Mil, presently the Citizens Bank building. It was originally known as the W. B. Knickerbocker elevator during the 1880s, which became the Albion Milling Company, and finally the Nelson Grain, Flour & Feed. By the early 1890s the capacity of the mill was 400 bushels every twenty-four hours, and the firm employed twenty-four men.

The firm closed in 1914 and the brick structure was auctioned in 1915. The new owners moved the Albion Elevator building back 132 feet eastwards at the rate of six inches per day in August and September 1917 to its present location. A new firm, the Albion Farmers’ Elevator Company was opened, with A. W. Wells of Coffersville, Indiana as its first manager.

One advantage of the move was to relieve traffic congestion on Superior Street, where farmers often waited in line in their wagons in front of mercantile stores with their grain. An addition to the southwest edge of the Cass Street bridge was made to allow easy access to the mill and waiting behind Superior St.

This week we present a winter scene postcard photograph of downtown Albion taken around 1910 showing a large line of horse-drawn sleds stretching from Cass to Erie Streets. A notation on the back of the car stated that this was farmer David McKinney hauling his wheat to the mill. He had over 5,000 bushels, and hired the sled teams to do the transporting for him.

The Albion Elevator and Stone Mill buildings are on the right. Other than this delivery team, there doesn’t seem to be much traffic on Superior St. During this time Albion had large electric poles positioned along the west side of Superior St., as can be seen here. In the far left corner we see the B. F. Kinmont Drugstore, presently Parks Drugs. Notice also the street lights and the overhead electric wires. A couple of other landmarks in this photograph include Gales Hardware on the far right, and the Knights of Phythias Lodge, located above the former J. C. Penney Store building.

A last minute Christmas reminder: My Albion history books and materials are available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce. These would make great “extra” gifts for the Christmas stocking. Pick up a copy of my Ethnic Tour of Riverside Cemetery or my Albion Public Schools history book and enjoy the great conversation about them with your family this Christmas.

Albion in the Winter approx. 1910

In the internet version of this article we also present a photograph of the Albion Elevator building as it appeared in 1915 before it was moved back in 1917.

Albion Elevator building (left) as it appeared in 1915 before it was moved back in 1917.


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