Growing Up In Albion Michigan Pictorial 1950s-1960s
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Growing Up In Albion Michigan Pictorial 1950s-1960s:
It was a time like no other in Albion’s history. The boom years of the 1950s and 1960s were filled with prosperity, growth and development. Hundreds of persons came to make Albion, Michigan their home during this period, when the population grew from 10,406 in 1950 to 12,749 persons in 1960. Factory employment was at an all-time high, a housing shortage existed, and professional offices were located on second stories above downtown merchants establishments. New schools were built, new housing subdivisions and streets were developed, and new businesses were developed on the outskirts of town. The Albion Public Schools partnered with the City of Albion to provide recreational opportunities for hundreds of youth in our community.
Such is the setting for this book by Albion Historian Frank Passic entitled “Growing Up in Albion,” a 128-page pictorial featuring people, places and events of the 1950s and 1960s. The book takes a nostalgic look at this golden-era in Albion’s history, and targets the “baby boomer” generation which grew up during these special years.
Growing Up features over 240 specially-selected photographs, some of which have never before been published anywhere. The majority of the photographs were culled from hundreds of original 4 x 5” black and white negatives that came from the archives of the old Albion Evening Recorder newspaper facility on W. Center St.
What has resulted is a book that contains a unique blend of photographs that is sure to jar the memories of those who lived in Albion during this era. “This is a people book,” states Passic. “There are lots of group photographs of school events, clubs, organizations, sports teams, and employees--all identified. Many family names are represented in this book. It was time to come out with a book about this precious time period which many people can remember and relate to.”
The book cover features a group of Albion Midget League baseball players in line, ready to board a Greyhound bus to attend a Detroit Tigers baseball game in 1954. Standing with the group is their coach, Jerry Sacharski, the inventor of Pee-Wee baseball. “Putting this photo on the cover really typified the 1950s, and nearly all the boys are identified in the caption later on in the book,” Passic remarks.
The first chapter contains various scenes around town. These include members of the Ground Observer Corps watching for Communist airplanes on top of City Hall, the dedication of the “Red Arrow Highway” in 1953, the erection of the Rieger Park skating shelter in 1954, and the erection of new housing developments such as Northview Homes, Peabody Place, and Grandview Heights. A 1954 Ford Fairlane police cruiser is one of several photographs relating to the Albion Police Department. Readers will enjoy remembering a “craze” of the 1950s with a photograph of a hula-hoop contest held here. Also pictured are groups of Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, Albion Junior Chamber of Commerce events, Albion at the Calhoun County Fair, and even Santa Claus down from the roof of the Commerical & Savings Bank.
The second chapter featuring Albion businesses appropriately beings with several photographs of Albion Evening Recorder personnel, beginning with longtime editor George V. Mather (1910-1992). A photograph of the Recorder paperboys in 1953 is sure to bring back memories.
Other businesses featured include the A & P grocery led by John Kehoe, Henry’s Fashion Shop with Henry and Ralph Hirsch, Moses Union at Union Cleaners, Byron Wooden of Woody’s Service Center, and Earl Cartwright of Cartwright Shoes.” Other businesses included are: Dickerson Cleaners, J.C. Penney Company, King & Helrigel Funeral Home, Gambles, the Bank of Albion, Sears, Consumer’s Power Company, Weatherwax Drugs, Thomson’s Flowers, City Bank & Trust Company, Benincasa Chevrolet, Pesch Grain & Seed Elevator, Sharp’s Hardware, Yankee Department Store, and the Frosty Freeze Ice Cream store. Restaurants include the Tik-Tok Drive-In, the Starlite, the Satellite, and the American Way Restaurant.
Chapter Three remembers the various industries in town, with photographs of the Albion Malleable Iron Company leading the way. Other factories represented include: McGraw-Edison employees, Gale Manufacturing Company, Alfab, Brooks Foundry, Union Steel Products, Corning Glass Works, and the Turtle Drilling Company. Readers will especially note the photograph of famed oil well fire fighter legend Red Adair (1915-2004), who paid a visit to Albion in 1962 to put out a spectacular blaze.
Chapter Four surveys the various new elementary schools that were erected during this period: Crowell, North, and Harrington, as well as the addition to Dalrymple School. Several “country schools” that were annexed into the Albion Public Schools during the 1960s are also pictured, such as: Bath Mills, Holmes, Tamarack, White, and Wright Schools, plus the Riceville School which went to Concord. Readers will especially enjoy the “Safety Patrol” boys photo of 1952, featuring two lads standing with Superintendent George Walkotten. Some construction projects which added to the skyline at Albion College are included in this chapter.
Chapter Five will perhaps be the most favorite of readers and is entitled “Recreation and Sports.” The chapter begins with several photos of Dutchtown, which was the outdoor swimming area along S. Hannah St. which operated through 1957. Several “water ballet” photos, some never published before, feature groups of youth who participated. Various sports are represented, with basketball especially highlighted. Other sports include: bowling, sledding on Victory Park hill, model airplane flying, tennis, wrestling, baseball, track, boxing, ice skating, hockey, football, and even shuffleboard.
This book would make a great gift for anyone who lived in Albion, Michigan when they were growing up.
Michigan Residents please add 6% to total including shipping. Shipping is $5.60 for US postal flat rate envelope which is what the USPS charges,not the $4.00 only lets you go up to, so shipping is $5.60.