Victory Park Waterfall – Aerial View

Aerial drone photo of Victory Park Waterfall by Gannon Cottone – March 18, 2016
This view of Victory Park waterfall was from April 23, 2017. Photo by Kent Davis.
Aerial drone photo of Victory Park Waterfall by Gannon Cottone – March 18, 2016
Aerial drone photo of Victory Park Waterfall – March 18, 2016

This view of the waterfall in Victory Park shows one of the most beautiful views of Albion’s natural landscape. It is perhaps the largest landmark of Albion, except for Albion’s brick “Main Street” (Superior Street.)

Some background about the Victory Park waterfall is provided by Frank Passic:  (used with permission)
“It’s an Albion landmark that is so routinely noticed, that it has remained unnoticed when listing the assets of our community. It’s the Victory Park dam/waterfall. This cement structure was built to hold back and regulate the waters of the South Branch of the Kalamazoo River in order to produce electric power at the Commonwealth Power Company plant on E. Erie St. The Company had purchased the old Red flour mill on E. Erie St. and converted it into making electricity. The water behind the dam/waterfall was called the millpond. The mill part referred to the flour and sawmills that were once located downstream in a variety of locations. They harnessed the water power to turn the wheels which ground the grain. For example, the Citizens Bank building was once a water-powered flour mill built by Jesse Crowell in 1845.

Adjacent to the dam was a “raceway” where the flowing water “raced” to the mills. This was kept deep in order to provide adequate flowing water pressure by time the water reached the mills downhill. When the mills were working, water was diverted through the raceway, and the flow of water over the Victory Park dam was greatly diminished to the point where there were some bare spots. ”

2005, is a special year. It marks the 100th anniversary of the building of our present Victory Park dam. It was in September, 1905 that local contractor George E. Dean (1872-1932) built our present cement dam to replace the old stone one that had existed at the site since Albion’s pioneer days. The new dam was built over the old one. Mr. Dean, as you might recall, laid Albion’s first cement sidewalks in 1901. One of the last stretches of these walks was finally removed this past fall in September 2004 in the 800 and 900 blocks of S. Eaton St. His sidewalks might now be gone, but his dam remains today! Also during September, 1905, Mr. Dean built the Hannah St. bridge at “Dutchtown,” which included a decorative arch underneath. This bridge is often pictured in postcards of the period.

When the new dam was built, Mr. Dean had to let the water out of the millpond (that’s up by S. Superior St. and Riverside Cemetery) in order to let the cement dry. This created fish traps in holes, where people scooped up large fish by hand in the rocks below the dam. Imagine what the area around Riverside Cemetery would look like today if the water was “let out” as it was in 1905.

The dam area contained various features and contraptions which were used in the regulation of the water for generating purposes. That accounts for the various metal rods that stick up here and there in the structure complex, including the triangular shaped piece of cement in the very center. On the south footbridge below, there is a metal property line boundary marker imbedded in it that states, “Consumers Power.” One special aspect of the dam was the building of a “fish ladder.” This was so fish could swim upstream. It was located on the north side of the dam.

Consumer’s Power Company used the millrace to generate electricity at its E. Erie St. plant until shortly after World War II. Apparently the millpond was filling up with silt and the water pressure (which turned the generators) was lessening as a result. For whatever reason, Consumers abandoned local water powered electricity in Albion. The closest date I can come up with is around 1948 when water powered electric generating stopped. If anyone has an accurate date, please let me know.

After that point, Consumer’s abandoned the site, and much of the land was acquired by the City of Albion. The raceway was filled in the Market Place, and three ponds were fashioned out of what remained upstream. The first was developed to become the skating pond at Rieger Park. The second just north of Walnut St. was transformed into an outdoor hockey rink. This was shaved down and finally eliminated by the 1980s. The pond by the dam still stands today, with the old mechanism used to raise and lower the gates still there, though unused. A buried drain line carries the flowing water into the Rieger Park pond today. The water then exists into the Kalamazoo River, instead of flowing across E. Erie St. as it once did to the Consumer’s Power building.

victory_park_albion_michigan_waterfall_fishladder
1907 Fish Ladder at the Dam, Victory Park Waterfall, Albion, Michigan, photo provided by Frank Passic

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph taken around 1907 of the Victory Park Dam (Note: the area wasn’t known as Victory Park until after World War I). Notice that the water flow is sporadic in this photo, meaning water was being diverted at the time to the raceway on the side for generating purposes. There are also alot of cattails growing on the south side. A woman is standing on the large cement wall on the north side. In the center bottom below, you can see the edge of the fish ladder which once was located here.

With September, 2005 being the 100th anniversary of the building of our present Victory Park dam, and September also being the month the Festival of the Forks is held, wouldn’t it be appropriate to center a theme around this Albion landmark this year? After all, it is located just above “The Forks,” and this dam site is what provided the waterpower which brought the pioneers to Albion.

 

Source of this information:
http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/050206.shtml

Cultural Destinations near the Albion River Trail

Albion has a number of culturally interesting locations near the National Historic District and near the Albion River Trail.

Occupational Monument by sculptor Ed Chesney.

Click the icon on the upper left to open a menu and to show or hide these layers on the map:

  • Art near the Albion River Trail
  • Historical Markers near downtown
  • Albion Parks and their location marked along with the  Albion River Trail.
  • Purple  Gang locations near the Albion River Trail
  • See more information on the Albion River Trail link in the upper menu.

Albion has several historic advertising murals including the iconic Coca Cola mural near Bournelis Park.

Coca-Cola mural downtown Albion

Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall are symbolized in this 56 foot long mural in downtown Albion, in the former FirstMerit Bank drivethru.

Learn more about the bank building downtown that is now available for a new type of business.
http://albionmich.net/huntington-bank-albion-branch-closes/

The remodeled bank building with the ornate cap that had to be removed in the 1960’s for the new code.

 

Labor Day Albion Walk the Trail – Albion Michigan 2018

Labor Day Albion – Walk the Trail

Albion Health Care Alliance and Albion Recreation Department invite the community to come to Albion on Labor Day at 10 a.m., for those who cannot make it for the bigger walk over the Mackinac Bridge.
We meet in Victory Park, and walk over the footbridge of the South Branch of the Kalamazoo River between Victory Park and Rieger Park, and also the North Branch of the Kalamazoo River on Eaton Street bridge, near Washington Street Park. We walk over a half a dozen bridges, large and small.

Labor Day Albion Walk the Trail 2018 group portrait, photo by Catherine Kerley, Albion E-News

How Albion’s Labor Day Walk the Trail started.

Albion Downtown Development director Nidia Wolf started the walk in 2008, one year after the trail was dedicated.  Later she became the director for the Albion Health Care Alliance that still is the leader of this fun outdoor gathering.  The hike is the lower peninsula’s answer for the traditional “Walking the Bridge” on Labor Day for Michigan.  This event grows each year.  It includes crossing over four bridges and walking through seven of Albion’s 17 parks.   The Albion River Trail walk recurs every Labor Day.  It begins with a meeting near the River Trail sign for a group photo near the bandshell in Victory Park at 10:00 a.m. From there people walk northeast to Harris Field.

Ribbon Cutting for the opening of Albion River Trail on Oct. 5, 2007. Some of the officials shown are: Elizabeth Schultheiss, CEO, Albion Community Foundation
Donna Randall. President Albion College
William Wheaton, Mayor of Albion
Colin McCaleb, Administrator KCC Eastern Academic Center
Jeff Bell, President, and CEO of Homestead Savings Bank
Nidia Wolf, Director Albion Downtown Development Authority

Details of the 2018 Walk

Labor Day Albion Trail Walk is handicap friendly, pet-friendly, and kid-friendly.  Mowrer Agency at Albion Train Depot opened up its waiting room so the public could use the restrooms there.  The City of Albion opened the public restrooms at either end of the hike also.   The round trip walk is about 3.5 miles.  Some people opted for shorter walks by parking at one end or midway and carpooling.   There is also an option to walk south to the cemetery.

Walking through Albion’s History

One of the best parts of the Albion River Trail is the chance to see history and admire nature all in one fairly short hike.


New History Segment added in Holland Park

For the 2018 walk, an interactive history lesson was added in Holland Park.  Albion College professor Dr. Wesley Dick gave a talk about Albion’s history.  His talk mentioned the foundries, the great migration of black people to come work, and as a result, the need for educational facilities.  The education at West Ward School was first accepted gratefully, but then later the disparities became more evident and because some of the parents brought this to the attention of the school board and the state laws, Albion’s schools were integrated in 1953.

Watch an excerpt of the talk by clicking the image below.

 

The Albion River Trail is now part of the North Country National Scenic Trail. See the map about this part of the trail on this link:

http://www.northcountrytrail.org/cnd/coref_albion.html

See a brochure with information about the Albion River Trail on this link:
http://albionmich.net/albion-river-trail-brochure/
Motorized vehicles are not permitted.

See the official Albion Health Care Alliance event page here

http://www.albionhca.org/labor-day-walk-the-trai.html

 

Labor Day Albion – Tour of History Hill in Holland Park

In 2018, Albion Health Care Alliance partnered with Albion Recreation Department for the Labor Day Albion – Walk the Trail event. Larry Williams, of the Albion Recreation Department requested that we include Holland Park in the walk to showcase all of the work that has been done recently for the Holland Park Transformation project.

The walkers on the Labor Day Albion hike enjoyed learning at History Hill. In the photo below, Leslie Dick tells the story of Holland Park, West Ward School, and History Hill.  It was a good midpoint on the hike, which occurred on a very warm day in 2018.

Then we were able to hear Albion College’s current longest-tenured professor, Dr. Wesley Arden Dick give a talk about labor and the Great Migration that brought black people to Albion.  Watch an excerpt of that talk below.

For more information about History Hill and West Ward School visit:

AlbionWestWard.net

Albion Black History – West Ward School

For more information about Holland Park Transformation project visit

HollandParkTransformation.com

This event is part of the Albion Walk the Trail 2018 event, sponsored by Albion Health Care Alliance with Albion Recreation Department.
This page and the photos were created by Albion Design and Marketing working on behalf of those groups.


Learn more about the Labor Day Albion Walk the Trail event by clicking the image below.

Labor Day Albion Walk the Trail – Albion Michigan 2018

Visit the official Albion Health Care Alliance event page for Labor Day Albion Walk the Trail.

Ways to Build Resilience in Albion

How Can you Help Build Resilience in your greater community?

Connect with hubs for information on what’s happening:

Volunteer with local initiatives to Share Your Story • Plan Events • Build Your Network

Community Engagement Statement – City of Albion

The City of Albion posts a Community Engagement Statement that is updated at least every 5 years and includes information such as:

Some excerpts:

All residents of the City of Albion are key stakeholders and will continue to be involved in the future development of our community. The City of Albion and its third party consultants will take a proactive approach to public engagement and make concerted efforts to ensure that there are opportunities for all to be involved in the decision-making process when appropriate.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS IN THE CITY OF ALBION In the City of Albion, each project will be evaluated on an individual basis to ensure that all interested and appropriate stakeholders are included.

INFORM—PROVIDE INFORMATION AND ASSIST PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING

• Website – www.CityofAlbionMI.gov announces meetings, post City Council, Planning Commission, and boards/commissions packets and agendas, meeting minutes, and will often contain pages or links for topics of major interest.

• Newspaper – The Albion Recorder is Albion’s weekly newspaper published every Thursday with events from Albion, Concord, and Springport. The Advisor/Chronicle is a free weekly newspaper published on Fridays and covers both Albion and Marshall.

• Cable – The City of Albion posts relevant information about community events, public hearings, and other meetings onWOW! Cable Channel 17. City Council and Planning Commission meetings are also broadcast live on this channel.

• Printed Posting – Available for viewing at the City Hall bulletin board outside of City Hall and Public Service Building bulletin board.

• Announcements – Announcements are made during meetings of the City Council, Planning Commission, and other boards and commissions.

• Press releases and article – The City will issue press releases and information for articles to various newspaper regarding public hearings, developments, and other projects (including the Battle Creek Enquirer, the Homer Index, the Albion/Marshall Advisor & Chronicle, the Albion Recorder, and the Albion E-News).

• Email or postal mail – Interested parties may request to the City Clerk that they be notified personally of meetings/topics for discussion. Postal mailings are sent to neighbors within 300 feet of properties applying for zoning change and variance requests, according to statute.

• YouTube – All City Council Meetings are recorded and posted on YouTube. Recordings can be found on the City of Albion’s YouTube page at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIsBR9GwwVJIL2wyGJCiXf.

 

Black History Month Albion 2019

February is an important month for Albion’s traditional celebrations honoring Black History, including community, music, and food.
Visit the calendar on the menu above for more information and links to Albion events.

MLK Day of Dialogue and Service

MLK Day of Dialogue and Service

Monday, January 21, 2019 Washington Gardner School auditorium On Monday, January 21, Dr. Teleah Phillips, '04, an osteopathic doctor at Oaklawn Hospital, was the keynote speaker during the College's fourth annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Dialogue and Service. Dr. Phillips spoke in the Washington Gardner School ...
Read More
Men Who Cook

Men Who Cook

Sun, February 17, 2019 - 12:30pm – 2:00pm Men Who Cook, a fundraiser for Citizens to Beautify Albion. Usually the third Sunday in February. See more information on this link ...
Read More
Black History Month Music Celebration

Black History Month Music Celebration

Sat, February 23, 5:30pm – 8:00pm Washington Gardner Auditorium, 401 E. Michigan Ave. Albion Michigan Second annual Black History Month Music Celebration starting at 6 p.m. (doors open at 5:30) Local and statewide artists showcase black culture through African and modern dance, music, poetry, mime and more. Admission is $5 ...
Read More
A Taste of Blackness

A Taste of Blackness

Sun, February 24,  2019 4pm – 6pm Kellogg Center, 611 E Porter St, Albion, MI A true Albion College tradition, the annual Taste of Blackness is sure to be a celebration. Join Albion College students for an evening of African and African American culture through food, music, dance, and art. Event ...
Read More
MLK Convocation

MLK Convocation

Tue, February 26, 2019 -  7:30pm – 9:00pm Bohm Theatre  201 S Superior St, Albion, MI After postponement due to extremely cold weather January 30, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation and Community Celebration, featuring Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley as guest speaker, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 26, ...
Read More
Holland Park

Holland Park

Holland Park, Albion Michigan is the site of "History Hill" with plaques about educational advancement in Albion Michigan. Holland Park is the site of a Juneteenth Celebration in June, weekly music Friday evenings in the summer, and a history talk on Labor Day.  Learn more about Holland Park by clicking here ...
Read More

Why was February Chosen to be called Black History Month?

Two famous abolitionists and social reformers were born during the month of February.   The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”.  This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.   The abolitionists are President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both born during the second of week of February, which led Woodson to designate it as a time of celebration and remembrance. Read More

Civil Rights Monuments and Sculptures in Michigan and Canada

See more Albion Black History events on this archive page:
http://albionmich.net/category/history/black-history/

Huntington Bank Albion Branch closes

The building at 207 S. Superior Street was the location of Huntington Bank, Albion branch that closed on January 8, 2019. Huntington Bank closed 31 locations in Michigan and Ohio due to the changing economy of online banking, ATM’s, and mobile banking apps.
This location and structure was not always a bank, and the bank was not always located here.

***

The local bank dates back to 1893, with the organization of the Commercial & Savings Bank. It was first located on the corner of E. Erie and S. Superior Streets, and moved to this location at 207 S. Superior St. in 1917. The Commercial & Savings Bank was merged with the Jackson City Bank & Trust Company in 1955, to form the City Bank & Trust Company. (source Place Promo see below)

Stone Mill (on far right) before being converted into a bank.
Source: James B. Field, Souvenir of the City of Albion, 1894.

***

In 1916, the 1845-built 3 ½ story landmark Jesse Crowell Stone (flour) Mill in downtown Albion was extensively reconstructed into the Commercial & Savings Bank, 207 S. Superior St. The latter opened on January 1, 1917. [Note: Today it is the Huntington Bank]. Local newspaper Albion Leader editor William B. Gildart (1848-1918) composed and published a poem as part of an “obituary”for the Mill. We are republishing it here. From our Historical Notebook this week we present an 1857 drawing of the Mill, shown on the left. The original Mill office (present-day site of Fedco) is on the right. (source Frank Passic on AlbionMich.com)

THE OLD STONE MILL.
We have no strange or mystic shrines,
No temples here moss-grown with age.
The new is old ere yet it lines
Are fairly traced on history’s page

Man rears a solid work of rock
He quarries from the native soil
A structure that should bear the shock
Of grinding Time’s relentless toil.

Within those gray, protecting walls
Man’s cunning craft is deftly plied.
His labor done; the master calls
Down the long race the pent-up tide.

That tide was but the living blood
Poured into artery and vein
Of iron, and stone and steel and wood,
Conceptions of master brain.

The purring wheels begin to turn;
The throb and hum of life begin;
A Fancy’s child has thus been born
To live and thrive within that din.

That din was heard through three score years;
Attractive was its whirring sound.
T’was music to the pioneers
Who settled in the country ‘round.

A city from a hamlet grew
The Stone Mill made the daily flour
Of toiling hundreds—they who do
And dare to be a city’s power.

But Time no temp’ring mercy knows;
His withering hand is over all;
All are but midgets ‘neath his blows,
And men and things before him fall.

‘Twas so with him whose fertile brain
Conceived the thought, the structure reared;
‘Twill be the same—O, sad refrain!
Now that his work has disappeared.

The Stone Mill, first a Fancy thought,
The mind of man containing.
Will be once more an airy naught
Fond Memory retaining.

HIstoric Plaque inside the entryway to the old Huntington Bank.

Once again we bid farewell to the business that occupied this building with fond memories.  We look forward to a new venture coming at this special Albion location.


Some information above (between the asterisks ***) contains a quote from “Place Promo.”

Isaac David Kremer, Albion Interactive History, www.placepromo.com/aih, 2001-2011, [01-09-19]

City of Albion

The City of Albion is divided into 6 precincts. Residents of each precinct have their own City Council person representing them.

Here is the official City of Albion website with links to the correct precinct maps.  (scroll down on this page to view them.)
http://www.cityofalbionmi.gov/departments/city_clerk/index.php

The Calhoun County website also shows precincts at this link:
http://directory.co.calhoun.mi.us/directories?cat=25

The precincts on the links above were updated in 2012. However, the official maps for the overall map with the updated precincts shown below are not yet posted to any official website. We requested and received the updated map below from the Albion City Manager.  Here are the new precincts that also show the changed areas clearly marked. Click on the image to see a larger view.

Here are the Albion City Council members by precinct:
http://www.cityofalbionmi.gov/government/mayor_and_city_council/city_council.php

A registered voter must vote at the polling location for his or her own precinct, which is determined by the voter’s address. Check the Ward-Precinct map to determine your Ward and Precinct. Check the table below for the address of your polling location.

A voter must be registered to vote at least 30 days before the election in which they want to vote, by Michigan Law.

Additional elections and voter information is available by clicking on the menu tabs on the left. For more information about elections or to check your registered voter status online, please visit the State of Michigan Voter website.