Morning Star, June 30, 2002, pg. 16
With the recent shocking and historically pivotal announcement of the closing of Harvard Industries/Hayes-Albion, the year 2002 has become the most disastrous in our community’s 169-year history. The ripple effect will become quite evident in the following months to come in many aspects of our community life, such as: businesses, schools, and churches, just to name a few. Our city budget will have to contend with less city income and property taxes and less water usage fees collected related to Hayes-Albion, coupled with the increasing number of land parcels being placed into non-taxpaying non-profit status in other parts of town. We wouldn’t be surprised to see big city budget cuts looming on the horizon by the end of the year.
The word “merger” historically has not been good for our town. With the loss of local control went the responsibility of care, concern, and community pride that many of our former industries once actively practiced here.
The word “merger” historically has not been good for our town. With the loss of local control went the responsibility of care, concern, and community pride that many of our former industries once actively practiced here. Look what happened to industries such as the Service Caster and Truck Company, Lonergan Manufacturing, and Union Steel Products–all gone now. At both Union Steel and at the Albion Malleable Iron Company, historical photographs and documents were thrown out into the trash by the new owners after their mergers–an historian’s nightmare. Mergers have meant that critical decisions affecting the lives of our workers and citizens were made in board rooms and offices in other cities, other states, and in other galaxies far, far, away.
Many trace the demise of Hayes-Albion back to 1967 when our locally-owned and controlled Albion Malleable Iron Company merged with Hayes Industries in Jackson. The merger had been initiated in May, 1967 by a Jackson person, Edwin C. Hetherwick, Hayes board chairman and former president 1947-1959 who also served on the board of directors at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. The board of directors of both companies approved the merger on July 27, and on August 11 the shareholders agreed. Offices were moved to Jackson, and corporate decisions were made there from that point onwards.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of that fateful merger of the Albion Malleable Iron Company with Hayes Industries in Jackson on August 11, 1967. This photograph is also found on page 93 of my latest book, “Albion in the 20th Century” which is available at the Albion Chamber of Commerce, or from yours truly in my car. Shown are the officials who participated in the merger signing agreement. Front row, left to right: Boyd Vass, vice-president and Hayes Group president; Collins Carter, president; and Edwin C. Hetherwick, former Hayes chairman. Back row: Thomas Lloyd, vice-president and Albion Group president; Raymond Kurtz, controller; Hugh McVicker, Jackson attorney; unidentified broker; Gardner Lloyd, vice-president/secretary; Walter Turner, vice-president and treasurer; and Don Davis, former Hayes secretary.
My book “Albion in the 20th Century” places a heavy emphasis on honoring the workers at the Malleable/Hayes-Albion. They deserve it. The Malleable was the foundation that built Albion into what it became–even above Albion College. I do not have the space here to write of the influence and importance that the Malleable had upon the history of our community. Little did I realize when I began writing my book last fall, that it would be released the week before the plant was suddenly closed. I wish I could have added a few “closing pages” devoted to the subject, such as our latest ethnic Arab workers there, and of the closing itself. Our sincere condolences and best wishes to the affected 500 families of our area, that they may quickly find meaningful employment and insurance in the days to come, as our town undergoes some serious adjustments.
An Albion native, Frank Passic is a 1971 graduate of Albion High School and has been writing Albion history articles since 1976. He is the author of several books including Albion in Review, and Growing Up in Albion.
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Michigan Prints website offers prints and notecards of Albion, and other places.
Each print has a legend.
The legend for “The Molder” includes this excerpt which is an inscription on the plaque on the base of the statue:
“A quote by James Russell Lowell on the plaque reads: “No man is born into the world whose work is not born with him. There is always work, and tools to work with, for those who will, and blessed are the thorny hands of toil.”