Albion Historical Notebook

LEWIS W. PRYOR JUNKYARD

LEWIS W. PRYOR JUNKYARD

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Coming up this weekend September 23, 24, 25 is a special event in which a few hundred historians will converge on Albion for the 148th annual Michigan History Conference of the Historical Society of Michigan.

Coming up this weekend September 23, 24, 25 is a special event in which a few hundred historians will converge on Albion for the 148th annual Michigan History Conference of the Historical Society of Michigan. There will be numerous events, lectures and activities each day. There will be several local speakers, including Richard Lewin who will be giving a keynote presentation about the Purple Gang in Albion.

Yours truly will be giving a power-point talk on Saturday at 3:30 pm in the Albion College science building entitled “Captured: The Photography & Internment of Gwen Dew.” Registration for the Conference is at the Courtyard by Marriott from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm on Friday. You can also go to www.hsmichigan.org, or call them at (800) 692-1828 for further information. I’ll see you there!

One of Albion’s long-time second-hand store operator and junk dealer was Lewis W. Pryor (1867-1937). The son of William and Lucy (Sanders) Pryor, Lewis grew up in Albion and worked at the Sheldon & Manning. Junkyard at 113 E. Michigan Ave., the present site of Rae’s Diner. Renaming it after himself, Lewis also operated a second-hand furniture store in a building next door at 115 E. Michigan Avenue, the present site of the Albion Auto Mart office and car lot at 117 E. Michigan Avenue.

A 1903 advertisement in the Michigan Gazette stated, “Lewis W. Pryor, Wholesale Dealer in Rags, Rubber, Metals. Second-Hand Furniture Bought and Sold.” Note: Lewis should not be confused with his older brother William Pryor (1866-1926), who operated a junk yard in the Market Place.

After over 20 years in this location, Lewis sold his narrow 113 office property in 1927 to Arthur Ford, but continued to operate his furniture store next door at 115 until his retirement, after which that building was demolished. Lewis retired in 1931, but is listed in the 1934 and 1937 city directories as operating his junkyard out of his home address at 610 Charles St. He died on August 24, 1937, and was interred in Riverside Cemetery in Albion.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1917 photo of the L. W. Pryor Office building for his junkyard. A young man with a horse is walking out front. In the distance on the left are the crossing arms at the N. Superior St. crossing of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad. When was the last time you were at a junkyard in Albion? Note: I did not say “junky yard.”