Albion Historical Notebook



A happy Thanksgiving to my readers of this column. Be sure and take advantage of all of the wonderful holiday programs being offered in our various towns to celebrate the Christmas season in the next few weeks.

Albion once had several prominent clothing stores downtown which served our community for many years. Names like Young’s, Seelye’s, Vaughn’s, Blaisdell’s and others were familiar names to many who grew up in Albion. There was one clothing store however that had a place here in the 1940s and 1950s that established a niche for itself in the shadow of the larger clothiers in town, and that was the Union Store.

The Union Store opened in 1940 at 107 W. Porter St. and was managed by Francis Ed Roby (1899-1979). It was a clothing store that had clothes for the entire family, and also carried some jewelry. The name was not unique, however, as there was a Union Store in Jackson which was owned by a Mr. Stieverman.

In 1943 the Union Store moved to 117 S. Superior St., which in the recent past served as an ice cream store. Mr. Roby continued to manage the store at that location until 1945. Following Mr. Roby’s departure, the store was managed by William F. Costello. Following that it was managed by John Sussell of Jackson during the 1950s. During that time the store continued its offer of “clothes on credit” which it had put in place at the beginning. In 1958 the store advertised itself as a men’s wear clothing store. At that time, it was managed by W. H. Van Pelt, who operated it until the store was closed. It is last listed in the 1962 Albion City Directory.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photo of the Union Store at its original location on W. Porter St, taken around 1942. That’s a Hudson automobile parked out front. The sign in the window says, “Union Store. Clothes On Credit.” We are also illustrating their “Lucky Penny” aluminum-encased 1948 cent piece which states, “Union Store, Family Credit Clothiers, 117 So. Superior St.” on the obverse. Amidst a horseshoe design, the reverse (not pictured) states: “Keep Me and Never Go Broke. Good Luck.” How many of our readers remember the Union Store?