Albion, Michigan - by the Forks of the Kalamazoo River

Amidst the quiet rolling farmlands and cool lakes of south-central Michigan Albion is nestled along the forks of the Kalamazoo River.

With its fifteen parks, historic brick main street, college campus and diverse population, Albion has a warm, hometown flavor. The community’s close proximity to area orchards, bike trails, public golf courses, and other countryside attractions offers visitors a unique getaway.

History & Heritage

Albion’s first pioneers, the Tenney Peabody family, settled at the Forks of the Kalamazoo in 1833, building their cabin with a thatched roof of grass from the nearby river.

In the years to follow, the river continued to reflect Albion’s growth and colorful history. Along the Riverwalk, linking the city’s park system, are reminders of Albion’s first home, the mill race which served the Gothic Mill and the White Mill, and the triple-arched stone bridge that withstood the devastating flood of 1908.

Albion’s Historic Walkway, developed by the Albion Bicentennial Commission, takes you around and across the river to many registered historic landmarks:

  • Birthplace of Mother’s Day
  • Home of "Sweetheart of Sigma Chi"
  • Writing of the "Old Rugged Cross"
  • Gardner House Museum
  • Albion College and the College Observatory
  • Holy Ascension Orthodox Church
  • Starr Commonwealth
  • Riverside Cemetery established in 1837

 

Other Memories Include:

  • Albion’s historic brick main street - first laid in 1903 and reconstructed with hand-laid, kilnfired clay bricks in 1993
  • The restored Train Depot built in 1882
  • Albion Public Library built in 1918 with funds from Andrew C. Carnegie
  • The Forks monument.

Connecting Albion to historic places east and west is the Michigan Historic Highway, known locally as "old US-12". Once a Pottawatomie Indian trail, and the route of the Underground Railroad helping slaves to freedom, this road served as the mainstream of Michigan Territory.

Nature & Recreation

Designated Tree City U.S.A. by the National Arbor Day Foundation, Albion abounds with natural beauty. Eight of the city’s fifteen parks are located along the Kalamazoo River. The largest of these, Victory Park, is named for the Allied Forces’ victory in World War 1. It is a popular location for wintertime sledding, and, in the summertime, community bands perform from the bandshell built in the 1930s.

 

Other Natural Getaways:

  • Whitehouse Nature Center - 135 acres of natural habitat administered by Albion College as an outdoor education center. Bordering on the Kalamazoo River, the Nature Center has six self-guided traits featuring 400 species of plants, 160 species of birds and an interpretive center. It is open to the public at no fee.

  • Canoeing - a trip-tic with a map and guide of suggested routes along the north, south or west branches of the Kalamazoo is available courtesy of the Albion Civic Foundation’s Riverfront Development Fund Advisory Committee.

  • Water skiing, fishing, boating

  • Cross-country ski trails

  • Nearby golf and camping

  • Picnicking, hiking, bicycling in the parks or along shady country roads

  • Ice skating at the Victory Park rink or on the pond in Rieger Park. A warming shelter complete with fireplace is available for warming toes.

  • Basketball and tennis courts, baseball diamonds and playground areas for families are numerous throughout the city parks.


Forks of the Kalamazoo River

Culture & Festivals

The calendar is full for Albion residents, with activities attracting visitors from throughout the area.


    Festival of the Forks
  • The Festival of the Forks - On the third weekend in September, Albion celebrates its river and the varied cultures of its people. An annual tradition begun in 1966, the Festival was named in recognition of the Kalamazoo River forks at the center of town. Ethnic foods and entertainment highlight the day.

  • Winterfest - celebrated the last Sunday in January with a Cardboard Classic sled race down the Victory Park sledding hill. Learn more at GreaterAlbionchamber.org

  • Mother’s Day Jubilee - Albion celebrates its honor of being the original home of Mother’s Day with "yardcards" greeting visitors to the community during the week of Mother’s Day.

  • Starr Commonwealth Founder’s Day - celebrated each October to commemorate founder Floyd Starr whose creed was "There is no such thing as a bad boy."


  • Gardner House Museum - located on M-99 south of the business district, the museum is on the National Register of Historic Places and preserves and displays the heritage of Albion.

  • Albion College Observatory - built in 1883, it houses one of the oldest actively used telescopes in the country.

  • Bobbitt Visual Arts Center - located on the college campus, features the work of nationally known artists.

  • Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Service - attracts nationally and internationally distinguished speakers to the college campus.

  • Brueckner Museum and Gladsome Cottage - located on the campus of Starr Commonwealth just outside Albion, the museums feature authentic Victorian furniture, paintings, and sculptures.

  • Albion Performing Artists and Lecture Series

  • Albion Community Theater

 

A Diverse Community

The richness of Albion today can be attributed in part to its ethnic diversity and shared cultures. This spirit of cooperation is reflected in the many volunteer programs coordinated through the Albion Volunteer Center. Volunteer organizations such as the Citizens to Beautify Albion bring together people of all backgrounds to plant flowers each May along city streets. Downtown on the corner of Superior and Michigan, the American Molder statue honors the people of many cultures who have worked in industry in Albion.

 

Where We Are

Albion is located just off exits 121 and 124 of 1-94 between Battle.

Click here to see a map of Albion's location.

For more information, call the Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce

1-800-453-3932 or 1-517-629-5533.


Back to the Albion Michigan Home Page

© 2000 Maggie LaNoue / Albion Design