Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, March 7, 1999
During the early 20th century there was a bakery which operated at 620 Austin venue that serviced the west end of town, particularly the families of immigrant workers at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. The Star Bakery was owned and operated by Trayn E. Branoff (1890-1965), a Greek immigrant who came to Albion in 1919. Branoff lived in the back of the bakery at 218 Austin Avenue with his family.
Trayn was a native of Buff, located in Macedonia, Greece. He came to the United States in 1914 on the vessel Olympic of the White Star Line, which docked in New York. His wife was Elinka “Lena”Branoff (1899-19??), and the couple had several children, including: Mitro, Philip, Anastasia, Mary, and Sophie. Anastasia died as an infant in New York City as her mother was bringing her to Albion in 1927, and she was interred in Riverside Cemetery. Trayn’s father Louis came to the U.S. to live with the family in the late 1920s.
A 1924 newspaper article entitle “Trayn Branoff has full line of goods at the Star Bakery”stated that year he did an annual business of $11,000. It also mentioned that Branoff was a loyal Albionite and was a member of the local Chamber of Commerce. Trayn became a U.S. citizen in June, 1925.
One employee at the Star Bakery was Ernest Baskevich (1906-19??), an immigrant from Zagare, Lithiuania who lived at 210 N. Gale St. with his parents and family. Ernest later baked in Grand Rapids, and then in Chicago where he spent the remainder of his life. In those days, numerous foreign languages were fluently spoken on the “west end,”and the Star Bakery was a location in common to everyone, no matter what nationality. How many of our readers remember the Branoffs, and purchasing bread and baked goods for their family at the Star Bakery?
For various reasons, the Star Bakery was closed during the Great Depression, around 1921-33. The Branoffs moved from Albion to perhaps California. The 1934 Albion City Director lists the site as vacant. The 1937 Directory shows that the bakery was reopened, and was known as the Vienna Bakery, operated by Joseph Giluk. He lived at the residence there with his wife Stella and son Edward. The bakery operated until World War II. The building was subsequently demolished.
Although many persons were patrons of this bakery, I cannot locate any photographs of the Star or Vienna Bakery. Perhaps one of our readers might have one I can borrow and copy. In lieu of such a photograph, this week in our Historical Notebook we present a 1924 advertisement of the Star Bakery.
1924 advertisement for the Star Bakery
Post script: Trayn Branoff was buried in Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit, under the name spelling of Trayan Branoff.
All text copyright, 2019 © all rights reserved Frank Passic