Commercial area along early thoroughfare passing between Detroit and Chicago.Originally the site of several Russian then African-American owned businesses.Empty parking lot on the south east corner was formerly a popular meeting placefor members of the African-American community in Albion. A grocery storeformerly sat on this site, but today only a deteriorating asphalt parking lotremains. On the north side of Austin Avenue stands a row of former grocerystores, now either vacant or adapted for use as bars. These minority ownedbusinesses were once the only place other minorities could buy food and basic necessities, while Albion’s main commercial district was still segregated. Onthe southwest corner of Austin Avenue and Albion, during fair weather many olderresidents still meet together in the parking lot, across the street from thecorner. Here residents informally gamble and sell soda and other refreshments topassers by. A large manufacturing facility, the Albion Malleable (today HarvardIndustries) continues to attract people to this area, except not in the quantityto support this small deteriorating commercial district.
The vicinity around Austin Avenue and N. Albion St. was home to many eastern European immmigrants who settled in Albion during the early 20th century, to work at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. This 1959 photograph of “the corner” shows the Carrigan Grocery and Robinson’s Tavern on the right, with Ashley’s Service Station on the extreme left. Not shown is Tyzsko’s Grocery, just to the left of the service station.
Source: Frank Passic. A Pictorial History of Albion, Michigan; From the Archives of the Albion Historical Society. Dallas, Texas: Curtis Media Corporation. 1991.