Superior Street Commercial Historic District
National Register of Historic Places
Superior Street Commercial Historic District, ID Number P2399
Photo Information: Superior Street Commercial Historic District, photo submitted 1996.
Significant Dates: 1845-1945
National Register Listed: 08/18/1997
Statement of Significance
The Superior Street Commercial Historic District is amongthe most significant in southern Michigan due to the varietyand quality of commercial buildings and the broad range ofdates of construction expressed within. The buildinginventory, erected between the 1850s and the 1940s, alsoincludes significant non-commercial types, such as thedepot , library, city hall, residences, clubs, and churches,which are found on the downtown fringe. Many of thecommercial buildings have associations with leadingpioneer families, such as the Peabodys, Crowells, Eslows,and Sheldons. Initially, industrial functions wereintermixed with commercial functions, but rail service anda resulting industrial expansion as well as a reducedreliance on water power allowed manufacturing to shiftaway from the downtown to new developments along thethe railroad lines. Examples of this shift include the CityBank building, which was built in 1845 as Jesse Crowell’sStone Mill and intensively remodeled in 1916 for use as abank, and the Knickerbocker Elevator, built in 1880 andmoved to the Market Place in 1917 to allow for theincreased commercial development on Superior Street.Social functions are expressed in the district, including theAlbion Opera House, library, and Mary Sheldon IsmonHouse. Also important in the story of Albion is the work oflong-term mayor Norman Weiner, who helped thecommunity weather the Depression by securing majorWPA projects, including the construction of the city halland the re-bricking of Superior Street, one of the fewremaining brick trunklines in Michigan.
Source: Michigan’s Historic Sites Online, Downloaded 2003.