Albion Interactive History

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East Division School, 1842
     Demolished 1869

The Albion and Sheridan No. 3 Fractional district, later known as the East Division, was organized in 1842. A small wooden schoolhouse was built on the south side of Michigan Avenue just west of the intersection with Jackson Street, on land purchased in 1842 from the Wesleyan Seminary for ten dollars. The first president of the district was Elijah Crane, with Charles M. Cobb serving as secretary. The district served students on the eastern edge of town, all the way to the Jackson County line.

The original schoolhouse measured 16 by 25 feet; the entryway was about three feet in width. The school was heated by a large box stove placed in the middle of the room. The teacher's desk was at the north end, and behind it was a recitation bench which extended across the room.

The school population had become so large by 1858, that the regular teacher could not handle all the students. A future prominent Albion College Latin teacher, Elizabeth Josephine Clark, taught the lowest grades; she was only 12 years old at the time. This was not unusual, as older children were often utilized to teach younger children.

The small wooden structure was replaced by a brick building in 1859, with a Mr. Van Akin being the first teacher in the new building. He added classes in grammar, higher arithmetic, and algebra. Additional land adjacent to the school property was purchased in December 1861 from William N. Olcott for forty dollars. The brick schoolhouse was demolished and replaced by the East Ward School in 1869.

Source: Frank Passic. A History of the Albion Public Schools. Albion, Michigan: E. Weil Publishing Services. 1991.

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