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County historian welcomes more markers about local history

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 May 2013 at 12:00 am

New marker in July will recognize Albion pioneer residents

Photos by Tom Rivers – This marker by the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church on South Main Street notes that Albion is the hometown for Terry Anderson, who was taken hostage for about seven years after he was kidnapped in Beirut.

ALBION – They give a quick snapshot of local history, and Bill Lattin says the many historical markers placed in the community also prompt people to stop and look around.

Lattin, the Orleans County historian, has helped place many of the markers in the county, especially in the Courthouse Square and Downtown Albion historic districts.

He supports an effort by Al and Chris Capurso to place a historical marker on the southwest corner of the courthouse lawn, a sign that will highlight Albion’s pioneer residents, William McAllister and his wife. That marker, with a log cabin logo, will be dedicated during a 1 p.m. ceremony on July 6 at the County Clerks’ Building.

“It will be stunning,” Capurso told the County Legislature last week, when the board formally approved the project. “It will be unique to the Courthouse Square.”

The new marker will tell a community story from 1810, when McAllister bought 368 acres, what is now the east side of the village, from the Holland Land Company. Other markers highlight the origin of the historic churches and other buildings in the Courthouse Square.

One marker by the Presbyterian Church notes that immigrants from Ireland, Poland, Italy and Britain worked in sandstone quarries to provide the stone for many of the local churches and buildings.

This marker by the Presbyterian Church on North Main Street notes that the community was home to many quarries that drew immigrants to the community.

Another marker honors a recent prominent resident. Terry Anderson grew up in Albion and was working as a journalist in the Middle East when he was taken hostage from March 16, 1985 to Dec. 4, 1991.

“Whenever you see a historical marker that’s just the tip of the ice berg,” Lattin said. “There’s a lot of history here.”

The state Education Department used to pay for the markers. The Capurso family is paying for the one honoring the McAllisters. That marker, which will be cast in aluminum, will cost about $1,000.

Lattin noted the Courthouse Square used to have a wooden kiosk. It lasted about a decade but was removed when it fell into disrepair.

The markers are far more durable. The one on Ingersoll Street honoring Sanford Church, an Albionite who served as lieutenant governor, has been up since the 1930s.