This Very Old Ladder Once Got You Into the Kalamazoo River Swimming Hole in Albion
Behind the Albion College football field the Kalamazoo River meanders through the city. What you might overlook as you pass over the Hannah Street Bridge is a ladder and railing that would allow you to use the river as a swimming hole.
Residents of this portion of Albion referred to as Dutchtown did exactly that more than 60 years ago.
Images and memories of the old swimming hole were shared to the Michigan History Facebook group by Steve Mills, an Albionite who always has great Albion area items to share. He writes:
Swimming holes were once the norm, not only in Michigan but throughout the country. The swimming hole in Albion was called 'Dutchtown' and was located at the bridge on Hannah Street. This branch of the Kalamazoo River runs behind the Albion College football field. The ladder and railing to get out of the river still remains even after more than 64 years after the area was closed (you can see the ladder in the middle of the older picture). My dad swam in this area in the 1930's & 1940's. When the two bridges on Hannah Street were replaced around 1981 I watched as a kid hundreds of old glass Coke bottles being removed from the water during the construction.
The Kalamazoo River forks in the city and this swimming hole was along the north branch of the river.
Kalamazoo River Videos from the Albion Area
Take a look at these videos showcasing the river in the area
Kayaking the River from Albion to Marshall
Muskrat in the River
Just upstream from the old fishing hole is the Whitehouse Nature Center. This video captures some of the wildlife that calls it home.
Driving through Albion, you may not get this view of the city's downtown from the river perspective.
Downriver in Kalamazoo, efforts are underway to engage the public in clean-ups of litter and trash along the banks.