Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines

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Posted by Tim Daley(MI) on April 11, 2010 at 08:45:13 [URL] [DELETE] :

Many people don't know the impact that Henry Ford played upon the world of manufacturing after he established his car company. He invested his own profits back into building his company by purchasing thousands of acres of timber forests in Michigan's Upper Penninisula and also iron mines and railroads as well. Recently I was on a trip to the Keewenaw Peninsula, Michigan's furthest north boundary, to Calumet where my dad was born and raised. The area was the boom of the copper mining industry and many of the old mines still stand. Along the journey on US-41 are towns that Henry Ford established and built into model self-sufficient communities complete with housing, schools, hospitals, and more. These towns provided jobs for tens of thousands of people who would come from several ethnic backgrounds for those jobs. Our stop was at the Alberta sawmill where I snapped a few photos shown below. Built in 1935, the sawmill was one of the few that suplied wood for Ford products- this is where the WOODY got its wood! Though not much if any wood products are used on tractors, I thought I'd share as part of the Henry Ford history. Other mills and iron mines are only short drives around the area and Henry had his summer bungalow built right on Lake Superior in the town of Pequaming. He was known to entertain his friends like Thomas Edison, John Burroughs, and Harvey Firestone there. He would drive up there from Dearborn while Clara preferred to take the boat so she'd usually ride on one of the ore freighters going to or from. The summer getaway is still standing, available for tours, and is available for guests to reserve the entire property. Henry's mining adventures and most of the mills are no longer - Alberta being owned by Michigan Tech University now and the buildings still stand pretty much as they did in 1935. A little south on M-95 past Iron Mountain you come to Kingsford- home of the famous charcoal briquettes that were made from burnt wood the used in ovens. Again, testimonial to the fact that Henry wasted nothing! The FORD logo sits on the west bank of the mill pond/lake across US-41 from the mill and, yes, those are snowflakes you see falling and on the ground. We ran into 4" of snow as we got into Marquette, but snow is not unusual for the UP. I was once at a Fouth-Of-July parade in Calumet and it was cold and rainy. The rain turned to slushy snow! True story. Note the picture of the window of the mill and the size of the saw blades inside. OSHA shut down the mill in the 80's but tours are still given in the summer. Enjoy...

Tim Daley(MI)
*9N653I* & *8NI55I3*

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