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Pictorial Library \ Businesses \ Introduction | Viewer

Industrial Works (Brownhoist)

1880s Birds Eye view of Industrial Works facilities.

The manufacturing locomotive cranes wasn't on the mind of the group of investors that started formed the Industrial Works (IW) in 1873. They purchased the assets of the former MacDowell Foundry Company, who was a supplier of equipment to many sawmills. The lumberboom in Michigan was in its peaks years, but by the end of the decade, it was becoming clear that lumbering was entering into a downward spiral. A stroke of good luck arrived in 1880 when the Michigan Central Railroad approached the company to build a steam powered crane for them to MCRR's design. IW did, and a short time later they purchased the rights to MCRR's design and entered the locomotive crane business. Within the next decade the building cranes was the company's primary business.

In 1931 the Industrial Works and Brown Hoist Co. of Cleveland struck a merger deal, and the new business name became Industrial Brownhoist. By the 1950s the company's peak years were behind them and business was on a downward spiral. In 1960 it was welcomed news when American Hoist Corporation purchased the company bring badly need work to the plant. The plant operated as a division of American Hoist until 1983 when it closed at the ripe of age of 110 years.

2004 Photo of property and buildings still standing.

Today the property is owned by Bay City which has plans for new downtown district called Up Town At River's Edge. The plans include converting the old foundry along the Saginaw River into a modern farmers market, complete with docking facilities.

  • After viewing the slideshow, read the full history of the in the Hertiage section.
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