Saginaw Bay Beach

Throwback Thursday: Grindstone City


Grindstone CityIn Michigan the rim of the Marshall sandstone comes to, or is near, the surface in many places from the tip of the Thumb where it is carved to interesting scenery, through Huron, Jackson, Calhoun, and Ottawa counties. In the early day many quarries were opened in it and the Marshall Sandstone used for building purposes. One of our ghost towns is Grindstone City, Huron County Michigan, where once a flourishing industry produced the largest and finest grindstones in the world.

From the 1830s until the 1910s, Grindstone City produced the Scene At Grindstone City Port Austinpremier grindstones in the United States.  In 1888, the Cleveland Stone Co. Purchased the property owned by Worthington and Sons and became the sole owners of all quarry properties in Grindstone City. They continued to operate the store and quarries but the salt works were discontinued, as operating costs made it no longer profitable.

They built a mill to make scythe stones and whetstones in addition to the grindstones. The grindstones made here varied in size and weight from small kitchen stones six to twelve inches in diameter, weighting 3 ½ to 10 lbs. To large grinding stones weighting 3 ½ tons or more. The largest stone ever turned out weighed over six tons.

Then came the invention that would ruin the city: artificial carborundum. In 1893, inventor Edward G. Acheson secured a patent for artificial carborundum, a material created while trying to artificially make diamonds.   Due to carborundum taking the place of grinding stones, the quarries could no longer be operated at a profit, so were discontinued in 1930.  All of the machinery was shipped to Cleveland, Ohio or sold to private people. A steel cutter who came here from Detroit broke up the worn out materials. This steel and iron was sold as scrap.
Grindstone City stumbled into swift decline by the late 1920s.

 

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