Michigan Alkali Company
On October 17, 1890, Captain John Baptiste Ford (1811-1903) purchased this property along the Detroit River. He established the Michigan Alkali Company here in 1893. Ford had financial interests in several glass companies, and he chose the site for its proximity to resources needed to produce soda ash, a primary ingredient in the manufacture of glass. The deep strata of pure salt beneath the site was most important. Water from the Detroit River was used to extract the salt in solution form. The salt was used with limestone to produce a variety of sodium-based industrial and consumer products. The limestone was shipped from company owned quarries near Alpena. In the early years, Michigan Alkali's products included soda ash, baking soda and lye.