Powers & Ball Lumber Company

Powers & Ball Lumber Mill

(left to right) Empire Gang Saw Mills by (Maj. Joseph H.) Wonderly & Company and (Arthur Buchanan) A. B. Long & Sons Mill, originally built as Powers & Ball Saw Mill in 1852. This circa 1870s photo has mistakenly been referred to as Withey Mill which was across the river on the east side (left bank) of the Grand. These men are in Withey’s log boom upstream, just north of the mill.

1852–1855 — Powers & Ball Lumber
William Thompson Powers & Ebenezer Morris Ball

1855–1866 — Powers & White Lumber
William Thompson Powers & George H.White

1866–1868 — Powers & Ball Lumber
William Henry Powers & Ebenezer Morris Ball

1868–XXXX — A. B. Long & Sons
Arthur Buchanan Long and sons: William James Long, George Henry Long and Albert Buchanan Long

Located at the head of the rapids on the Grand River at the junction of Front Ave and Webster St. This is the same saw mill that William T. Powers and Ebenezer Morris Ball set up in 1852 as the first steam-powered saw mill in the state and install gang saws of William T. Powers own invention.

When William H. Powers and E. Morris Ball moves their production to the newly constructed mill on the West Side Water power Canal in January 1868, it will be the first new construction to receive water power, second to Harrison Wagon Works stone factory in 1866.

1852 — William T. Powers and E. Morris Ball construct the first steam-powered sawmill
1855 — Powers & White. George H. White buys out E. Morris Ball
1866 — William H. Powers and E. Morris Ball reestablish Powers & Ball Lumber Co.
1868 Jan — They sell their mill to A. B. Long & Sons (Arthur Buchanan Long and sons: William James Long, George Henry Long and Albert Buchanan Long)
1868 Jan — William H. Powers and E. Morris Ball will move Power & Ball to their new construction on the West Side Water Power Canal
1869 — Arthur Buchanan Long and sons build a railroad from their mill to downtown Grand Rapids about 2 miles


1878 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map at the intersection of Front Ave NW and Webster St NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Powers & Ball Sawmill (1852) is shown here as A. B. Long & Sons Mill.

photo courtesy Grand Rapids Public Library, History & Special Collections, #18-2-3.151.2003 [The photo in the library collection misidentifies the structure as Withey Mills (1870) when, in fact, it’s a view from Withey Mills which was located on the east bank of the Grand. This identification would not have been possible without the assistance of the 1878 Sanborn map that came into the library collection in 2014.]

Screenshot 2018-01-05 02.10.42

Lewis H. Withey’s Lumber Mill (east side), opposite Arthur Long’s, A.B. Long & Son’s Mill (west side). To the far left can be seen Maj. Joseph H. Wonderly’s Empire Gang Mill on Front Ave, just south of Webster St. NW. I’m searching for this original photo seen in Lee M. Withey Ancestors genealogy site.

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