Powers & Ball Lumber Company

Screenshot 2017-05-04 01.13.25

(left to right) Empire Gang Saw Mills by Wonderly & Company and Arthur “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.

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

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 “A.B.” 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 B. Long and sons build a railroad from their mill to downtown Grand Rapids about 2 miles

1878_Sanborn_PowersBall

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.]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s