Union City Iron Furnace
Located approximately fifty yards south on Coldwater Road in the Village of Union City, the historic marker reads:
On March 17, 1847, the Union City Iron Company was incorporated with leading citizens of the town as stockholders. The company was formed to produce iron from the bog and kidney iron ore deposits in Union and neighboring townships. A furnace was built, and in May 1847, it produced what was apparently the first iron made from Michigan ores. Earlier Michigan iron furnaces used imported pig iron. The percentage of iron in southern Michigan’s ores was to small, however, to make their use profitable. Thus in a few years Union City’s pioneering furnace ceased making pig iron and turned to the production of plows.
HISTORIAN’S NOTES (David McDonald): In the mid-1800s there was a startup of iron foundry operations in southern Michigan in Branch County. The foundries were consumers of local bog iron. The county was rich in low swamp land dating back to the end of the last glacial period. Residents of the area are all to familiar with the very iron rich water. Bog iron found in the shale in this area supplied furnace operations both in Union City, and to a smaller level, in Butler Township. The bog iron ore also supplied the component for creating inexpensive paint used on area barns, which gave them a red color. Its use gave name to the first built schoolhouse in Coldwater, referred to as the Little Red Schoolhouse.