Early Lapeer Factory Rests Secure in History

| March/April 1959

  • The Lapeer Machine Shop
    The Lapeer Machine Shop, built in 1888 at Lapeer, has been at Greenfield Village in Dearborn since 1930. See article on this shop.

  • The Lapeer Machine Shop

FROM LAPEER COUNTY (Michigan) PRESS April 24th, 1958)

OLD-TIME RESIDENTS of Lapeer who visit Greenfield Village in Dearborn this summer will recognize a former La-peer landmark.

It is the Lapeer Machine Shop, a one-story brick structure that once housed a flourishing industry here. Now it belongs to the past, along with its contemporaries, the circular sawmill, the Macon carriage shop, the Tripp sawmill and other nineteenth century buildings in the Greenfield Industrial Area.

The shop's founder, William McDonald, learned the blacksmith and machinist trade in his native Scotland. Leaving there in 1847, he settled first in Montreal. Taking an interest in oil, he went to Corry, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War.

There a friend, George Morton, suggested that Lapeer was a good place to start a business and said that his brother, Mathew J. Morton, a skill machinist, was looking for a partner. McDonald, always was a machinist at heart, was interested.

The two organized the Lapeer Steam Engine Works in 1863 and it flourished until wiped out by fire. Rebuilding they also decided to branch out and operate a flour mill with a third partner, Sandy McNair.