This is the site of the Johnston Boiler company. Johnston Boiler was founded in 1864 as the Johnston Boiler Works by John Wall Johnston, a direct descendent of James Watt (famous Scottish inventor and engineer, responsible for fundamental improvements in the steam engine, leading to almost universal power applications)

The story of this business is one of a basic product (steam engine boilers) being adapted to changing technological needs and economic times. From saw mill power to marine boilers, to boilers for small power plants and commercial heating, Johnston Boiler adapted and changed with the times allowing it to survive .

For many early years, a main product was for lumbering steam engines. After the lumbering era came to a close, this company also produced ships - fifty eight in the period 1898 - 1926 including all steel barges, scows, tugs and even passenger steamers. Some are still in service today. This plant produced equipment that was used in construction of the Panama Canal in 1907 and in building the Mackinac Bridge in the 1950's.

Also of note: this business was run for 133 years by 5 generations of Johnstons and still manufactures steam boilers and other industrial products today.

Sources David Siebold and Wallace K Ewing