Manistee Iron Works

Also known as: Michigan Tool, Excello
254 River St Manistee, MI

Closed industrial building now a part of historic Manistee


Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2020




The Manistee Iron Works was founded in the 1870s as a foundry and machine shop. (One of the founders was Nels Johnson, who went on to built tower clocks in Manistee.) 1882 brought Englishman George R. Ray, an experienced businessman with the vision to see the burgeoning salt and laumber industries locally as a potential source of revenue. In the late 1880s, Ray had the facility manufacturing heavy machinery, including pumps and evaporation pans, for Manistee's salt industry. The company also produced saws and material handling equipment for the lumber industry.

The original building on this site was destroyed by fire in 1901, and was replaced by this building in 1907. It is 120 feet wide and 270 feet long with a gabled roof.

The company's products were known for their reliability. The Manistee Iron Works was acquired 1953 by Michigan Tool which was later purchased by Excello. In 1981, operations ended and the building sat vacant for years.

The State of Michigan declared it a brownfield redevelopment project in 2003 to clean up the heavy metals and contamination. It has since been used in the production of a movie and has housed a restaurant.

The Manistee Iron Works was added to the NRHP on July 19, 2010.

Update Log 

  • August 15, 2020: New photo from J.R. Manning
  • August 15, 2020: Added by J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - Lugnuts969 [at] gmail [dot] com