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Michigan's Petroleum Industry

In 1860 State Geologist Alexander Winchell reported that oil and gas deposits lay under Michigan’s surface. First commercial production was at Port Huron where twenty-two wells were drilled, beginning in 1886. Total output was small. Michigan’s first oil boom was at Saginaw, where production began in 1925. About three hundred wells were drilled here by 1927, when Muskegon’s “Discovery Well” drew oil men the country over to that field. The Mount Pleasant field, opened in 1928, helped to make Michigan one of the leading oil producers of the eastern United States. Mount Pleasant became known as the “Oil Capital of Michigan.” Efforts of the industry itself resulted in excellent state laws regulating petroleum output. Well depths range from one thousand to six thousand feet. New wells are constantly opened as exploration continues.

Plaque via Michigan History Center

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