Cliffs Dow Oral History Project

This oral history project documents the Cliffs-Dow plant on Lakeshore Boulevard in Marquette, Michigan. The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company originally developed the property in 1902 for the purpose of manufacturing charcoal pig iron. In 1935, the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company and the Dow Chemical Company created a joint company called the Cliffs-Dow Chemical Company to run a wood processing operation at the site. The plant produced acetic acid, methanol, and charcoal until 1969. In 1968, the Georgia-Pacific and E.L. Bruce companies purchased the site. The plant closed in 1969. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in the late 1980s. In 2000, following clean-up efforts, the site was removed from the list. The City of Marquette purchased the property in 1997. In 2023, Sarah Mittlefehldt, a professor in the department of Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences at Northern Michigan University, and her students interviewed employees and community members about the Cliffs Dow plant. Students in the Winter 2024 Upper Peninsula History class taught by Kathryn Johnson, a professor in the history department at Northern Michigan University, transcribed the interviews.

The collection currently consists of the interview protocols and the video versions of the interviews. The transcripts will be added as they are created.