Nathan Ball Bradley & the Sugar Beet Industry

On Nathan Ball Bradley’s carte de visite it says that he “introduced the beet sugar industry to United States and started it”. This is the family legend but the truth is a little more complicated than that. It was hardly an original idea with him and the beet sugar industry had been tried in other states than Michigan by that time.

Nathan was the chairman of the committee that investigated the feasibility of bringing the sugar beet industry to the Bay City and Saginaw, Michigan area. It was a natural as the many saw mills would provide the fuel in the form of sawdust and wood scraps to fuel the boiling down of the sugar mixture. He had an interest, of course, since he owned one of the largest lumber companies in the area.

Shown below is the cover of the committee’s report and their conclusion on page 11 that a sugar beet factory should be built.

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Beet Sugar in Bay County Beet Sugar page11

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