FREEPORT, Mich. (AP) – A pre-dawn fire destroyed a historic building Thursday that housed a West Michigan business where wood rakes and wooden golf flag sticks were made since the 1870s.

WOOD-TV says the owner of Cheesebrough Corp. spotted flames around 3:30 a.m. Thursday at the building in the village of Freeport and called 911.

“This was the last of a kind,” owner Ken Van Tol told

No injuries were reported. Multiple fire departments responded and were able to contain the blaze to prevent it from spreading to nearby buildings.

The cause of the fire about 20 miles southeast of Grand Rapids is under investigation.

The Cheesebrough facility dates back to a 19th century mill, according to Van Tol.

“It was the oldest operating manufacturer in the state,” he said. The Cheesebrough site “had an iconic place in the development of the American industrial revolution. The woodworking machines used here were invented and built here by Cheesebrough.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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